Reading vs Writing

Hey there Internets,

As the inaugural post for my newly published blog, I thought I’d ramble about my struggle with reading versus writing.

I’m trying to get published, by that I mean I’m desperately seeking validation from a group of people who have standards in the field I’m struggling to break into. In order to write well enough to get into this field, I have to– wouldn’t ya know– write things. This takes time. A lot of it. I’m also not getting paid for any of that time, so it has to be found in the moments when I’m not earning a paycheck to keep a roof over my head. Oh, yeah, did I mention the wife and two children who actually care about me and want to be around me and interact with me? All of that shit takes time.

Here’s where the problem comes in: in order to know what good writing looks like, know what’s selling, what publishers are buying, and what sorts of stories the readers want, I have to read. This also takes time. Noticing a theme yet?

A few months ago this was a serious problem for me because I didn’t know diddly about some of the more contemporary authors in the genre. I had heard/read names online (thanks to reddit.com/r/fantasy) and knew there were some books I needed to read, but for the most part I was pretty oblivious and had to stay that way due to budget constraints, because books cost money. This changed with WorldCon (referred to by some as LoneStarCon 3) coming to San Antonio Labor Day weekend. I met some pretty incredible people there, and won a stack of free books that will set me up for the next few months. Now I’m forced to take a hard look at my writing and reading habits.

Here’s what I’ve concluded: when I get home from work, I will hug and kiss the children and my wife and disappear into a dark hole to write. This will last until roughly dinner time (2 hours). On a reasonable day, that should get me 1,500 words, assuming no major distractions. After dinner will be family time: games, legos, TV, whatever. Just me being Daddy, no publishing business in sight (about 2 more hours). Then, when the kids are in bed, I will snuggle up with my beautiful, supportive wife and a book, and I will read until it’s my turn to fall asleep.

If this doesn’t work, I guess I’ll just have to start working on getting that Time-Turner from McGonagall.

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