March 25, 2002
For the first time in over a year, I read a book for the pure joy of reading.
It had nothing with how to sell articles, grammar, writing structure, book proposals, marketing, design, inspiration, creativity or writing.
In fact, it was a book about whaling and it was read in less than a day.
I used to read extensively for enjoyment but since my official launch as a writer I instead began to use books as study and work tools. I thought if they didn’t benefit me by helping me learn how to be a better writer, than I wouldn’t read it. My once varied book collection became a whose who of creative self-help books and reading became a chore rather than a joy.
It came to the point where I started to actually loathe reading altogether. The self-help books on writing had become repetitive and rather than inspiring me, they bored me. That’s when I picked up a copy of In the Heart of the Sea and read it straight through, without even stopping for lunch.
My brain enjoyed the break, of being taken someplace different than a writer’s life. I was relaxed after, content and I think there was even a smile on my face. I had enjoyed reading! It was such a big deal because it had been so long since I had read a piece of non-fiction that I forgot how much I enjoyed it. Something I’ll remind myself often by reading more and more of it.
I’ve always wanted to be a varied writer, with no special area of interest. However, if I just kept reading on how to be a writer, I don’t think my writing would ever really improve. Instead, it would work itself into a pattern and would fall into one category – a self-help writer.
I don’t want that to happen so I’m going to get back into reading. It’s not only essential for my career, but for my own, selfish enjoyment.