quote on reading

What are you reading? – Build Creative Confidence Day 7

For the past week I have been talking about ways to build your creative confidence and have offered a series of baby steps to remind you that you are a creative being. We have talked about coloring, taking a class, getting outside and paying attention to the world around us. We are all profoundly creative at our core and each of us has a unique expression of our creative spirit. Many of us are finding ourselves called to make more art and to remember how to be creative but we don’t know where to begin.

monet painting

Do you look at a painting by Monet or read a book by Barbara Kingsolver and think, “Oh, I wish I could paint like him or write like her?” You can’t. You are not them and art is not about being someone else, it’s about embracing our own uniqueness and individual expression. At the same time, we can be greatly influenced and inspired by the creative work of others.

Today I want to talk about the importance of reading.  Most famous writers you talk to will tell you they are also voracious readers. I have been an avid reader my entire life. My parents used to fuss at me as a child to get outside (hmmm, didn’t I tell you to do that, too?) and get my head out of a book. Reading had a dramatic impact on my life – it was escape and sanctuary, adventure, travel to new worlds and opening to new ideas. I have a Ph.D. in Latin American poetry – reading dictated the path of my life for many years, pushing me into many years of academic study and a passion for great literature. I love writing as much as I love reading and for me the two are intricately connected. Tomorrow I will talk about writing.

I mentioned in Saturday’s post that I also adore fiction of all kinds. You can often find me reading fantasy fiction about magic or dragons, historical romance or murder mysteries. I also devour tons of magazines and pick through my collections of poetry on a regular basis. I don’t read as much as I used to but I still read everyday and I am an avid fan of audio books. I miss the days when I had hours to lose in a book and would spend all day on the sofa completely caught up in a story. Now I use the time when I am out on a walk or driving across town or making art to listen to audio books. I just finished listening to Inferno, Dan Brown’s newest book. It was very entertaining and all about art and literature. It was definitely a nail biter and hard to put down, much like his other works.

reading quotes

What are you reading?

When was the last time you read a book or a magazine? Are you like me and tend to devour tons of text every week or do you save your murder mysteries for summer beach reading? Perhaps, like my mother, you spend Sunday morning reading and commenting aloud on the New York Times? Perhaps, like my 14 year old son, reading a book feels like pulling teeth and you would rather be doing anything else… I don’t care what you read, but I want to encourage you to start reading.

Reading is an integral and dynamic part of the creative process. Reading keeps our minds alert and fresh and gets our creative juices flowing. It sparks tangential thoughts that lead to an explosion of ideas.

Build Creative Confidence by Reading

Today’s lesson is to read. I don’t care what you read, just read. Try to read for 15 minutes a day at least.

  • Put a magazine in the bathroom if there isn’t already a stack there. Go ahead and laugh, it’s a favorite reading room in our house. No interruptions!
  • Download a free Kindle book or buy a new one.
  • Drop by the bookstore on the way home from work and pick a book that grabs your attention.
  • Have to get groceries today, snag a magazine that looks interesting from the check out line.
  • Turn of the television and pick up a book or magazine. DVR’s are great for this, you won’t miss your favorite show.
  • Read with a pen, pencil or highlighter in hand and your journal or a notepad beside you. When something strikes your interest, make a note. Yes, I encourage you to write in your books and magazines! Or if reading on a Kindle or other mobile device, use the bookmark feature to make a note. If other ideas and thoughts arise while reading, write them down. If to-do lists interrupt your reverie, write them down and get them out of your head. Keep reading. If a quote or line from the text stops you dead in your tracks, write it down in your journal and then start free-writing why you like it.
  • In our family, we implemented after dinner reading time. The dishes will wait. We all sit in the living room and read together for 20 to 30 minutes, often it becomes longer. No television allowed until after reading time. It’s great for our kids, who have to read as part of their homework and it’s great for me and my husband who always want more reading time!

Please share in the comments below: What are you reading right now and what do you love about it?