Saturday, January 24, 2015

Reading and Writing Time

Ever since I learned to read, I’ve had a ritual for reading before sleep. I read at other times too, like when I’m ill, or just taking a rare day off to read some story that really has me hooked, or sometimes when traveling to pass time (finished two novels I’d started last Thursday on a road trip), but I have to read for thirty or more minutes before I can fall asleep. Sometimes that thirty minutes can turn into hours and a short sleep time. It might have started with my parents reading to me before bedtime because early habits like that are hard to break. I did it with my children too, but haven't asked them if they read at night.

What surprises me is the number of people who never pick up a book after leaving high school. Many of my students admit to disliking reading. Various statistics put that number of non-readers after high school at between thirty and forty percent. Isn’t that astounding?

On average, I read about sixty novels a year in a variety of genres from romance to mystery and suspense to scifi and fantasy before sleep. I do not keep track of my non-fiction reading in research for stories or blog posts, and the non-fiction I read for interest (new science discoveries and history are big draws). Some things I've had to read for work, in those instances I make time to read, often in segments so I can comprehend the information. So, I guess what I'm saying is I have many methods for dealing with reading.

I wish I had a set ritual for writing, but my method is very helter-skelter happening as my thoughts engage in moving the plot forward. One book I wrote in six weeks from start to the publisher. Another I have worked on for years, and it is still incomplete. Work, life, and other types of writing also distract from story writing, plus I’ve become interested writing short fiction and non-fiction blog posts on various topics.

From reading, I have learned that most authors have their own particular writing methods and schedules, some sticking to a strict regimen; others more like me, when driven. This seems to be all a matter of personal preference and time available. 

To learn more about other authors' methods, rituals for reading and writing visit:
A.J. Maguire 
Geeta Kakade
Margaret Fieland
Skye Taylor 
Marci Baun 
Fiona McGier
Connie Vines
Beverley Bateman
Rita Karnopp 
Rachael Kosnski
Helena Fairfax 
Heidi M. Thomas
Ginger Simpson


  1. Great post. My whole life has become "helter-skelter".

  2. I am astounded that thirty to forty percent of students become non-readers after high school.

    Writing a novel in six weeks is amazing. Great post.

  3. Thirty to forty percent become non-readers after high school. Such a sad fact. If you do not read there is such a loss of opportunity and enjoyment.

  4. The trick about reading is to start them young and enjoy it with a parent,teacher,grandparent.
    When its something learned with difficulty it is not enjoyed. Our daughter taught reading comprehension to students coming into community college (I thought that was first grade stuff) and her classes were packed with foreign students (understandable) and American adults who couldn't understand what they read and so didn't read.
    Till she taught that class, I didn't realize it was a gift to be able to read and enjoy simultaneously...the things we take for granted are amazing!

  5. I feel sorry for folk who never learn the joy of reading. When everything else is on hold, when life is at a low, even when you are broke, there are books (libraries are great) How sad never to tap into this wonderful world.

  6. I agree with you all. I think good reading standards start in very early childhood with parents reading to their child. Thanks everyone for your comments.

  7. The important thing, beyond reading to your kids when they're young, is to let them see YOU reading. Children might enjoy stories, but think of it as something for little kids, if their parents never read for enjoyment where they can see them.

    As a teacher, the first thing I ask kids who complain about hating reading is were they read to as kids, and do their parents ever read anything.

    Unfortunately, we've become too digitally-addicted, when people will spend hours playing the latest APPs games, which do nothing to stimulate their brains, but claim they have no time to pick up a book.

  8. I'm with you on reading before sleep, and yes, my 20-30 minutes sometimes turn into 60-90 minutes when it's a page-turner. It is sad to hear from teachers that kids read, but they cannot imagine the scenes in their heads because they are so used to having the scene created on the screen. That is worrisome to me and to educators. Enjoyed your post.

  9. Great article about"Reading and Writing Time ". The best method to improve your reading and writing skills is to read and write- as you read you pick up new vocabulary and engage with different writing.Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful article about reading.