We all know we “should” read, that there’s some ambiguous benefit to come from it. But not knowing what that benefit is makes it easy to put off. To rationalize away.
- There are BENEFITS to reading:
- Improved memory
- Improved creative problem solving
- Improved tranquility
- More knowledge
- Bigger vocabulary
- Stress reduction
- Free or very inexpensive entertainment
- Improved imagination
- And the big one for writers: Provides a must-have grasp of the craft of writing. (You’re a writer, aren’t you? Don’t you want to study your craft like every other profession does, by looking at what other people do? Honestly, if you call yourself a writer and you don’t read at least two good books a year, I don’t know what you’re doing with your life.)
- Reading is NOT HARD:
- Hear me out. It might seem like a big, boring task that’s going to take a lot of time. The truth is, it’s not that hard, or long, or boring. You choose to read as much or as long as you like. Neither do you have to finish a book if you don’t like it. Try this: Get a book and set a timer for 5 minutes, then read. That’s doable, right? Congratulations! You just read something. Now repeat until you finish a book.
- Reading RESTORES your belief in writing.
- For a long time I languished as a writer and felt like I just didn’t have enough gas to write what my stories needed. I had begun to get cynical and started asking myself why anyone would ever read my writing when they’re so busy all the time. I also started asking why anyone needed to read my story. Aren’t there enough books out there that people can pick up? Does the world really need my story?
- I had gotten out of touch with what it feels like to be a reader. When I picked up reading in seriousness, I remembered what it was like to get lost in a book, what a reader feels when they just have to turn the page, stay up late to finish an exciting story, or strain against spoiling the ending for their friends. Once I remembered what that was like, I remembered there are millions upon millions of people in this world who LOVE to read, who are clamoring for stories. And that yes, the world does need my story. (More on this in my next post.) Reading restored my belief that my writing can make a difference.
Feel free to share what you’re reading in comments. If you need extra motivation or want to connect with a community of readers, check out the site www.goodreads.com. It’s like Facebook for readers.