Like many authors, before becoming a writer, I was an avid reader. I have always been a keen reader. So I didn’t really expect my relationship to reading to change once I’m a published author. I was quite surprised to find that To changed, and it has changed a lot. Reading is different when you’re an author for a variety of reasons, and I’m sure it varies from author to author. But here’s how my reading life changed after I became a full-time author.
Reading can be a chore
Is it blasphemy to say that reading can sometimes seem like a chore? It’s a bit of blasphemy to admit that. But it’s true! When writing is your job and you put in a lot of hours every day, stepping away from your own books to read more books can feel like a chore. Especially when you read books in the genres you write, or when you read books that you are supposed to write blurb for. Sometimes reading just becomes an extension of your job, and that can be difficult. There are days when I spend so much time looking at the words I write or review in my books that the thought of looking at more words on a page at the end is a little maddening. Unfortunately, this is only the reality.
Reading ceases to be a reprieve
Reading has been a respite for most of my life. In my free time, I liked to read. Every weekend, sitting down with a book was my idea of a good time. When I had a vacation from work, I found myself diving headfirst into my TBR and devouring the books one after the other. Reading like that was a real treat. But when writing books is your job, your reprieve cannot also be an extension of your job. Nowadays, I often find myself stepping away from books during my vacation and free time. Instead, I play video games more, watch TV more. And when I read in my spare time, I often read books in genres that I didn’t read as much before, because it takes my mind off my own work.
Reading is part of the job
If someone had told me a few years ago that I could have a job where I had to read a lot, I would have jumped for joy! But the reality of having a job where you read a lot is very different from the fantasy of this one. Because reading for work is very different from reading for pleasure. As an author, I read a lot. I read for research while writing or revising a book. I also read very extensively when I have an idea for a book and I’m trying to think about it. Apart from that, I also read books in advance in order to write blurbs. I read books for panels I belong to or host. I read books for other authors, and I also read when I’m doing a mentoring program.
All of this leads to a lot of reading, besides writing my own books (which includes proofreading my own work like billions of times). It doesn’t leave much room for reading for fun, and it just changes the way I interact with books now.
Reading is just different
At the end of the day, I still love books and still read a lot. The reading I’m doing just looks different. There are times when I drag books that I absolutely must read because I’m looking for something crucial, but it might not be something I would read otherwise. But overall, I have found ways to feel happy with my reading.
I separate the books that I have read things and books for authors that I have absolutely no obligation to read. If I have one of each at the same time, I fulfill my obligation and also read for fun at the same time.
When I take a break from work, I try to read in genres I wasn’t working on before my break. I usually write contemporary YA, so I tend to avoid reading contemporary YA while on vacation, although I love the genre.
I also tend to read in a variety of mediums. My primary form of reading was physical books and e-books, but I’m so tired of looking at words all day sometimes, that I read a lot of audiobooks these days. They also give my eyes a rest, as I can put on an audiobook and turn off my screens a bit! I also find myself reading a lot more graphic novels.
Does being a full-time author change the way I read? Yes, certainly, although I cannot say that it is the same for all authors. But what hasn’t changed, and probably never will, is my love for books and reading!
Looking for more information on reading as an author? Check out these articles: The authors are from Goodreads, Too, and Authors and Parasocial Relationships.