Monday, July 8, 2019

Reading and Writing and Wringing my Hands

To read, or to write? That is the question (with apologies to Shakespeare).

As a writer, educator, wife and mom, there never seem to be enough hours in the day, despite the fact that everyone in my family is officially old enough to take care of him/herself. Because I know that reading feeds writing I also know I should do both. And I want to. I really do.

Every week, that annoying Screen Time feature on my iPad reminds me that I managed to find plenty of time to play silly games and engage in social media, seemingly contradicting my stated desire to find more time to read and/or write. (Luckily it doesn't also track TV and Netflix time. Yet).

Bad habits? Maybe. But the games do make me think (more than TV and Netflix) and, besides, I'm often playing them when I'm too tired to actually engage my brain. As for social media, much (but not all) of it is an offshoot of work.

Still, I could be reading instead.

I've read a few articles with tips on how to read more (silly, perhaps) and I've been reminded of the fact that I do read -- I read a lot. But, since I'm reading lots of things besides books, the other reading I'm doing interferes with my ability to finish books quickly. As I result, I don't have the wonderful satisfaction that comes with arriving at the end of a book and closing it for the last time, secure in the knowledge that I've lapped up every word.

Last summer, I downloaded Audible so I could listen to books on the beach. Once home, I started listening to books in the car, even though I don't have a very long commute. That resulted in my dipping into even more books and -- triumphantly! -- getting to the end of books even when I wasn't at the beach. I was being read to instead of reading myself, but I was still reveling in a good book.

GDJ via Pixabay
Lately, I've taken my audiobooks out of the car and begun pairing my audiobooks with my iPad games. I can listen to a book while I do a jigsaw puzzle (yes, on my iPad) or play one of the games I like, doubling my enjoyment and feeling more productive (and maybe even a little virtuous) at the same time.

Slowly, I'm adding more reading (and listening) of books to the equation but, as even an algebra
novice knows, equations have to balance. Finding time to read that's not also prime writing time...well, that remains a challenge, leading me right back to where I started.

To read or to write? That is the question. Either way, I win.

So maybe it's not such a dilemma after all.

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