I read. A lot. I keep lists of virtually everything I read, whether it is books or short fiction, articles, or blog posts. Even stories that I critique for other writers. And by applying a simply model to all of these things that I read, I have an estimate of how much I read in one week. The estimate:
145,000 – 180,000 words per week.
Here is the model I used to produce this estimate:
Golden Age reading: 50,000 words Book review reading: 50,000 - 75,000 words Other reading: 25,000 - 30,000 words Stories for critique: 5,000 words Blog posts: 15,000 - 25,000 words ============================================== Total 145,000 - 180,000 words
That’s right, the grand total probably falls between 145-180K words each week. If we assume the average novel is around 90K words, we are talking 1-1/2 to 2 novels worth of reading each and every week. Spread that out over a year and you are looking at between 7.5 – 9.3 million words each and every year. That “other reading” section includes short fiction I read for fun, other books I read, as well as magazine articles.
There are probably people who read a heck of a lot more than that, but I have to say, given the fact that I have a full time job, 2 little kids, as well as my blogging and writing, I’m pretty impressed by how much I do end up reading.
How do I do it? Well… I do my Golden Age reading on my lunch hour. And I usually have a solid block of time (at least an hour) to read before I go to sleep at night. In between, I read whenever I am not doing anything else. For instance, we had a fire drill at work today. For this drill, we had to evacuate the building and walk to a park down the block, where we waited for an “all clear.” I read during that entire time. Meetings invariable start late in my office. I always arrive on time and can fit in 5-10 minutes of reading before the meeting actually gets started. If I have to stand in line, I am usually reading. Waiting for something in the microwave: reading. You get the idea. I sacrifice mental quiet time for reading.
And yet, despite all of this reading, I always feel as if I am behind in my reading. It’s a little depressing.
I will say one thing: I wish I could write as much in a week as I read in week.
How much reading do you get done in one week?