There are numerous authors that have shared advice about writing and one of the biggest items always included is the importance of reading. Stephen King said that if you don't have time to read then you don't have the time nor the tools to write.
I have always enjoyed reading. I of course have had my preferences in genres but I have tried to branch out and of course through the classes I took in school I was required to read books I probably wouldn't have picked up in the first place.
We read classics, poetry and anthologies. I studied texts about difficult cultures. I explored the world in my mind. As with most authors this not only was an adventure for me but inspiration to create magic with words. I wanted to take readers on an adventure of my own design weaving a tapestry of rich settings interesting dialogue and heartfelt characters.
While I was in school I read anything and everything I could get my hands on, even discovering an author that has become one of my favorites. I went through different worlds. I became numerous people and I tried my hand at sharing a few ideas of my own. However in the last part I faltered a bit.
The only ideas of other worlds and different story paths I could come up with always led back to something I had read. I had no experiences of my own to draw from causing me to quickly become discouraged. I would jot something down occasionally but generally only if assigned and I could always tell my heart wasn't in it.
As I got older I struck out. I was determined to have a life full of the interesting experiences that I would later share with the world. I travelled. I ate new things. I talked to people and learned about their lives which would always give me insight and perspective on mine. Then a few years ago I finally felt I had lived an adequate amount to begin spinning my tales once again.
I recently published my novel Never Give Up and have a flood of ideas that I swim through everyday now so it is safe to say my traveling and exploring paid off. I write at least a few days per week now and still do my best to learn about and from people and the new things I try as often as I can. There is just one problem. I have stopped reading.
I either feel like I no longer have time because it is taking up what I would be using to write or work. Or I feel it is unproductive to make my way through someone else's incredible work instead of dedicating myself to my own. I need to find a way to mesh the two worlds because as much as I love my own characters I am ready to reenter the worlds created by those that inspire me.