There was this discussion on Goodreads today about whether people find it possible to read other books while writing. I pounced on it, thinking it was a fascinating topic and that I might even have so much to say about it, I would write a whole blog post.
Later, after some reflection, I decided that whatever reading is to writing, it's not different from having other tasks and responsibilities, spending time with friends and family, or going on holiday. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it's disruptive, and you can't usually tell which in advance. I like the total immersion of my little writing retreats, during which I don't read, exercise, talk to other humans, eat or sleep, but I've discovered I can keep that up for about 9-10 days before I crack.
The two things I've found I should consistently avoid reading before I get my writing done for the day are: 1) the news; 2) blog posts. Unfortunately, if I misguidedly allow myself to glance at either of these two forms of literature, the day just flies by and there I am at the end of it, still Putting the Internet to Rights. Have you ever noticed that however much you Put the Internet to Rights, it never gets any better? 'Nuff said.