For Goodness Sake Make Time!

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I forget how many times I have told people, especially new writers, to pace themselves. I was having a conversation on Facebook with one of my female writer friends yesterday. She has bought copies of five of my eBooks, which I am eternally grateful to her for. Three of them are short novellas, averaging 168 pages. I don’t know about you but I can read a novella in an afternoon, or a morning. For instance, if I start reading at twelve noon, I will have finished it by seven in the evening, barring interruptions and calls of nature. When I read a full length novel (150 – 200,000 words) it takes me the best part of three twelve hour days.

As writers, if we are going to do justice to our own writing, there is nothing more stimulating than spending hours reading other people’s books. From them we glean those ideas that hadn’t necessarily occured to us. With every book I write comes endless reading beforehand. Its called research. The writer in question makes me laugh. She claims that she has no time to read. When I told her about my reading a novella in seven hours, she assumed that what I’m doing is speed reading. Sorry to disagree with you my dear friend but it isn’t. It’s just a normal reading pace. She seriously needs to make time to read. In other words, she needs to pace herself.

I’ve seen photographs of her with a library of books in the background. I’m assuming that given her profession, the library is her own. Maybe not. If, as she claims, she has no time to read, why does she have access to one, if not to read the books? in my case my own library is divided up into actual physical books in my five shelf bookcase, as well as eBooks and PDF files on this laptop. I’ve read every single one of them at least five times. Some like Graham Hancock’s epic work Fingerprints of the Gods, several dozen times. In that case it will usually take me a week, simply because its seven hundred and nineteen pages are jam packed with information…

Currently I have one hundred and seventy three eBooks and one hundred and twenty physical books. I also have one hundred and forty-two PDF files which I constantly refer to when I’m in research mode.

How many books do you have? Have you read them all?

A lot of people buy books, millions of us in fact. But how many can truthfully say that they have read every book in their possession? Some people like to kid themselves that by having a large physical library in their home, it will impress their visitors, by creating the illusion that they are well read, and therefore intelligent.

If you want to impress the hell out of your visitors; read the damned books in your personal library to become fully conversant with the content of each of them! That way when your visitors ask you about a certain book you won’t be caught out in a lie.

Despite what some idiots believe, books are not for decoration, even though the multicolours of the jacket’s spine undoubtedly creates a splash of colour.Β  Every one of them contains the end product of a writer’s accumulated knowledge and hard work. They are meant to be read, not just looked at!!!

PS – I will admit that since I became a fulltime writer, I no longer read for pleasure. Plus, these days when I read a book, the editor in me is constantly on the lookout for poor grammer, spelling and punctuation.

That is the one major drawback with full-time writing; the end of spending hours simply reading for pleasure…

πŸ˜‰

9 thoughts on “For Goodness Sake Make Time!

  1. People shouldn’t be writing if they don’t read. It is amazing how different reading a book becomes when you write them too. I seldom noticed a typo or anything except the story before I started. I buy lots of indie books to read and review, but I will also read for pleasure. I’ve got a lot of my old favourite author’s books waiting for me. My aim is to read one for review for every one for pleasure – although most of the ones for review are a pleasure because I’m not likely to buy them if I don’t like the look of them. πŸ™‚

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  2. Good question, Jack.

    Let’s see … a while ago, I decided to use Goodreads to help me inventory my library. So far, I have 387 books listed, and I’m not even halfway through.

    There are few that I haven’t read in their entirety. They tend to be anthologies of poetry, short stories or “classic” novellas; compilations of essays by a single author; textbooks or other scholarly tomes from which I’ve studied various chapters, and similar research materials.

    I gave the encyclopedia and its twenty years’ of annual supplements (which I’d used to homeschool my kids) to a son who wanted it when he left home, but then I found that I missed having it, so I bought a more recent set (but I didn’t subscribe to the annuals). I refer to it regularly, and one of my goals is to finish reading it, one volume at a time. I even enjoy browsing the dictionary, but I have no plans to read that straight through!

    I’ve given away at least as many books as I still own. They were the fiction I’d read once and didn’t care for, and nonfiction that I’d enjoyed and read several times, but after discovering I hadn’t touched them in 5 or more years, I decided to make room for new material.

    The only way I’ll read e-books is if I can put them through my own text-to-speech generator. I can’t read for pleasure from a screen; it’s too tiring. I’ve begun putting favorite blogs through TTS, too.

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    • In my own case Christine, because my eyesight isn’t what it used to be, I have duplicated several of the books in my bookcase that I use for research by buying the eBook version. That way I can read them with ease. As for giving books away to make room for more. Shame on you. I keep all of my books. One day I will need them again… πŸ˜‰

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      • lol, Jack! I felt that way, too, but I’d begun researching my own writing, and my focus had changed. Space was at a premium, and something had to go. If I could look at the spine of a nonfiction book and remember its contents well, even though I hadn’t opened it in more than 5 years, and if none of my kids wanted it, I gave it to the Friends of the Library sale. The travelogue-type books I gave to a nursing home that needed material for its library. At least I wasn’t using them to heat the house! πŸ™‚

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      • There have been a number of that sort, over the centuries, with their Bonfires of the Vanities. And because you can’t own an e-book (unless you download it from a place like Project Gutenberg), to me, that means the Major Online Retailer who tries to browbeat Indies into signing an exclusive e-book contract (and retaliates when authors don’t comply), is just another one of that ilk. If that Retailer decides to pull the plug, PFFFT! go the e-books. Vanished, without a trace.

        Wouldn’t that cretinous clod have loved to have had that kind of censorship ability, right in the palm of his hand?

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