Time spent

Whenever I’m asked what I do for a living, invariably my response is followed by questions. For starters, most seem to be pretty unsure of exactly what it is I do. I’ve been called an editor more times than I care to admit, which…while sort of true, is only sort of true. But in my time as an agent, there are a few questions that I have heard repeatedly along the way. It always starts with: so what does an agent do? Then I usually get asked whether I’m nervous about the “new rumor” someone’s heard that publishing is all but extinct. The last question, and segue to my topic this week, is almost always: do you write your own material as well as sell books?

And it always throws me for a loop.

There are undoubtedly plenty of people who work in publishing who also write on the side, but I have to admit that writing was never something I felt I was good at—it was always the reading and editing that I enjoyed.  But that’s just me.

Regardless, it always made me think of my own situation, and now leads me to wonder about YOUR situation. What I want to know from you, our readers, is this: do you spend more time writing or do you spend more time reading?

5 Responses to Time spent

  1. Stephen King says:

    It’s about even, really, as long as you don’t count the writing I do for my day job (and I don’t–it’s not creative writing). I have a huge backlog of books I’m looking to read, and I feel guilty for not making more headway on that, but I also have a huge backlog of things I’m wanting to write, and I feel just as guilty there. I’d look forward to my next vacation from my day job for the time to read and to write, except that I’m taking the vacation in order to go to a writer’s conference where I’ll do a lot of neither.

    Ah, well. If only I had 32 hours in the day for a while….

  2. Clix says:

    Reading, definitely. I hate writing. I don’t even particularly enjoy writing posts for my blog, and that’s about as low-level as you can get.

  3. Luna says:

    I definitely spend more time writing than reading. It’s kind of why I read this blog – to see if any of you might be interested in something I’ve written. But of course, it might have something to do with the fact that it can take me up to a year to write 70 000 words (at least when I have to do it outside working hours) and only a day to read a book of 70 000 words.
    So I do spend more time writing, but during a year I will have read much more words than I have written.

  4. Rusty Allen says:

    In the first two decades of my life, the preponderance of my time was towards reading — as I think is true of most writers — despite all the writing in school and university and grad school. Since then, in my fully adult life as a career writer, of course, it has flipped, with the vast majority of my time toward writing. So, ironically as a writer, one often doesn’t have nearly as much time to read.

    But some sage once said something that I think is particularly true of fiction writers, basically to the effect that: By time writers reach age 25 or so, they have already read 90 percent of what will ever affect their own writing.

    Well, I hoped it worked! ☺ It’s why I have such an important query into Jessica Papin, right now!

  5. Joelle says:

    Reading. I’d love to say writing, but really I probably read 3-4 hours for every hour I write. And I will respectfully disagree with the idea that by the time you’re 25 you’ve read most of what will influence your writing. EVERYTHING I read affects/influences my writing. And for years I was on the cusp of landing an agent and it was an intensive self-designed 3 year reading program that helped me make the leap. I learned to structure a book that an agent wanted and was eventually published. Chris Crutcher says, “If I don’t read, I can’t write.” and while that may not be true for others, it is absolutely true for me.

    By the way, as a writer, we get a series of the same questions and suggestions every time too…Do you have any books out? Did you get to pick the cover? You should get on Oprah.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

Please type the characters of this captcha image in the input box

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>