Robin Black: A Writer’s Confession on Not Reading
December 15, 2013 | 11:14 am
We often hear how writers have to be voracious readers to succeed at their craft.
A friend from Facebook recently put up a post about one author who has a confession – she spent about 15 years not reading any books.
Robin Black’s post on Beyond the Margins describes the years following college when other parts of life took over and reading wasn’t an option.
There’s some background to this, though I’ve only understood it recently. In college I wanted to be a writer. I thought I would be. But then something happened – I chickened out of even making the attempt. I was riddled with depression and phobias – a long story for another day – and gave up before giving it a real shot. And only now, more than a quarter century later, do I suspect that reading fiction became too painful for me, too much a reminder of what I had been too afraid to try.
Black had a book published in 2010 through Random House with another on the way in 2014.
Publishing books aside, I can definitely relate to Black’s lack of reading for many years. While I was in college, I had a full-time overnight job while going to school full-time. I also had an internship, played softball and even attempted a social life. I didn’t read anything unless I was assigned the book — maybe.
When I started working as a sports reporter, people would mention different books to me about athletes or sports teams. Nope, never read them. And the looks I received from these people were mostly of disgust.
How can you not read these books? You’re a sports journalist!!!
I just didn’t have the time. When I wasn’t running around taking of work and life, I read articles of sports writers I admired. I just didn’t have time to sit down and read full-length novels.
I remember even saying to myself at one point, ‘my goal this year is to read one book a month.’
Life got a little less crazy over the last several years, and I certainly read much more. This year, I’ve read more than 35 books with a mixture of fiction and non-fiction, probably one of the heaviest reading years for me.
The point is people shouldn’t feel ashamed if they don’t read as often as they would like. There are other things that get in the way. I’m glad Robin Black wrote this post because it certainly meant something to me.