There's always the tension there. Should you tear yourself away from your manuscript to do a little research or should you just continue writing? The answer of course, is yes.
I recently read a blog post about the Twilight series, which I have openly admitted, I feel ambivalently about. But, for whatever reason, it got me thinking. I only own the middle two books, but I re-read them anyway (mostly because I only really like Jacob's character).
Now that I write almost daily, and think about writing constantly, I can't help but think about a given author's craft. This means, I have to give the series a little more credit, because Meyer's ability to sink into the narrator's mind as well as her descriptive power is fantastic. It helped me with rewriting several important scenes in my second book, Lovers and Rivals.
The moral of the story is, I have to get a library card, and you do too. When you have a spare moment you should read. Writers, especially, need to read. This is probably more true for us than any other group, and yet, I think many of us are horrible at keeping up with our reading lists. It's much more convenient to put the television on while we're cooking or cleaning up than it is to try to read a book and do the same activities.
But... reading is better than television.
It's so much more satisfying to read something and create the image of the people and places in your mind than it is to have it spoon fed to you on a screen. And, if the author isn't doing their job, then you won't be able to see the leaves crunching in between the cobble stones in the courtyard. You won't feel the anguish of the leading man as he is aced out by his best friend. It won't be there. Instead you will experience some fuzzy haze of a scene. In that case, television would be better.
But of course, that is why we writers must read, to improve our craft, so that every time someone is reading our books for fun - just for fun - they see the images we see when the story was first revealed.
So, thanks Stephenie, for helping me to make this book better. I'd buy you a beer, but I don't think you'd drink it. Maybe we can settle on an iced herbal tea. My vote is a blend of hibiscus and citrus - something that coats your throat and leaves a fresh aftertaste reminding you of hipster cafes and summer after a heavy rain. You get the picture. ;-)