Wednesday, August 5, 2009

8 Reasons To Read Fiction

When did you last read a novel, or a collection of short stories? There’s a good chance it was at least a few weeks ago: many of us lead busy lives and focus on reading books related to our career aspirations, if we read at all.

I studied English as an undergraduate, and I’m taking a creative writing post-graduate course now ... so you might think I’m a bit biased about the importance of reading fiction. But the truth is, getting into the habit of reading novels, short stories, even plays, can boost your work and your leisure time. Here’s how:

Work-Related Gains

1. More Creative Thinking
If you’re in advertising, blogging, copywriting, graphic design or a similar industry, you’ll know that a great idea is invaluable: it can be the factor that distinguishes a “meh” project from a “wow” project, regardless of the technical skill involved. Reading fiction gets you thinking creatively: reading classical literature can spark off ideas for an advertising metaphor, the structure of a blog post, or even a TV show (“Big Brother”, anyone?).

2. Being "Well Read"
You may think it's unfairly elitist or snobbish, but there is a tendency for people who are considered "well read" to be seen as intelligent and cultured. Depending on your industry, being able to chat casually with clients about recent prize-winning novels - or classic ones - could be instrumental in creating, or cementing, a great first impression.
For the other 6 reasons.

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"Simplicity of living, if deliberately chosen, implies a compassionate approach to life. It means that we are choosing to live our daily lives with some degree of conscious appreciation of the condition of the rest of the world." Duane Elgin

"Do what is good with your own hands, so that you might earn something to give to the needy." Ephesians 4:28