When You’re Not Writing, This Has To Be A Priority

Photo from Austin Kleon

One of my favorite creative thinkers/teachers is Austin Kleon. He was just a normal guy who started doing a really great form of newspaper blackout poems. That transitioned into writing more about creativity.

He was on the Other People Podcast with Brad Listi and mentioned this quote:

“If you don’t have time to read……you don’t have time to write.” — Stephen King

He mentioned in the interview that he had 3 desks that he works from, and his latest one is a reading desk.

Yes, that’s right. A READING DESK.

Just a place designated for reading. You don’t need a desk per se–a couch or chair or a certain spot will do.

But what that does mean is that reading is a priority for Austin. Is it for you?

And I’m not talking about listicles (though there’s nothing wrong with that…). It’s just that you should be reading the things you want to write.

So if you’re a poet, read some poetry.

If you want to write about politics, read about politics. And really read it.

Recall your inner English professor and do some close-reading on that stuff.

To fill up again. To get some new ideas. To understand craft and development and how the form is changing.

On a recent vacation, I read 2 books and dove into a third. I didn’t write a word on any of my personal projects, but I came back with several ideas, and things to think about how to structure my next books.

So while I was reading…I was involved in the writing process. The two work together, that’s why it’s important.

By the way, here’s my reading list.


Josh Spilker is a writer and marketer in Nashville, TN. Get one his books for free.