I've often felt that way, too, but I don't think I could stop reading when I'm writing. And, in which stage of writing would I not be reading? The two - reading and writing - just belong together. Every writer is unique in how he or she approaches the books he or she is writing. Some of us outline while others don't. Of those of us who do, the way we do it differs greatly.
My work-in-progress is a YA, Asian-American fantasy series. As I worked on the first draft of the first book, I read Catching Fire and Insurgent, among other books. I'd read The Hunger Games and Divergent and I already wanted to find out what happens in each series so I was going to read Catching Fire and Insurgent, anyway, but I figured reading them as I was writing the first draft of Sage Of Heaven would help put me into a YA mindset. But, did they just put me into a YA mindset or was I influenced by them? I already had an idea of where the second and following books were going in Sage but I made a drastic decision as I came closer to finishing my draft. The change - switching the series' protagonist from one of the male characters to one of the female characters - makes the story more complex and interesting (for reasons other than the gender change) but, how much, subconsciously, was I influenced to do that because the protags in Catching Fire and Insurgent are girls?
In the last two years of writing Back Kicks And Broken Promises (which took almost ten years to write), I'd met, was taking workshops led by and read books by Matt de le Peña. Taking a pass at some of the passages in my debut novel, and at the risk of sound self-congratulatory, I think there are some parts that have a similar flow and tone as some of Matt's books. If you read Back Kicks and Matt's books - Ball Don't Lie, Mexican WhiteBoy, We Were Here - the subject matter is similarly themed. I was drawn to Matt's books for two reasons: he was the instructor of the first fiction class I took so I wanted to see if I'd like his work AND his books, with a male protagonist who's trying to sort out his place in this world, validated my own. Matt's stories come to us through a Mexican-American/Latino eye while mine are through an Asian-American lens.
I suspect the author who was interviewed in the podcast avoids reading other novels while writing either during the first draft/creation stage of her novels or until she submits a completed manuscript to her editor, agent or publisher. At that point, the work is out of her hands (although is a book, even after being published, ever out of a writer's head?) so she may have the time and intellectual and emotional freedom to sink into someone else's piece of fiction.
As I mentioned earlier, I'm reading Inheritance, the concluding volume in Christopher Paolini's series that started with Eragon. I bought it in 2011, when it came out, but at 800-plus pages, for me, it's an exercise in perseverance to finish it. I want to know how the series concludes so I will finish it but I'm extra motivated to finish it now because it's a fantasy story with dragons and wizards and Sage Of Heaven is also a fantasy story. The vehicles through which their stories are told are very different but they're in the same genre so Inheritance, while hopefully being entertaining, may offer me some insight into fantasy writing.
So, what is best? Or, is this another one of those things that's really different for every writer; one way working for some, another way working for others, and neither working for the rest? Should we, writers, read while we're creating and, if so, should we read in the genre of what we're writing in or a different one?