That’s a pretty well-know quote from Stephen King’s book on writing (aptly titled: On Writing.)
If you take that statement at face value, it isn’t really saying anything special, just that reading is important and if you don’t read a lot, you won’t become a very good writer.
But if you look into the deeper meaning of that statement, it tells you the most important determining factor between a career writer and a hobbyist.
Here’s a clue:
That statement isn’t simply telling you to make time to read.
To phrase it a little better, he could have said: “If you can’t find time to read, then you can’t make time to write.”
It seems everyone in America complains that they are too busy to (insert important action here.) Busy, busy, busy.
Busy has become the new “fine.”
How are you? “I’m busy.”
And in this “busy” world, we certainly can’t find time to read. What King is saying, in my opinion, is that if you can’t find 30 minutes a day to sit down and read something, then there is no way you have the discipline to sit down and write for hours at a time to hone your craft.
I also think it’s time we collectively take a look in the mirror and admit that we make ourselves busy. We surround ourselves with distractions. I don’t have to start listing them, because you know exactly what these distractions are.
So for new writers, I’m encouraging you make yourself a promise. Promise you’ll turn off the TV or log off of Facebook for 30 minutes and pick up a book.
Do that every day for a week. And then try increasing it to 60 minutes. I guarantee doing so WILL improve your writing.
To bring things back to that original quote, time is not unlimited. If you waste so much of it on non-productive activities that you can’t find 30 minutes to read, you’ll never achieve the success you desire in writing or, really, in anything else you may be dreaming about.