But no, I get it, really. You are busy. Work piles up. Dinner won’t cook itself. You’re knitting an umpteenth Doctor Who scarf for your bestest friend. Errands need to be run, the dog needs to be walked, the kids need to be driven to and from soccer practice or violin recital, and the spouse has been making noises about wanting to feel like a human being worthy of attention. Life happens. You can’t always commit to a book or three. But there are other ways to get your literary fix: we have the technology. Welcome to the twenty-first century, in which a book doesn’t have to be a codex to be enjoyed.
- Flash fiction! Fierce wars have been waged on the Wired about what this means, but the generally accepted definition of flash fiction is: A work of short prose fiction containing 1000 or fewer words. It is available for you to peruse both online and off.
- Microfiction! Following, perhaps, in the footsteps of Hemingway’s six-word story (“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”), the Internet gave birth to Twitterzines, wherein byte-sized morsels of fic are hosted on the social networking and microblogging service, Twitter.com, and max out at 140 characters. Best of all, they can be delivered directly to your phone. Some venues to start you out: @TweettheMeat @Thaumatrope @Nanoism @Outshine
- Audio books! For the days when you absolutely cannot stay still for ten or twenty minutes at a time, there is always audiofiction. Listen to a lovely work of literary genius as you jog, do the laundry, or make your morning commute. Check out your local library or book peddler for books on tape or books on CD. Search online for downloadable audio versions of your favorite read.
- Audio stories! Those of you who are possessed of so little time that you cannot possibly listen to an entire book be read aloud to you as you go about the minutiae of your daily life, fret not. High-quality podcasts of incredible genre fiction is available for your listening pleasure. Fancy a bit of fantasy? Visit PodCastle. For your daily dose of horror, take a peek at PseudoPod. And if science fiction is your game, take off in the EscapePod.
So go on, grab your library card, Web browser, ear buds, and check out, sign on, tune in. You’ll only be a better writer for it.
(And in the meantime, don’t you ever interrupt me while I’m reading a book.)