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Can you read AND write?

I don't know about other folks, but when I'm in writing mode, I find it very hard to get stuck into a good book.  The same goes for when I'm reading.  I find it almost impossible to focus on a WiP if I'm engrossed in someone else's novel.

It's probably one of those left brain/right brain things.  Either that or I'm just not that bright, which is equally possible.

How about you?

Can you read AND write, or do you find it has to be one or the other?

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( 75 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jul. 21st, 2010 05:52 pm (UTC)
You are certainly not the only writer with this problem!

I used to be incapable of reading and writing at the same time. Since I've started traveling for business, it's gotten better, but if I'm not careful, what I'm reading will influence what I'm writing.

It's harder these days to separate the two, especially because I have so many friends writing books I want to read, so I am trying to cultivate the dual skill.

Jul. 21st, 2010 06:03 pm (UTC)
'...but if I'm not careful, what I'm reading will influence what I'm writing.'

Lol, that happens to me too, and also whatever's on the telly :)
Jul. 21st, 2010 05:58 pm (UTC)
I tend to the similar experience. When I'm reading a lot, I find it hard to do a lot of writing, and when I'm making good progress with writing, it takes a lot to get out of my own head, and into a book. I suspect it has much to do with the fact that I only have a limited amount of time to spend on either, due to the day job and family life.
Jul. 21st, 2010 06:04 pm (UTC)
I've been vaguely aware of it in the past, but it really hit home with me today. The end result for me is that there'll be no more reading for pleasure for a while :)
(no subject) - temporus - Jul. 21st, 2010 06:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jul. 21st, 2010 07:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 21st, 2010 06:00 pm (UTC)
Six of one, half a dozen of the other. It depends on what I'm writing and/or reading.
Jul. 21st, 2010 06:05 pm (UTC)
I can do Sudoku puzzles at the same time, but not reading and writing.
(no subject) - snapes_angel - Jul. 21st, 2010 06:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 21st, 2010 06:05 pm (UTC)
I can do both, but right now I'm having difficulty doing either. Of course, that probably has something to do with all of my cleaning out of the basement after we discovered we had mice.
Jul. 21st, 2010 06:06 pm (UTC)
Eek! We had them a few years back. I recommend claymore mines ;)
(no subject) - karen_w_newton - Jul. 22nd, 2010 12:52 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jul. 22nd, 2010 12:11 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - msstacy13 - Jul. 21st, 2010 06:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jul. 21st, 2010 07:32 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 21st, 2010 06:15 pm (UTC)
Hmm, good question! I think I can do both. But I'm sort of sporadic and scatter brained. Just as I like to have multiple things to work on at one time, I like to have multiple books to be reading as well. I like to have lots of things to jump back and forth with. In fact, right now on my computer I have one freelance non-fiction article half written, my novel edits pulled up and an open book sitting beside me.
Jul. 21st, 2010 07:33 pm (UTC)
Jul. 21st, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC)
It's hard for me to answer this because I know that reading often sparks me to want to write. But I do think that when I'm NOT in writing mode, I read more. I'm just not sure if vice-versa holds true for me.

But I can't remember the last time I read anything for pleasure; lately it is all work related. I think the left brain/right brain theory is probably true though.
Jul. 21st, 2010 07:34 pm (UTC)
I thinkl I'll make some notes about my reading and writing, then see if there's a pattern.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 21st, 2010 06:55 pm (UTC)
Me too! I can't seem to read OR write if the TV is on. Something about audio-words mixing with print-words...Bleh! Makes my brain hurt.
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jul. 21st, 2010 07:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - msstacy13 - Jul. 21st, 2010 06:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jul. 21st, 2010 07:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 21st, 2010 07:39 pm (UTC)
I do like to be busy with lots of things at once, but I've noticed that reading affects my writing if I do it during the day.
Jul. 21st, 2010 06:31 pm (UTC)
I can read three books at the same time and write on two WiPs. But I have been called strange before. And it doesn't make any of it go any faster.
Jul. 21st, 2010 07:40 pm (UTC)
I can't believe anyone would call you strange, Ellen. I can have several books on the go at once, and I've always got a bunch of WiPs in my head, but reading/writing throws me.
Jul. 21st, 2010 06:42 pm (UTC)
I read a lot of nonfiction, which does not interfere at all with my writing.

I read pretty widely outside of my genre, and that, as a rule, does not interfere with my writing, except at these times when I am feeling small, insignificant, and useless compared to my favorite authors.

Genre novels? Nope. Can't read them when I am writing.

I do read short SFF fiction though.
Jul. 21st, 2010 07:41 pm (UTC)
I wonder if it's the Genre novel. I've been listening to a lot of historical fiction lately, and I do like to get lost in that world.
Jul. 21st, 2010 06:44 pm (UTC)
I can read and write, although I find it easier, that is less distracting, to read non-fiction -- a biography, for instance.
Jul. 21st, 2010 07:37 pm (UTC)
It's funny, but non-fiction isn't a problem, even though I often get more involved in those books than novels.
Jul. 21st, 2010 06:47 pm (UTC)
I struggled with this a lot in the last year. For some reason, I couldn't do both. I guess I just felt guilty when I was reading and not writing. But then, I'd feel guilty for going to long without reading and I'd read 5 or so books in a week and do hardly any writing.

I don't know what's changed, but I'm now able to write during the day, read most evenings, and then sometimes, if the book is awesome, I'll wake up in the morning and finish it before I start writing.

Jul. 21st, 2010 07:37 pm (UTC)
I wonder if I should have specific reading times. That might sort it out :)
(no subject) - sandy_williams - Jul. 21st, 2010 07:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 21st, 2010 06:53 pm (UTC)
I'm always reading. I'm always writing. I suppose that means I do both! :)

I never thought about it before, but now that I am, I don't think I'd be as prolific a writer if I stopped reading. One feeds the other, I think. Hmmmm....
Jul. 21st, 2010 07:42 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm not suggesting writers shouldn't read at all, I just find it difficult if I'm deep inside a WiP :(
(no subject) - bogwitch64 - Jul. 21st, 2010 08:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jongibbs - Jul. 21st, 2010 10:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jul. 21st, 2010 06:57 pm (UTC)
I can walk and chew gum and the same time,
but I have to have the gum in my mouth
before I start walking.

If I'm just writing a story,
I can usually be reading something else,
but I have to put the book down when I type.

When I'm working on a novel,
the things I'm reading are supporting research for that novel.
Jul. 21st, 2010 07:42 pm (UTC)
According to my Wii fit, I have trouble just walking ;)
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 21st, 2010 07:46 pm (UTC)
I do a lot of story plotting when I'm drifting off to sleep. It's amazing how often the old sub-conscious provides me with a solution or great idea while I sleep.
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