As I said at the beginning of the month, it’s difficult for me to read for pleasure because I read through my writer’s lens and evaluate a story as a writer, not as a reader. I still struggle with this problem but discovered three ways writers can reclaim reading joy.
Schedule Time to Read
That may not sound like fun. I have to schedule time to read like a dental appointment? But I’ve found that with a husband and kids, if I don’t schedule everything–even something as minor as my pleasure reading–I will never stumble across a free hour to sit down with a book. I have never stumbled across a free hour to do anything since my kids were born. Now I understand why my mother often took a book to the bathroom.
On Sundays, I don’t do any writing or anything related to publishing. I try to read just for the fun of it. I’m not always successful. I’m so wired to work that it’s hard to relax. But it’s nice to stretch out with a book other than at bedtime.
Read Dead Authors
A good piece of advice for writers pursuing publication is to become familiar with the books currently being published in their genre. The drawback of that advice is that writers constantly analyze those books, comparing them to their work in progress, robbing themselves of reading joy.
Reading great books from the past in my genre removes the need to dissect them. It also educates me in the history of my genre.
Read a Genre You Don’t Write
Reading a genre I have no intention of writing in helps silence, or at least muffles, my internal editor. I can more easily approach a book of historical fiction or sci-fi as a reader than as a writer.
That’s one reason I enjoy reading poetry. I know I’ll never publish anything I write, so reading it is simply fun.
Writers, how do you reclaim reading joy? Readers, what do you do when the joy drains out of reading?
Great advice, Jennifer! I needed this! To read for pleasure is such a joy. A joy I’ve lost lately.
Yes! It sounds like an oxymoron, but I’ve had to work at relearning how to read for pleasure.