Reading takes up too much time. This is the reason I don’t write; I read all the time. Which is a pretty big paradox in my opinion, since you need to be a good reader to become a great writer.
Some time ago, I asked several writing and non-writing friends this question: do you feel guilty about making time out of your busy schedule to write? Because let me tell you, I do. I feel VERY guilty, in fact, because that eats a chunk out of my time to do other things. Running your own business means that you need to be enterprising enough to find a way to market your own work, look for clients, keep track of employees (if you have any) and output (your own or others’), and make decisions that affect every aspect of your business day in and day out. Needless to say, it can be very taxing, and as you keep going, you will find that you will spend more of your day with your head buried in text that other people wrote.
Let’s use my field as an example. With the online industry being shaken up by updates from Google, Facebook, and Amazon, what makes a good search marketer is slowly becoming more and more uncertain. I need to keep on reading what the experts in the field think, and figure out how to apply that to what my writers do. Sometimes, it’s more of the same, but once in a while, a big update hits without people knowing about it – and if I don’t read about it early on, the work we’re doing suffers in quality. So if I stop reading, I’m going to make less money than I need.
Another thing that takes up a lot of my time is talking to people. But since I’m usually caged away from civilization, and most everybody I know is online, talking entails chat conversations. And chatting entails reading.
The same goes for dealing with clients. I rarely find clients who would rather Skype call than Skype chat, and half the time, these guys would prefer talking via email. Again, more reading.
And at the end of the day, when you’re winding down and you’re done with the TV shows that you’re following, how do you start to unwind? By reading. I put down the phone / shut off the computer, and pick up a book and read. I know I should be writing, but sometimes your brain just isn’t working at the end of the day. Some of you read your Twitter and Facebook timelines (something I do in the can in the morning).
So where does one find the time to write in this never-ending cycle of reading? And on that note, one would think that in this world of constant reading, everybody would have read enough to make everybody writers of some worth.
But it never has. And it never will. Because writing properly entails practice. Writing takes time. I don’t often quote Copyblogger because most of the content they have to offer up there is a rehash of something somebody else has written for the blog, but this one story, The Old Man and the Pen, really resonated with me, and not on a marketer level.
It doesn’t matter what your medium is. Pen on paper. Fingers on keyboards. If you’re a writer, make the time to write. If you think that writing is the most important thing in your life, then forget everything else and write. Sometimes, just a hundred words a day is enough. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you won’t become a brilliant wordsmith overnight. In fact, you may never become one at all.
But at least you can stop people on the street, show them that notebook full of scribbles, and tell them, Hey man, check it out. I can WRITE!