I love to read, but for more than a couple of years, I simply haven't had the time. Or, more to the point, I haven't given myself the time.
I used to ride the bus to work a couple of times a week. It was a 90-minute trip with one transfer, which would be made brutal over the winter months, especially if I somehow missed my connection and had to stand outside, in front of Parliament Hill, for an additional half hour.
But I would take comfort in this long journey by the ability to lose myself in a novel. I could shut out the other passengers and their sometimes mundane conversations in the prose and dialogues of some brilliant writers.
They say that the best thing a writer can do to improve his or her craft, besides writing, is to read. A lot.
For a couple of years, since I purchased a second vehicle and have stopped taking public transit, I have done a lot of writing but very little reading.
My evening routine, from Sunday to Thursday, was to sup with my family, clean, see to it that the kids either got their homework out of the way or did some reading of their own, and then get them ready for bed.
I would then make my way to my computer, where I would write for a couple of hours, mostly on my blogs, occasionally on the sequel to my novel. And, by the time I was done, I would have a few minutes to check social media before I went to bed.
I would have neither the time nor the energy to read.
I miss books. I miss losing myself in a well-written narrative, in following a good story line. I used to make a reading list at the end of the year—I used to seek recommendations from my readers—and then spend the next year getting through it. Last year, I might have completed one novel.
Now that my kids are older and have developed routines of their own, and because they now go to bed at a later hour, I have started writing my blog posts earlier, completing them on Sunday afternoons or shortly after dinner, sometimes writing more than two posts at a time. My goal is to be finished writing a post by 10 at the latest, so that I can give myself sometime to crawl into bed with a book, and wind down with someone else's words.
If I don't manage to finish (or start) a blog post by 10 pm, I will do what I did with this post: wake up at 5:30 the next morning to get 'er done. Because reading is important to me. And I also believe that having my face in front of a bright computer screen, late in the evening, is having a negative effect on my ability to sleep.
So I welcome this new routine. I welcome back the authors I have missed so much.