I subscribe to the New Yorker magazine, to the SUN magazine, and to Poets & Writers magazine. Plenty to read and to learn from. I do not read all at all but skim through, choose an article with content that interests me; happen upon a short story by chance; and then put it away. In fact, I throw out old magazines.
Am I reading the right material? Am I choosing wisely? Who knows? One weekend I read a magazine from beginning to end and indulge the material. It may show up in my own writing some way or other and I’m cool with that. I chose to read that exact material by chance, because I had time and so be it.
Other times, I’m weeks behind with my reading of magazines, because I’m reading novels and watching movies and they enter my consciousness and hide, until one day, they lift their head and make their way into my writing. I’m cool with that, too.
Do I ever find I choose deliberately what to read? Yes. For instance, the bloggers I have chosen to follow will feed me with useful material. Thank you! Do I ever find I happen upon just the right material? Yes. For instance, when I go to the bookstore, I may happen upon just the right book to read right now!
The life of a writer (and perhaps of anybody) is a life between choice and chance. And as with push and pull, give and take, back and forth, the concept of choice and chance shows us that opposites are intimately connected in order to keep a sense of balance. Instead of feeling split, let them both rule, in turn, without order, and stay calm.