Monday, May 05, 2014

Finding Time To Read

You've probably heard the advice that to be a good writer, you have to read, but if you're a writer with a day job, you're already a bit pressed for time. If you've got the double-whammy of being a parent, as some of you do, time is incredibly short.

I listen to books while going for a walk during lunch. I subscribe to Audible, but I also get audio books from my local library or from LibriVox. Never heard of LibriVox? LibriVox provides free downloadable audiobooks read by volunteers from around the world.

The books are public domain, which means, usually, that they're very old. But there are some gems if you want something unusual. For example, search by category and enter mythology or history. Or, if you like looking back at the roots of the horror genre, search for Edgar Allan Poe or Arthur Machen. (Machen was a Welsh mystic and writer who wrote in the supernatural, horror, and fantasy genres. Apparently Stephen King called Machen's The Great God Pan "Maybe the best [horror story] in the English language" (quoted from

If you're outside the US, though, pay attention to this disclaimer on the LibriVox site:
LibriVox recordings are Public Domain in the USA. If you are not in the USA, please verify the copyright status of these works in your own country before downloading, otherwise you may be violating copyright laws.
Another option is to read before you go to bed. For me, that doesn't usually work out well. If I'm tired, it's only a paragraph or two before I'm out. If I'm not tired, a good book will keep me awake way too long. Still, sometimes I hit that sweet spot between the two and get in a half hour or more of good reading time.

I was listening to the Writing Excuses podcast the other day and learned of another way to get in more reading time. Mary Robinette Kowal uses her lunch time to read since you can't type much while you've got a fork in your hand.

So there's a thought for you: Bring your lunch to work. Read while you eat. And after you finish? Take that quick walk around the parking lot and "read" some more!

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