There are two types of people I’ve seen who mention on social media that they don’t read. Firstly, those who claim not to have the time. These ones often express desires to write which seems so counterintuitive to me. The second do so in some twisted attempt to knock down the value of the written word in a strange attempt to conform. I give little credence to the second, but this blog is for the first.
Like any other craft, writing isn’t a skill existing in a vacuum. You can write endlessly and learn nothing. Just like you can sing or kick a ball or dance by yourself and without gaining anything. Perfecting aspects you know is fine. Confining yourself to only those aspects is self-sabotage. Dancers watch other dancers. They practice with them. Reading is similar for an author. It inspires new ideas showing different ways to turn a phrase that you might not have considered.
Those I’ve spoken to regarding this have dismissed my concerns. There’s not enough time to read. It’s like a joke without a punchline. Time can be organized – structured and slotted. In any other type of training or learning, practice time needs to be allotted, yet people dismiss doing the same for reading. It’s too often written off as a luxury.
Just like some write off the desire to be an author. So many profiles, even my own, list author then something else as if to validate that writing is a hobby. Something to be given minimal time in comparison to the job, academic coursework, or whatever else has been placed higher. For some, it’s simply split interest. That’s perfectly fine, but for others, writing isn’t valued, so it’s not a risk worth extensive time or tutelage. It’s unfortunate. Because, like everything skill worth learning and every other dream job, time is exactly what it takes.
To those above, I’d say – just read. To those who think they’re being socially acceptable for bragging about not reading – pull your head out of the terminal end of your large intestine and pick up a book.
Either way – Good L