It looks like staying in is the new going out (thanks for that, Covid!) as we read far more this year than last.
Want to read more? Then put your phone down.
You’d be hard pressed to find someone today who doesn’t have a smartphone. Wherever we are and whatever we doing, all too often we’re glued to the screen. Of course, there are always calls, texts, and emails that are totally unavoidable; but these certainly don’t account for the hours we spend tapping away each day. In the process, some of our former favourite pastimes have fallen by the wayside. [Read more…]
One of my favorite quotes related to writing is from Stephen King (I think many of you know this by now):
If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.
That is why, as busy as I am, I try my best to spend even a few minutes every day reading something that I want to read, and not merely something I have to read because of work. In my case, it’s usually fantasy or sci-fi, with the occasional blog/online publication I read for personal pleasure.
I don’t think I need to convince any of you of the importance of reading for writers. We all know that, don’t we?
This infographic makes things a bit more interesting, as it takes us into the homes of some public figures who are widely respected (although there may be arguable points when you go through the graphic), specifically taking a look at their bookshelves.
For sure, the books on display are just a small part of their collections, but it does give a curious mind some insight into the people highlighted. Take a look.
So what do you think? Were you surprised by any of the books on display? Can you relate to any of the individuals featured in the infographic? What does your bookshelf contain?
More on reading:
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.” – Ernest Hemingway
These days, though, who has time to read as many books as one wants? I don’t know if it’s the same for you, but with work always waiting to be finished, it is very difficult to find the time to read what I want every day. Sometimes, during the weekend, I sneak in a couple of hours of reading in between doing household chores, email, and tons of other things that still need doing.
As writers, though, the importance of reading regularly cannot be emphasized enough. We are what we read. We get inspiration from what we read. We learn how to write better when we read.
Of course, with the abundance of reading material in various forms today, books are not the only things we can read – whether for the sheer enjoyment of it or for work purposes.
I suppose that, depending on the kind of writing you do, your reading list will be different from mine – and other writers. For example, of you write for a news site, then you probably spend a lot of time reading up on social media news. If you write for an Apple-related site, then you’ll be reading all the Apple-centric sites out there.
Focusing on how to write, tips on writing, the writing life, and similar topics, though, I’d like to share my list of web sites with you.
- FWJ Resources – as they say, love your own! And, we do have some good articles in this section, so I make it a point to take a look as often as I can.
- Brain Pickings – from book reviews to little known stories about our favorite books and authors to art – all these things can be found on the site. And while I often read for pleasure, the writing style of Maria Popova teaches me a lot.
- Pick the Brain – this blog is not exactly about writing, but it does have a lot of inspirational articles which can help a writer. Whether to take a break from writing or to purposely find something motivational, this site can do the trick for you.
- Daily Writing Tips – for a quick “today I learned” (TIL) moment about word usage, grammar, and punctuation (among other things), I like visiting this web site. You have probably noticed that we’ve shared some of their articles as well.
- Goins, Writer – Jeff Goins has built his own tribe in the writing niche, and he has a lot to teach aspiring and seasoned writers. From writing tips to topic ideas to marketing your book, you’ll find help here.
That’s just a handful of the websites I like reading, which I think you will like too (if you’re not already a fan).
What about you? What do you read these days?
For more on reading:
Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with saying “There is creative reading as well as creative writing,” and as writers, we know just how important reading is. But, is there such a thing as the right way to read?
I have been thinking about this thanks to an article I read last week, titled Does anybody read books the right way any more?
The article starts with:
And I’m not talking about paper versus digital. I’m talking about curling up with a good book, for hours. Sitting in a hammock, or in a chair by the fire, just totally pulled into a book. Is the long, totally focused book-reading session a thing of the past — and does this mean we’re getting less immersed in our stories?
Yes, for a moment, let’s forget about the ongoing debate about whether real books are better than ebooks. (For the record: Nothing beats the smell and feel of paper books, but ebooks make reading much more convenient for me.)
I think that’s what “reading the right way” is all about: reading habits. So, let’s examine our reading habits and how they affect our writing.
I’ve been asking myself the following questions:
- What was the last book I read? When was this?
- When was the last time I read a book without the TV (or something else) in the background?
- How do I read? Do I read quickly, or do I pace myself so as to make sure I actually get the nuances of what I am reading?
- How much time do I spend reading (books, essays, and longer material) in a week? How long do I read in one sitting?
- Why do I read what I read?
These question – and more – have made me realize that I need to tweak my reading habits and go back to how I used to read: curled up in bed (or the sofa) for hours and just enjoying the book without thousands of distraction around me.
I’ve realized that reading books the right way, at least for me, is giving the book all my attention, with the intention of both enjoying what I am reading and learning from the author’s writing style. (I lean toward sci-fi and fantasy.)
I’ve realized that I need to also read more work-related material, and I mean read, not scan – the way Internet users tend to do these days.
I think that there may not be such a thing as reading the right way that it applies to everyone, but in my case, the article did make me think about how I read.
What do you think? Is there a right way to read? Share your thoughts in the comments!
Image via Jayel Aheram
Goddamn money. It always ends up making you blue as hell.
—Holden Caufield in J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye
Summer is over. Vacation is over. The Royals are buried. One kid is in school and the other is in daycare. Things are normal.
Scratch that last one. Things are never normal.
Case in point: J.D. Salinger’s toilet.
I made the hideous mistake of watching television news this morning. A story about the place where the super-reclusive author of Catcher in the Rye once did his business somehow managed more airtime than the ugly suicide bombing in Iraq, the trickle-shallow “discussion” of mosque construction in the Big Apple and a study revealing that a mere 9% of African-American eighth graders in New York are reading at grade level. Less than one in ten.
A toilet that once graced the Salinger residence is now available for purchase via eBay. The folks who bought the Salinger home apparently decided that his desire for privacy need not extend past his living years.
The million dollar asking bid is downright goofy and I can’t imagine the porcelain throne will sell at that price, but the fact that someone is trying to sell Salinger’s seems as ridiculous to me as it would to Holden Caufield.
It’s like factory-producing environmentally destructive plastic items and calling them “Thoreaus”.
As I understand it, my contributions here at Freelance Writing Jobs are supposed to actually relate to freelance writing. You might be wondering what a heads-up about a toilet sale has to do with our shared profession.
Let me put it this way. Salinger’s toilet may be worth more than several book advances for first-time writers with amazing novels and the payout for a few Pultizer-worthy articles combined. The fact that some dipshit decided to auction off J.D.’s john is getting more attention today than every other single book published in the last century on television news.
Meanwhile, you might want to rethink a career dedicated to writing features targeting a young, male African-American demographic unless we collectively figure something out why school isn’t working for a rather large and important segment of our population.
It’s a grim day. Kids can’t read and a writer’s toilet is a lead-in television news story.
And I wonder what we–those who make a living stringing words together–are going to do about it.
Things are as normal as they get, I suppose.