I believe writers have to read. I don’t have scientific data to prove the “why” of the claim; I only know that my writing improves the more I immerse myself in the writing of others. Such writing may be easy to read, and some of it may be difficult. Almost all of it makes me uncomfortable in some way. It challenges me to think through a subject, to explore how ideas in the work interact with my own, or to study how the writing itself works. As I do so, my own work grows. It initially takes on characteristics of what I’m reading, then my writing absorbs what I’ve learned and experienced. The form becomes something that is mine, something that is distinctively “Erin.”
Despite my belief in the importance of reading and my love of it, my reading habits have been lackluster as of late. I could attempt to justify the lack, but the justifications would be excuses. I am no more busy than anyone else who is trying to start or grow a business. I am no more tired. I am, however, lazy. I have not made reading the priority it should be.
I plan to change that fact this year. I will read at least twenty books in 2013. I proclaim the fact on this blog so that I can be held accountable. I also will instill other measures, namely Goodreads. I haven’t used the site much, but I think it could help me to stay on track with my goal. I may even go a step further and share the books I’m reading on the Write Right blog. That idea is under consideration; I don’t use the blog for book reviews and am not sure if that’s an avenue I should pursue. I will contemplate the idea, but I can’t guarantee that it will occur.
In any case, I have made my commitment. I will read at least twenty new books this year. I think it’s a reasonable goal. I also think it will help me to recall my love of reading and to mature as a writer.
What about you? Do you have a reading goal for 2013?
Photo: Wouter de Bruijn (CC BY NC SA 2.0)