A Reader vs. A Writer

Today, I came across two sobering facts. First, I have only read 13 books this year. My goal is to hit 36 by December 31, 2016, which means I have to read about four books a month in order to achieve that.

It does not bode well.

The second sobering fact can best be expressed, like so many things, in visual form:


Those are the books that are quietly sitting on my dresser drawer, waiting to be loved.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have become a flaky reader. The kind that claims to adore the activity, raves about its benefits, has lofty dreams involving my Amazon Wish List but puts  little of her words into action.

I’m not quite sure how I got this way. It seems like I’m always reading. Whether it’s documents for work, listicles on the web, ramblings on Facebook or the general avalanche of the vacant term “content”, my eyes are constantly skimming. What is missing is the quality that usually goes along with this activity, a virtue that is most often found in books and magazines instead of 140-character tweets.

I try my best to squeeze in some silent reading time during my commute (when I can get a seat) and before I go to bed (when I don’t fall prey to Netflix). Neither compares to the hours and hours I used to spend curled up in bed with a brick-sized novel when I was a kid or the intense interactions I had with texts during my decade of post-secondary education. I miss it so. On the other hand, a lot of that leisurely time is caught up in another activity I used to do rarely or at least not as often as I’d like: writing. The more I’ve been devoting hours to my own words on paper, the less I’ve been bingeing on someone else’s.  This is probably a good thing. Still, I’m haunted by the accurate words of Stephen King when it comes to this topic:

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

Ouch. It leaves me to wonder if I may be writing more, but worse.

So here’s to salvaging the rest of the year and seeing my reading habits as part of my writerly projects.