food for thought // why reading is so important for creators

Hey y’all!

Yet another week has passed, and I am still loving my crazy junior year. It is such a change from the last one, and a welcome one at that.

My dual enrollment U.S. History class started yesterday and part of the semester is a book review. I scrolled through the list that our professor gave and nerd alert for the most part, they all intrigued me. I love history, and especially American history. I finally decided on one. First Ladies of the Republic: Martha Washington, Abigail Adams, Dolley Madison, and the Creation of an Iconic American Role by Jeanne Abrams.

So far, I am really enjoying it and I would recommend if you’re into that kind of thing. 🙂

But this whole thing got me thinking. Real shocker, I know. I’ve always heard people say “if you’re a writer/musician, you need to read more books!” It’s like hearing “if you wanna do xyz, you need to do this to get there.” It makes sense, if you think about it.

In order to get to the places we want to be in life or achieve the goals and all that, we need to take the more real, first steps to get there. It’s just common sense.

Even so, how often do we as creators actually follow this advice?

I have been noticing lately in my writing (or lack thereof, *cough cough*) that I haven’t been as motivated by my words. I’ll explain what I mean. We’ve all had those glorious moments where we sit down to either our computer or instrument or whatever medium of art you fancy, and you just… create.

No effort is seeming to be necessary, just you and the very creativeness that is coursing through your veins. All the words are forming on the page, the notes are in the right place, the lines on the page are lining up well with the color palette.

It’s giving me chills, guys. It feels so good when that happens.

I suggest that this is caused by some form of creative rested-ness, almost like a full tank of gas. You were ready, and when you sat down to create, the ink flowed and new things were formed.

One of the many ways this can be reached (a creative full tank, I mean.) is by reading. Many would agree with me on this. I’m sure you have heard the saying “Garbage in, garbage out”. While this applies to many things other than a creator longing for quality material to create, it is very relevant to this idea.

If you are looking at your work, shaking your head and wondering why it isn’t coming out as well as you hoped, chances are you haven’t been caring for your Creativity.

there are other reasons too but we are talking about reading today so shh

It’s almost like a little brain battery in the back of your head. While it may last you a very long time, at some point it will die and your work will all be rubbish.

Ask me, for I should know. XD

There are a lot of things worse, so I’m not going to say it’s the worst thing ever… ;D but it is pretty close, man.

You feel just “meh” in general and you wanna create, but when you do it just turns out “meh” too. It almost feels like a waste of time because you spent a fair bit of time staring at your work wondering how to make it work. When it doesn’t turn out or make it half way through the process, it just feels gross.

Garbage in, garbage out.

Crappy literature, or lack of literature altogether, will do that to you. Poorly written novels and long periods of no reading are the bane of creators everywhere.

*stands on box, and clears throat*

In order to create things that you are proud of and make you happy as a creator, you must first read things that 1) recharge the Creativity battery and 2) stimulate your brain and grow your understanding of literature/how it affects us as creators.

*steps down* thank you.

I have been pushing myself to read more for these reasons. It is so disheartening when your work doesn’t feel right to you. I, as a writer and a musician, am tired of that.

This is why I am taking strides to overcome that. I will take the quality literature, thank you very much. No crap for me, thanks. I’m good.

Currently on my “to read” list: the first ladies book I mentioned at the top, Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte (it’s bugging me that I can’t do the dot dot thing on the e in Bronte), Macbeth by the brilliant Shakespeare, The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien which technically I’ve already started but hey, The Well of Ascension by Branden Sanderson (I have started this one too.), and the list will grow soon.

Words have always been something I’ve loved. Recently I’ve been reuniting myself with that love. It’s easy to drift away from reading without noticing, but when you come back to it… it’s like the knowledge is soaking into your brain, marinating your creativity until it’s ready to spill out onto the blank page.

I encourage you to plug back into classics. If you feel like a dry piece of used-up-brilliance, get some good word-juice in ya, kiddo.

that was a weird sentence I’m sorry

Garbage in, garbage out. Let’s get a-reading again, friends.

Now go forth, mis amigos and amigas, and smile. Your day is just beginning. Make the best of it. Don’t procrastinate. Work hard. Make me proud. 🙂

Love you all,

Madeleine 

6 thoughts on “food for thought // why reading is so important for creators

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