I got an e mail from a writer I knew back when we were both starting out. These days he writes as much non-fiction as fiction. he tells me that non-fic is in about the same shape as fic these days. Grim. At least in the slots he works.
I asked him if he still believed it was detrimental to his work process to read fiction. He replied that other than short stories and novelettes (he started out in science fiction) he hasn't read much fiction in the twenty-five years since we've communicated.
I'm a firm believer in the whatever works process. If you can only do your best work sitting inside a refrigerator wearing a snowsuit, go to it. There's no right or wrong when you're talking about stirring your muse.
But as I said to him then and said to him again, it's difficult to imagine a day passing when I don't read for at least two or three hour. That's my process. Now I don't always read a lot of genre. Right now for instance I'm going through a small stack of Larry McMurtry novels set in the Hwood of the eighties. Fine stuff. The writing's so good I get energy from it. It's so good it makes me want to be better with my own work.
Whatever works. Do any of you feel that reading fiction inhibits your own writing?