I don’t remember exactly what J.K. Rowling interview I saw (or read, which would be more appropriate to this post, but I do think it was something I saw), but I remember her talking about how she can never stop reading, even if she has to read the ingredients in a bottle of shampoo when in someone else’s bathroom. It clicked with me because I’m much the same. All day, every day, I read and write and live in a world of words bouncing silently around in my head. I think it must be much the same for other writers.
I work as a writer, and I prefer communicating with my clients (or with most anyone) by email, so I’ve never actually spoken with a number of clients who’ve offered me work, even those who’ve offered me work for years. I’m better at communicating my ideas in writing, and it was my strong suit in school. (And I’m grateful for the wonderful teachers in high school and college who encouraged me and helped me grow as a writer!)
I’m introverted (which is NOT the same as lonely, I enjoy solitude)—always have been—and besides my boyfriend and family, I don’t do much with friends. I do, however, have a wide network of dear friends to whom I once wrote handwritten letters. (I still do write to many of them by hand, but not anywhere near as often.) I’ve had pen pals since I was 7 years old! The Internet has made it easier to keep in touch with most of them online these days more often than not, but rarely a day goes by where I don’t check in with a number of them. And I keep in touch with school friends online, too. I almost feel like we’re reading each other’s minds. All of this communication happening thanks to words you never speak aloud. Kind of trippy in a way!
As for reading, well, most of the distractions on the Internet I enjoy consist of reading rather than watching videos. (Not that I never watch videos!) It’s always been easier for me to understand and learn something written down than via a visual or audio lecture about the topic for some reason. At breakfast and when I step away from the computer for lunch and I’m alone (and sometimes even when not), I read the newspaper or a catalog or anything within reach, whether I actually care about the topic or not. People sometimes lecture me for reading while eating, and I respond with a line that connected with me from the Steam Detectives manga a decade or more ago: “I’m not reading while eating. I’m eating while reading.”
This habit means you would expect me to finish more books in a timely manner, but it is rare for me to read for pleasure for long periods at a time other than right before bed. And sometimes even then, I prefer gaming.
I do watch TV and I love going to the cinema, but I also watch a lot of foreign language shows (mostly anime), so even then, I’m still reading thanks to subtitles. I think the only other times when I’m not reading or writing is when driving, doing chores, showering (baths are a great place to read, though!), exercising, eating with others (and even then, not always) and sleeping. I can’t stand to be caught without something to occupy my mind for more than a few moments if it can be helped. If I’m leaving the house and expecting even a minute of downtime, I bring a book or newspaper with me.
Are you a non-stop reader and writer? Do you think this helps you improve your writing?