Reading As a Writer by Whitney Rines
I write as both a hobby and profession and know from personal experience that it can easily take up a lot of time, energy, and among other things-thinking space. While a great activity in itself, it’s easy to experience burnout on motivation, or creative stagnation. From writing ideas and editing to the time spent mentally working through the story, it’s easy to get lost in the process without setting parameters for starting and stopping especially when its absence feels unproductive like it does for me. Stagnation in the creative process, personal/life events, and other obligations; the reasons are legion for why burnout happens.
However, I recently rediscovered the other half of writing. Reading. Not that I wasn’t reading before, just not as much and writing time was getting the lion’s share of my time. As stagnation set in, I started with taking a beta-reading request from a fellow writer in my writing community and felt productive. Reading for pleasure, a relaxing and entertaining day. Then a book and review…more productivity, but nothing to burn out on. It was refreshing and grounding to be reminded I can be productive, without writing.
Tempering my writing time, with reading has had many positives for me. It’s definitely important to read in order to grow your own craft but, it’s not just that. I get a chance for relaxation and introspection reading other’s works, and personally, it’s nice to read something I didn’t spend hours working on. Starting a book, I haven’t read before is like being been invited to take a trip through and explore a new world and people living there, and the distinct writing style that brings it to life.
It’s not just beneficial on a personal level either, I’ve been able to support fellow authors this way as well. Offering my time as a beta-reader to other writers, and doing read and reviews, has been fun and felt just as productive if not more so. I recently had the pleasure of doing both. I beta-read for one and read and reviewed the book of another writer in my online community, and got to connect with both of them.
Writing is solitary work usually, but reading brings the community to this. It keeps us engaged with each other, working on self-improvement, experiencing different writing styles, and aware that it’s essential to healthy headspace, variety in our work, and our work needs breaks.
Written by Whitney Rines
My name is Whitney Rines, I’m married, I live in Anchorage, Alaska with my husband, and a python named Archie (Archimedes). Reading, writing, cooking, walking, all manner of games from paper and pencil to board and video games, and painting, are just a few of my hobbies. I enjoy a wide range of books but: Fantasy, Horror, Suspense, and the classics just to name a few. Mythology and History just to name a few. Dark Fantasy, Horror, and trying out different genres in my short stories are some things I do with my writing.
I enjoy writing because I get to create my worlds and make my characters come alive, improve myself, my writing. Writing can be hard but, every time I finish writing a story, even if it’s just first draft, it’s a little victory and they all count.