Modern life certainly feels like it's getting busier all the time. Unless you're living in a yurt, or possibly some sort of make-shift tipi, chances are you're reading this on your computer, maybe in between several other tasks, with family and friends and fun nights out all stuffed in there as well.
[Full disclosure: I had to look up how to spell tipi. Who knew?]
Working as a writer is time-consuming enough. Getting reading done can become a luxury - a stolen moment when you get to escape, but secretly feel like you're not being Productive and Active and are therefore somehow ... cheating.
This post has one point to make: that reading is more than important for writers, it is essential, and you have to keep your mental attitude to it in check. Enjoy it - absolutely!- but never feel bad, or that it's 'down time' you could be using for Other Things.
Readers make writers, and every book you read - whether it's just for pleasure or because you deliberately thought 'Oh, this is in my genre / by an upcoming writer / the same audience as my book, and lo, I shall read it forthwith!' - helps you learn, hone, and improve your own writing.
That's great, but I'm too busy. I have children / no money / a small and lucrative banana smuggling operation to run.
I know, it's rough. But the fact is, really, that reading is what you have to do so you can do what you want to do (which is writing, remember?). Books are the 101 class of how to write good and proper like what other writers do.
I am a rebel! My work is unique. I don't need to read what's come before.
Yes, you do.
Books cost money.
They do indeed, but libraries don't, and you'd be surprised how flexible they are about things like hours and access. Look 'em up and boggle at the fact they let you take books without charging you anything. it's like state-sponsored intellectual theft but it's ALL OKAY.
Reading is just a layman's writing. Why would I spend time seeing what others have done? I'm not others. I'm me!
Because to invent the jet plane you have to have the biplane first. It's the old 'standing on the shoulders of giants, pretending you're really tall' thing.
Reading is boring.
You're not a writer, are you? You're just spamming my blog. Go away.
I love reading! Why would you even write a piece about making time for it? Who doesn't make time for it? Weee!
Calm down, eager beaver. Lots of people who love reading still let it become a rarity because of the kids / bananas / commitments. This post is meant to be about making sure you don't let it become a secondary activity.
So you'd actually suggest reading instead of doing Fun and Social things?
Doesn't sound very fun.
You're clearly reading the wrong books. And if the book doesn't exist yet that would make you say 'NO!' to friends ... well then, maybe you should write it.