I realize that part of the reason why I've been having trouble writing is because I'm not reading.
I am not reading because (1) I am lazy, and more importantly (2) I have been struggling with the mountains of readings I should be doing— whether that be for my dissertation, neglected manuscripts, or even personal growth.
Last week, I finally kicked myself into gear and picked up Black Feminist Thought, by Patricia Hill Collins. The book is a classic (and foundation) when thinking about race, racism, intersectionality, and structural inequities by centering on the experiences of Black women. I've read sections of it prior to but this is the first time I'm reading it beginning to end.
One of the things that strikes me about the book is how relatable and accessible the reading is. Despite it covering a wealth of theories, frameworks, and concepts, it is an "easy" read, where easy is not about the complexity of topics, but rather about the clearness in delivery. It's the type of writing that is digestible and thought-provoking and also something I don't feel scared to pick up or confused after I finish a sentence. More often than not, I find myself taking notes of sentences I like and passages I know I will quote later.
So yes, for better writing, I need to be reading, and maybe what will help is choosing books like these so that the mountain doesn't seem like such an impasse.
In a year, I read somewhere around 100-200 books. I don't have a TV and I use reading as a form of escape, and I especially like reading outside of academia. It also helps with improving my writing :)
When I'm trying to concentrate, I like having background music that's super dramatic. For some reason, instrumental music is instrumental (pun!) in helping me concentrate. Most of the songs are Korean-drama OSTs (original sound tracks), w/ a few classical music scores in the mix!
I don't categorize anything other than my "random round-ups" because it takes too much work (insert laughing emoji).