How Reading Fiction Boosts Creativity
Last Thursday, I was honored to write a guest post for Jeff Goins. Jeff is also a writer in Nashville, and he has one of the best writing blogs on the planet. He cranks out great stuff everyday, so I highly recommend following him on his blog or Twitter.
My post on was about how reading fiction is a must for writers. I’ll put an opening excerpt for you to read here, but please check out the rest of the post on his blog if you’re interested.
I used to be a nonfiction snob. You might know the type.
A typical book conversation might go something like this:
Person: “Hey Robert. What are you reading these days?
Me: “Only the hottest nonfiction book on the market. It’s called Seven Ways to Overcome Fear By Following These 11 Tips In One Easy-To-Learn Process. You’re reading that too, right?”
Person: “Uh, no. Not familiar with that one. I’m reading To Kill A Mockingbird.”
Me: “Yeah, I don’t read much fiction. I’d rather read about real life.”
Person: “Oh, To Kill A Mockingbird is pretty realistic. You can actually learn a lot from it.”
Me: “Yeah, nice story. But that’s all it is — a story. I need something more practical. I like to read books I can learn and grow from.”
Person: “Hey, is that a parrot?” [Quickly walks away.]
Wow. Was I ever an idiot. Some of you might be nonfiction snobs like I used to be. Apparently, it’s a trend.
The sad part? I’m a writer. Meaning I write for a living. Meaning I’m paid to be creative. How in the world could I justify not reading fiction?
Working in a creative field and only reading nonfiction is like training for a marathon by doing pushups and curls. You’ve got to work out the creative part of your brain.
It’s not that nonfiction can’t do that; it’s just that fiction does a better job of it. Here’s why: