It's rare to find a how-to-write book or blog that doesn't have this advice: "Read. Voraciously. In all genres, especially your genre of choice, books both good and bad. You won't develop as a Writer unless you are a Reader."
I'd like to spend more time reading fiction. It seems like a less paralyzing way of gaining know-how than the how-to-books (which I think tap straight into my critical side). I'm never more inspired to write than when I read, and my memories of the times I wanted to write most come from when I volunteered in libraries and was surrounded by book covers.
Nowadays, though, I come home from work, play with my dog a few minutes, and head for the computer to write. I can usually come up with six or seven hundred words before I bog down (can't wait until I'm far enough into my novel to know where I'm going), then I give in and pull up Google to search for solutions to whatever problem I perceive is blocking me. Usually I spend hours getting caught in the web and never find whatever nugget I'm searching for. Every so often, I'll come across that bit of reading advice and say, "Yeah, that'll happen. It's hard enough to find time to write." On the other hand, if I could manage my time better, I'd probably find the time to read.
My question is, how do I find a good balance between reading and writing? I'm often reluctant to pull away from the computer when I feel the writing is becoming a grind because I don't want to teach myself to abandon the project. (I know how to do that well enough already.) I suspect even if I did use my time more effectively, I'd keep churning away at my project until the day ran out. Not quite the main question, but I suspect tangent to it, is there a guideline for when to stop writing to make time for other ways to develop my skills?