Why It’s Good to Read, but Necessary to Write

The last month has been all over. I attended a major conference, learning the history of Jerusalem that will help my role as a pastor. I visited both my and my wife’s families. My bride and I got away without our insanity of kids. As such, my regular writing schedule has suffered. As in, I’ve done basically no writing for a month, nor any writing-related activities like submitting stories to markets and such.

That said, I’ve found time to be reading. Oh, it was so good to dig into a number of novels. Some fantasy, some horror, a short story collection, all good reads. I lost myself in worlds I didn’t create.

This time of creative rest rejuvenated me. Rather than putting words on a page, I absorbed words from a page. I got to admire the craft others had worked to develop.

But now I’m home. Life is returning to what I laughingly call normal.

On the way home, I felt my brain shift. My wife and I mapped out a broad outline and started worldbuilding for a new series. (Obviously I need another project!) While away, I was all about reading. But now, now it was time to get back to writing.

Reading is good. Brains need to be fed. If you’re a writer, you really do need to read.

But you know what?

You’re not a writer if you don’t write.

You could be a dreamer. You could be a storyteller in other mediums. You could have big plans.

But unless you’re getting words on a page, you’re not a writer.

For me, I tend to go in spurts. I’ll read for a while, and then throw myself into writing. While I didn’t plan it that way, the timing worked well this month. Writing can be very difficult for me when I don’t have my normal schedule. However, in the unpredictable schedule I’ve had the last month, I’ve been able to fit in a half-dozen or so novels.

In “normal time,” I can choose one or the other. It doesn’t work that way for everyone, of course, but if I’m reading, it means I’m not writing. And if I’m writing, I usually don’t have the brain bandwidth nor the time to commit to reading anything.

So I need to decide: What’s more important? Do I need to read, or do I need to write?

Well, yes.

But for now, what’s more important?

I’m a writer. So it’s time to write.

It’s time to create worlds and populate them with people and have them make decisions to go do things. It’s time to edit a novel and scour a proof of a different novel. It’s time to outline a new series and find markets for some short stories.

It’s time to do what a writer does.

It’s time to write.

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