The other day I was discussing some fantasy trilogies I recently read (Lynn Flewelling's Tamir Triad, starting with The Bone Doll's Twin and Juliet Marillier's original Sevenwaters trilogy), and my friend asked me where I found time to read so much. I told her I've been outlining a fantasy, and before I write, I feel as if I need to read everything important in the genre first. And that's impossible, so then I never actually have to write!
The twist is that my friend is currently weighing agent offers for HER fantasy, which she wrote while I was reading all those other books. I think she spent her time more productively -- especially since now I get to read the product. Instead I use reading and research as a clever procrastination method so I feel like I'm accomplishing something even when I'm not (but it sure it fun).
This reminded me of a few recent discussion among English teachers who believe that the best way to teach is output instead of input -- writing instead of reading. And then I recalled a casual survey among writers about which they could more readily give up, writing or reading.
I was surprised that many answered reading -- something I could never relinquish willingly, although I have stopped writing for periods of months and years. But reading is my PASSION -- it's how I learn, soothe myself, escape troubles, and entertain my mind. It's my oldest and most dependable friend, and a life without books would seem bleak indeed.
Still, I currently have three or four partly researched, partly outlined novels that I never feel up to writing, but sometimes you must just WRITE.
Which would you give up if you HAD to choose -- reading or writing?