Reading and writing are two integral activities for writers. A writer must read and she must write. But lately I have found that more I read, less I write.
Why is that so?
There are a few reasons for that.
One, I get carried away, one article leads to other, one link has ten more, and by the time I am through I have used all the available time reading other people’s writing rather than creating my own.
Two, reading and writing engages two different parts of the brain. Reading is inherently a passive activity while writing is an active occupation. Although, reading prompts writing but if I don’t stop mid-sentence and pick up a pen and a pad, thoughts disappear pretty quickly.
One blogging guru once advised, “If you want to write good posts, stop reading other people’s posts (at least for some time).”
There is a lot of truth in this advice.
As a writer you first need to write what is in you. That could be utter nonsense, incoherent, good for nothing content. But it comes from the core of you and represent how you understand things.
After getting that on paper, you can research and find evidence in contradiction or in support.
It is possible, now that you are more informed, that you will change your mind. That is fine. You can do so. In fact, it will give your writing more authenticity if you can explain what made you change your mind.
It is also possible that other people have explained certain things much better than you.
Great. You can include their writing as quotation in your own. This will strengthen your argument and give your post a boost.
You need to allocate separate time for reading and writing.
I write best first thing in the morning. As soon as I brush my teeth, I plant myself in my bed with a pen and a notepad and write. I don’t even make a cup of tea or coffee. I know fully well that if I go to the kitchen the trance will break. Those two hours in the morning are gold.
Science supports my morning bout of creativity.
Studies have proved that soon after waking, when the prefrontal cortex is most active, the creativity is at its highest while the analytical parts of the brain (the editing and proofreading parts) become more active as the day goes on.
There are several writers who swear by their morning writing routine. But then there are a great number of night owls as well.
Charles Dickens was a lark. He would have finished his days writing (by 2pm each day) by the time Robert Frost would just about getting started and often going late at night (and waking up the next day around noon). What each of these famous authors lacked in synchronicity they made up in routine. The daily schedule of writing is almost as important if not more than the human body rhythm.
I believe same goes for reading. You need to set up a time for reading as well. Whether it is at night or during lunch time or commuting to and from work. Allocate one to two hour each day to reading and stick to those. You will find that you can go through a lot in that time.
Without realizing, we give too many hours each day to internet and TV. All you need to do is to claim them back and give them to your actual passions – reading and writing.