Monday, May 21, 2012

Read to Feed

photo credit
First of all, the winner of the first chapter critique (as chosen by is C. Lee McKenzie!! 

I've been busy lately. Life has gotten crazy and I've been practicing my mad juggling skills between kids, volunteer work, and writing. Oh and I'm pregnant, which I didn't announce publicly until now, but what the hey! Three times is the charm. :D 

What's my point? Through everything, I've been bound and determined to keep at it. To keep writing because it means - YOU ALL MEAN - so much to me. I can't imagine my life without it now. But something was missing. When I did find a precious few minutes, and I forced myself to work, I was still having a lot more trouble than usual expressing myself the way I'm used to. 

I figured it out, folks. So I have to share it with all of you. The problem was that I had let something important go in favor of writing time. READING time. I've been in book withdrawal and I hate it! Reading is just as important to writers as writing. Let me repeat that because it's so important.


The more I feed that part of my brain with delicious, nutritious books, the better I'm able to write with confidence. Do I copy authors I love? No. Certainly not consciously. But I let them INSPIRE me. I try to note what I love and find what's missing in my work so that I can round it out. Example? I just finished Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare. OMG I devoured it. If you don't read her work, go fix that RIGHT NOW. I have four more books bought and ready to be gobbled up as well. And it's pumping up my writing brain. I can't explain how it works exactly, I can only tell you that it does. 

You need to read anyway. You need to know your genre and others. But if you don't get joy from reading you're probably in the wrong profession. So do me a favor and join me, will you? Go read a good book. Give up TV time or something else. But squeeze it in. 

I posted today on Enchanted Inkpot about what makes a fantasy classic. I'd love it if you visit me there too!


  1. A very timely post for me--I've been so busy and pressed lately that my reading time (and my exercise time, and my social time ...) has all but slipped away entirely. And you're so right--it's definitely fuel for creativity and inspiration.


  2. I don't think we should ever let our reading time go! Not because we copy but because great writing soaks int our subconscious! It inspires us. It gives our brains a break! Hope you're doing well!

  3. Congrats to C.Lee! She's awesome!

    Reading is such a great adventure for me and different now that I'm a writer. Somehow, while reading others' work, my mind stretches beyond itself and I find new ideas formulating. I always pick up something to read when my own work is stumping me.

  4. Congrats on being pregnant! How awesome.

    I so agree with you that reading is so important. I love it and read audio books while I exercise and work in the garden to squeeze more of them in. I chose reading over TV most of the time.

  5. Congratulations to C. Lee, and congratulations to YOU, Lisa, on your third! Books are fuel for my writing, and, like you, when I'm running low on reading time, my writing inches and sputters along.

  6. Yes! If you don't read, how can you ever learn how to write?

    I rarely watch TV (and don't miss it) so I make time for reading almost every night. It's not just entertainment, it's part of strengthing my own skills.

    Thanks for the post - and congrats on your pregnancy! May it be a healthy and joyful experience. :)

  7. A new baby on the way! Wow! Best of health to you both.

    Reading inspires my writing too, and no matter what else is going on, I have to carve minutes (and sometimes it is only minutes) for both loves.

  8. Agreed, Lisa!!

    I started cutting out the TV watching during the week so I could spend 30-45 minutes nightly on reading (after writing and such). The hubs downloads all my TV shows for me and I catch up on those on weekends. :) It's soooo important to *always* be a reader first, a writer second. If you don't read, you don't know what other styles out there, and like you said, something about makes our brain churn when we're writing, and it inspires us to write better and more compelling stories.

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! So excited for you! :)

  9. Congrats on the new baby!!!! So awesome!! :)

    I agree - if I'm not reading, the writing doesn't flow either. I need to read! I've read 3 or 4 of C Clare's books and they're really great :)

  10. Wow, congrats, Lisa! Despite pregnancy brain, it is possible to keep writing. I lived through it! And I agree about reading. I read every night and whenever else I get the chance. Couldn't live without reading.

    Now go put your feet up!

  11. Congrats on the new baby!

    I also found a while back that I was sacrificing my reading time, so I've been amending that. After all, the reason I began to love writing was because I loved reading first.

  12. Wow and double wow! I came by to say thank you publicly for your wonderful prize and am blown away by your good news! Congratulations, Lisa.

    I can't imagine a night without reading something, but as everyone else has shared, it's hard to keep all of what you do in balance. There are times when I just don't have the time or the energy to read after a day of writing, keeping thing running at home, and trying to see family and friends.

  13. I couldn't find where to comment on Enchanted Inkpot, so I'll comment here. I love LOTR! I read the Hobbit as a kid and have never forgotten it. That's what makes a classic for me - a story I cannot forget. That does not happen often. My list of unforgettable stories is only about two dozen titles at most out of the hundreds I've read over a lifetime.

  14. Yay for Baby Green!!! (not a green baby, of course)

    As for reading, I'm reading much less now that I'm writing, but still, I always have a book going. And I take one wherever I go. You're definitely feeds our writer souls and it's FUN!

    Glad your nose is between pages again :)

  15. You are so right! Reading is as important as the writing itself. Stephen King sure thinks so. I've gone through spells were my reading time suffered, and I felt the same missing spark. I'm currently reading City of Glass. The Infernal Instruments series is up after I work my way through City of Lost Souls! Love these books! Congrats! on the new Green :-)

  16. Hooray for Lee. Love her blog. Lisa, you are so right about not short sheeting reading time. I had recently let my r-time slip as well. I set a definite schedule and now I'm feeling the rocket boost from finishing INSURGENT, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, and BEAUTIFUL CHAOS. Inspiration with a capital - I. Read on.

  17. Congratulations!!!

    I agree that reading is so important. My goal this year is to read a book a week. I'm a little behind but hoping to catch up soon!

  18. I took this advice to heart a few years ago... and maybe too much to heart as sometimes I find it easier to pick up a good book than to pick writing! But at the same time, I've learned more about good writing this way than any other! YAY for reading!!!

    Now off to read your guest post - sounds very interesting.

  19. First, CONGRATULATIONS on baby number 3! How exciting! Cheers to you!

    Next, I know exactly what you mean here. I let my reading time slip a few months ago and I felt this loss in my writing. You're right--it's hard to explain, but there's no denying the reading/writing connection. Now I have a set time to read and I drop everything for this time. What a difference, what a joy. Happy reading!

  20. Hi

    Reading is such an excellent experience for me. Somehow, while reading others' perform, my thoughts extends beyond itself and I discover new thoughts developing. I always choose up something to study when my own perform is stumping me.

    Voluntary work

  21. Congratulations Lisa!!! Whoo hoo! I'm so happy for you. And I couldn't agree more about reading time. It is SO important! I'm getting a lot of that done now on vacation and am loving it.

  22. Congrats, Woman! I am so happy for you!! *YAY*

    I have let reading slip as well. I set a goal to read a book a week, and it's not happening. I'm determined to get back there again. :)


  23. OMG!!!! I can't believe I almost missed this news. Congrats, Lisa. :D

    I can't sleep if I don't read fiction (and I don't mean beta reading) before bed. I HAVE to read. But I spent 8 years as a drug rep with no time to read novels. I'm making up for lost time. I just wish I had more time, but I can't give up writing. I love it too much.