Will you read or write during free time?

It is easy to find one engrossed in work, studies, or other commitments, but it is hard to find free time especially if a person has an active lifestyle. So when an opportunity to have leisure time lands on someone, I’m sure he can think of more than a dozen things to do to fit in the schedule.

Does this scenario seem familiar to you?

After a day’s work filled with lots of tasks such as answering emails, checking deliveries, contacting suppliers, discussing strategies with colleagues, and attending meetings, it is understandable that one can feel so drained at the end of the day. After stuffing dinner, a person will be most likely to be fatigued to do anything. The idea of hitting the bed after a relaxing shower seems inviting most of the days. But soon weekend and holidays will come and a dedicated worker will be rewarded with two days or more of leisure time.

Unless a person is a workaholic, he will treat this resting time as a valuable jewel. It might start on Thursday (or earlier?) when one will already plan ahead of what to do on the upcoming weekend. Will it be an escapade or a stay-cation? With family, friends, or someone special? Beach or city theme? Whatever he chooses, he wants to make the most out of the precious time given to him. If he won’t, he’ll have to wait for another five days for another opportunity.

As for me, when I feel worn-out from my consecutive traveling, I’ll choose to stay at home and get my rest. A social animal, my life is a whirling mass of meetings, dine-outs, shoppings, and what have yous. Sometimes, I take pity on my human body and decide to take some rest at home. Sleep late on a Friday night to wake up in time to warrant a lunch or early dinner, watch boring TV shows, clean my room, etc. Typical home buddy for a day. But there are two things I love the most when I am free and just staying at home – reading and writing.

I stopped counting on how many times I have repeated my admission that I am a book lover. I don’t know how you’ll take this, but my TBR (to-be-read) list has already reached above my neck [not literally]. Don’t get me wrong; I always read books when I have time and since I joined Goodreads, I can track my progress. This is not to brag, but I’m happy to say that I read at least five novels a month. Still, it isn’t enough. I know. As Frank Zappa said, “So many books, too little time.” Quot Libros, Quam Breve Tempus.

So when I have free time, no matter how short it is, you may see me buried in a book. “I must read more. Read more. Read more,” I usually say to myself like a mantra. There are many books that I want to read and is certain that there are more that I haven’t discovered. I continue reading – an endless journey in printed words that put me in different ages, various places, diverse culture, and remarkable personalities and characters. I thirst for it and I would go as far to say “addicted”.

However, not so long ago I joined a new wonderful world where I didn’t plan to join at first. My insistent and very influential [only to us] colleague introduced me to WordPress and when I saw the site, I knew I was charmed. Enticed. Attracted.

I began writing and found myself missing this activity. Is it possible to miss something you are always doing? In my job as a production editor, communication is extremely important as I am the focal point of my entire journals’ stockholders, and since most of my contacts are in different continents, email is the tool mostly used. Anyway, when I started posting entries in my blog account I felt this pull in writing. I’m not sure if I can exactly put it into words, but the feeling is great. At that point, I made an imaginary nod to someone who first mentioned that writing is an outlet – an expression of deeper emotions, sentimentalities, and opinions.

After that, I knew I was lost. I was drawn by an unseen force, compelling me to write, to put into words those often random and crazy thoughts that are swimming in my head. It’s cathartic. I was able to voice out [shall I say, write out?] my rants, political views, philosophical thoughts, cravings, and even songs in my head! 🙂

Since I now have two hobbies that can easily occupy my time, imagine my predicament every time I am free. Will I read and try to decrease my reading pile? Or write something interesting in this blog to benefit my lovely and devoted readers? Will I jump to different era in a book or reminisce something in my past and write about it? Will I grab a new novel with an interesting genre or brave to write something with a different theme from my common posts? Will I pour myself over a story and critique it later, or write various restaurants, hotels, and resorts reviews?

I have always been in between these two especially recently. I still have to finish around 15 books for my 2012 Reading Challenge while I need to continue writing and bring something fresh to my followers and visitors. To read or to write? That is the question.

Currently, I try my best to do both. Conceptualize something first then make a point to write a post in less than an hour. Writing takes shorter time than reading and since I am always with millions of ideas [unfortunately not so original and most often silly] I do it first. Then I read. Or if I have this Eureka moment, I’ll stop in between my reading and pour my heart out. I don’t know if what I am doing is going to be okay for the long run, but if it won’t, then at least I tried this strategy. Hopefully, I’ll find an efficient way how to juggle these.

My friends have more than once accused me of prattling too much, and if you, my dear readers, have stayed with me until this paragraph then I salute you. I know for a fact that some would definitely feel lulled after the first paragraphs, but if you made it here, and then I assume you absorbed my current dilemma. Having said it all, do you have any suggestion on how I can take the two? To manage my free time efficiently?

Or better, will you be kind to share how you can read and write during your leisure time? Which do you do first? Which is your priority? Do you have any technique with this?


67 thoughts on “Will you read or write during free time?

  1. I think that there is a rhythm to both and they inform and inspire the other. So pay attention to the time you give to each of them over two to three weeks and see where you end up.

    Now having said that I will let you know that I am done reading and reviewing books for the year. (I am also making gift giving recommends on books in several blog posts this month.) I am now reading for pleasure and will be rating any of the books I read from now until the end of the year on my goodreads account and on my amazon account as well. Plus I am participating in the National Novel Writing Month and doing some of the postaday writing opportunities here on WordPress. So for me the reading has slacked off and the writing has picked up. And by December I will slow down and do little of either.

    Great post!

    1. Then you are lucky you were done done reading and reviewing books for this year. I know that reading must be for pleasure and not for stressing challenge, so I still take my leisure time when I read while a small part of my brain is a bit focused to finish my reading challenge. 🙂

      How nice that you participate in writing a novel for only a month! I considered joining but thought of having it next time as I feel I am not yet prepared to make a big leap forward. I know my writing skill is not that phenomenal yet, but I’m on my way there.

      I will try to stay with my current strategy and see the trend after a few months. Thanks for the suggestion 😀

  2. Monica, as you know, both reading and writing are passions for me. These days I write first and if I have any excess time, I’ll read. As to tricks I use to keep people reading? There are a few effective ones. First, read your post back to yourself before posting…you’d be surprised at how that can catch fillers, redundancy and let you know when you’re too wordy. Second, find a way to break up your piece with interesting pictures or music that help convey your message. Hope this helped.

    1. Good suggestions. In my experience most writing also benefits from time. So I’ll write something, give it a couple of days and then look at it again before publishing. I actually enjoy the editing process, something I never used to do.

      1. You are also correct with that. Editing is something I do everyday as I work as an editor in a publishing company. It always makes me smile when I missed a comma or verb tense here and there, but it’s worth it. I am not a fan of scheduling posts; I write and I publish it right after I proofread it. I have this sort of excitement to see my writings published online. 🙂

    2. Hi Kitt, thanks for your tips in writing. I try to do just that and I think I am learning already. Sorry, but my first love will always be books so I read more than write. However, if something caught my interest, I write a title and outline in my head (or piece of paper if there’s one nearby) and start as soon as I have free time. Writing seems to take shorter time than reading that when I am captured with a wonderful idea, I write about it right away.

  3. I have this problem all the time. To read or to write? I guess there are plenty of factors, for my job I write all day but it’s mostly business stuff so I’m pretty burnt out typically so I tend to do a lot more reading than writing.

    One thing that helps me is to make quick notes…..like anyone I’m inspired when I read something, and I tend to jot it down in a notebook or make a quick note on my phone, even just a few words that will help me remember later what I want to explore in writing.

    1. Good thing to know I am not alone! I guess we are in a similar field of work where we continually write and edit (me) things like research articles (me). It is taxing, yes, but after a long day’s work, I sometimes find myself writing for my blog. Haha.

      Like you, I also write down notes if a perspective blog idea came to mind. I write in tissue paper if I can’t find post-its. When outside, I use the memo application in my phone and write keywords that might help me later to recall what I have jotted down.

  4. As I state in my “about” page: reading and writing–it’s finding the balance. I crave reading and I’m juggling three books right now: one on audio for the commute, one to refresh to teach the lesson, and one as my leisure. And three are awaiting in my library bag, let alone my TBR list. Not enough time!
    And you are added to the Book Boosters. Hope you enjoy exploring all the other BB sites.
    Happy Pages,

    1. Simply put. Thank you! It is finding the balance between the two even if one seems heavier than the other. 🙂 I love reading more, but writing takes shorter time. So yes, I must find a balance. 😀

      Thanks for adding me to the BB. I have noticed that I have made acquaintance to some already and I am happy to know the rest.

      Let’s continue reading and writing stuffs,

  5. I am so glad I don’t have to choose. I do both. Odd that I just WordPressed on the writing portion yesterday (http://alayeringofperception.wordpress.com/2012/11/10/keeping-up-with-ideas/). Your daily life informs what you write and what influences what you read. Stay involved. Observe. Listen with everything in you. I enjoy your style; it’s informed and upbeat, but also involves the reader. I’m new to blogging so I’m learning the immediacy. The writing and reading, been doing that for years.

    1. I have read your post and like you, I have these millions of ideas that when I think about them all, I found myself grasping for something to write.

      I also do both – reading and writing. Though I prefer the printed words than writing them, I’ve recently been charmed by the art of writing so I started this blog. We can actually do both, but the consistencies might varied. As I have mentioned in the post, what about those whose lifestyles are pretty toxic? If you have an hour of free time every day, will you read or write? There lies the need to choose.

      Thank you for your warm words and those thoughts regarding my writing inspire me to continue what I have started. I am also new here, but hopefully I’ll get the hang of it soon 🙂

  6. Reading can be done during times when you cannot write – eating or something. I tend to read while eating especially that I read on my kindle so I just need one hand to press the buttons. Writing is more of a “when i feel like it” sort of thing

    1. Why is that I expect this reply from you? Hmm. Lucky you have a kindle which you can bring anywhere unlike hardbound books that make me look like a hunchback when I carry them! I am still for the printed words though I also read using an Ebook reader in my smartphone. I am blessed to have a phone with bigger screen compared to others that my friends sometimes tease me of always carrying a “tab”. Anyway, I guess this can be a good topic for a next post, eh?

      “Writing is more of a “when i feel like it” sort of thing.” – I love this. I can’t definitely say more.

  7. This is a common problem for me, haha. Writing can be exhaustive, especially if I am all riled up, thoughts running away, my fingers barely keeping up. But it is essential for me to create and send out to the world the words and ideas breeding in my head. They may be great or terrible, but, the point is I need to give birth to them. Haha!

    Reading for me is a form of privacy and provocation, maybe that is why I do not write book reviews, haha. But I digress. Reading fuels my writing. It’s a recluse from this world.

    So they go together. They could not be apart. I try my best to balance both, as they are both time consuming and as you said, we have day jobs. 🙂 At my free time, I usually spend my days reading and my nights writing.

    1. I wonder if you got exhausted writing this comment? 🙂 You are right, Maix. Whenever I feel like a real diplomat in the making (does that makes sense?) I write about politics and international affairs and sometimes, researching about them makes me ill. Too many thoughts swarming in my head that I feel about to drown. Sometimes I succeeded swimming to get out of that (not in reality; I can’t swim) and brought a post fresh from the oven. When I did not, you know now what happened.

      I admit I made book reviews, but most were school requirements. I even made a 100-page novel analysis! But for leisure, I also don’t make book reviews. Instead, I just rank them and say what I feel about the story, just like the way we do in Goodreads.

      1. Haha, that is probably something I could not tackle in depth – politics! Si hurrah to you who does it well! 🙂

        Yes, book reviews. Haha. Jae is very patient with that huh? Her first attempt will be one of many, I am sure! So let’s wait for her. Hahaha! Yes, rating the book and saying a little something should be enough for us.

  8. From reading the comments above, I thought of giving a sensible contribution to this discussion; however, I could not come up with one, so I’ll just respond to your question with a yet more vague approach—both. I know I didn’t make sense! 😀

      1. Aha, am I being summoned here? Okay, then.

        Reading is more like I’m-bored-and-I-don’t-want-to-do-anything-else-but-bury-my-head-in-a-book. I write only when there’s something in mind that I wish to share or put into writing. It’s easier that way when you’re not pressured into doing something half-hearted.

        Does this satisfy your follow-up question? Haha!

  9. Awesome topic, yes its true to find time to read, but by making a book club with friends or people. it helps to motivate you to read more. It has done wonders 4 me 🙂

  10. Reading comes first in my day, because I read in bed every morning. My husband brings me tea and I read. Then I write Morning Pages before I get up. My day progresses as days do, trying to write as much as possible, including blogging and Twitter, then in the evening I might read a little more. At bedtime, I always read before I settle down to sleep. So I suppose, reading is first and last in my life and writing tries to fill the middle.
    But the one informs the other. They are, as you say, inseparable.

  11. As a writer, reading is a must. In order to learn the art of writing, you must know Grammer and punctuation, of course and how to structure a sentence properly as well, but as any apprentice knows, you must also learn from those who have already mastered the techniques needed to hone a great story; therefore you must read and read extensively.
    Not hard for me since I love to read, and now with the kindle I can have my reading at my fingertips no matter where I am! I love this.
    Thank you for stopping by my blog at http://storybookster.wordpress.com. I have just started putting reviews of books that I enjoyed up there. There will be quite a number there soon – I’ve reviewed quite a few books on Amazon. When you read, if the book is listed on Amazon, please do the author a favor and review and rate it. Feedback is invaluable to us.
    I don’t have a book out yet, I’m currently editing my book which will be entitled Legacy of the Medallion. I hope to have it out next year.

  12. As someone who reads and edits other people’s writing for a living, I don’t have as much time as I’d like to read all the books on my ever-growing list. I’ve found that carrying a book (or Nook or Kindle) with me increases my reading time–think of how often you’ve sat in the car waiting for your friend/spouse/child to “just run in” to a store, or you’ve sat at a drive-through during the lunch rush, or you’ve arrived early for an appointment–and take advantage of all those little opportunities. You can do the same thing with writing: carry a notebook with you, or heck, grab a piece of scrap paper in your car and scribble away! If I wait for the “perfect opportunity,” I lose valuable reading and writing time. Just do it, as the commercial urges.

  13. I share your dilemma! For me I am finding I need to write a small amount (15 minutes) every day to keep that bit of my brain from seizing up, and lately reading has fallen off because of an eye operation, Normally I read voraciously!
    I do plan what I am going to write in my head first, often creating many of the phrases and the structure mentally before committing to keyboard. And I carry a notebook for ideas.
    At present I am trying NaNoWriMo for the first time so am doing much more writing. And I prefer to read when commuting or on lunch breaks because I don’t like to be interrupted when writing.
    If you feel balanced in how you spend your time then you doing it right; if not, change it. And the balance will fluctuate anyway.
    But enjoy whichever you do!

  14. If I’m very tired I select the “reading” option. But I feel “writing” is more rewarding. “Writing” is heavily dependent on “reading”. But “reading” can stand independently!!

    1. Hi there and thank you for leaving a comment. Your response is very much correct that I want to include it in this post! Reading feeds the mind to write, but writing makes us feel rewarded.

      I think you are too smart for your blog name the bookofstupidity 🙂

  15. Good question, I usually brainstorm for a review and then frantically type for an hour and then post, thus leaving the rest of the time for a good read. Anything that isn’t a book review I let come naturally. I only write things that occur to me when I get that certain mood that means I have to write it there and then, but of course then I have no paper handy so things get intense. Sometimes though it may be easier to take a whole evening to do one or the other and interchange each day.

    1. Apologies for the late response, Steve! I have read some of the advice and suggestions here and I can only nod to them. You guys have your own way to manage your time between reading and writing.

      I think what you are doing is good. Write first since it only takes an hour or two then devote the rest of the time in reading. Sometimes I feel inspired to write while I was reading so I have to highlight certain lines to remember. How do things get intense if there is no paper handy when you got that eureka moment? 🙂

      On another note, I am ten books away from my reading challenge! I am afraid I won’t be reading much these days as I am getting busy with my new endeavor.

      1. Strangely these days I spend more time checking out what you fine bloggers are upto than writing which is a strange situation but nice at the same time. I’m impressed that you are so close to hitting your target, you give me more inspiration to crack my own.

  16. A very difficult question. Personally I think I read too much at the moment and should write more but I also believe in following where pleasure takes us, especially in free time, and my writing is better when it comes from a place of genuine inspiration and not from ‘should’ – sorry, I don’t have much advice to give – only to offer you the consolation of knowing you’re not the only one having to deal with this dilemma!

    1. I am happy to know that I have a lot of people who I can share this dilemma. At first I thought myself strange for dealing with a problem such as this, but I was surprised to see people liking and responding to this post.

      You have given us something that must not be forgotten when reading and writing – pleasure. We must not forget that it is all about the pleasure our hobby brings us, that no matter how long it took for someone to finish a novel or a writing, he will smile at the end of the day with contentment and happiness.

  17. How I manage between reading and writing really depends on the day or my schedule that week. It takes me far too long to write a blog so depending on the time that I have I will usually try to blog first especially if I am doing a daily blog challenge because it has to get done. If I knows schedule will be super busy I will sometimes write in advance and then schedule them to post when I am super busy… Other times I read first because that’s all I have time to do. I always try to have the book I am reading in my bag with me so I can break it out if someone is running late for our meeting or the wait at the Drs. office is a tad long. I don’t know how truly effective it is but t works for me!

    1. Thank you for giving such informative advice, Terribell! I joined a daily blog challenge last month and I noticed that the number of books read I had decreases because I also did write the blog posts first. I also forgot to mention in the post that during those times that I have anticipated a meeting or weekend escapade, I will write a post in advance if I have time and schedule it. I also bring books or ebooks with me to pass the time while waiting and I can say that everything that you have mentioned are effective!

  18. I think for me it is a toss-up. Since a child, I’ve always had gravings for things I like, so .. when the craving is strongest for reading, I read and so on. (There is always the time when I’m feeling too old to do either and I crave plopping in front of the tv, feet up and hit the remote.)

    1. Thanks for bringing this up as I think I forgot to include this. You are correct that it depends on what you are feeling at the moment – one can be more productive when he/she is in the mood to do that,

      Too bad I don’t have time to watch TV though.

  19. I face this dilemma all the time – to read or to write? That is the question. I also have another problem. I take too long to read. Unlike you, I am generally a slow reader, so a regular old novel will take me a month. This frustrates me because it takes me so long to move on to the next book, so I get a bit restless in that way. I generally write outside of bed and read in bed – that’s my rule unless inspiration really hits me in bed 🙂 Also, if I have any appointments or “lag time” during the day where I know I’ll have nothing to do for a while, I bring a book.
    P.S. Love your last quote. So true!

    1. I feel for your Christie! I also take long to read sometimes, especially in reading classics. If I may suggest, try reading novels of your interest. Just some light novels so you’ll find it easy to read and understand. After you finish a book, you’ll feel that certain pull to pick up another one and from there you will be able to read more.

      I sometimes read and write in bed and I think they are two of the reasons I have insomnia.. My bed doesn’t serve the purpose for sleeping.

      You have a good strategy of bringing a book with you while waiting for an appointment. I do that too though recently I find it a bit heavy on my bag so I use my ereader.

      Thanks for appreicating the last quote! 😀

  20. For me, I find it a good use of my time to write when my mind is fresh, and read when I’m not necessarily sharp enough to write anymore for the day. This usually means that I write earlier in the day, and read later in the day.

    Best of luck in finding your own balance!

  21. If I am blessed with free time I write first and read second. Other than writing being my passion, I also have so little time in which to put all my thoughts and ideas onto paper (or a computer screen) so I feel pulled to write rather than read. When I feel that my writing may be overworked and I can tell my word choice is lacking for it, I know I need to step away for a moment. Then I figure a little reading break is best. In between book projects I will usually read five to ten books (about a two to three week writing break) before I write more, even though, usually, I feel that pull again.
    Loved this post! I’m looking forward to reading more

  22. There is no wrong or right answer. I suggest you do what comes to you naturally. I notice at times I go through spurts where I can write a bunch. Other times, I don’t feel like writing, so I read a lot. But one thing I try to do is always write my ideas down even if I dont feel like writing.

  23. It’s been said so many times that you cant’ write without reading and if you like to write you have to like to read. I think that readers don’t have to be writers. Some people don’t feel the need to put their musings on paper (or I guess a Microsoft Word Document) but I think it’s not really a huge decision–just do what you want to do at that moment. It’s *your* free time, right? 🙂

  24. So its been a bit since you wrote this.. but had to say thanks for writing it!
    I have been trying to work more at blogging this year since I love to write and never make time for it.
    I think the difference is that with reading you can fall into it at any moment in time. You are absorbing instead of giving. Writing I believe is ultimatley best in those moments you just feel struck with inspiration. Its good to make yourself sit down and just write.for practice but maybe its just a completely different thing!

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