Sunday, April 24, 2011

Staying Creative, Part 7: Read

On this blog many times before, I have encouraged voracious reading for finding inspiration, improving style, honing subject-matter expertise, and keeping a creative edge when dealing with writer’s block. Then why should I end this series on staying creative any differently?

I have heard people say that reading is a passive activity. Maybe for passive types, but not for engaged readers and definitely not for writers, who find reading to be entertaining, educational, and, above all, a starting point for many of their creative works. Without having read Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest, Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard would not have written Shakespeare in Love, for which they won an Academy Award for best original screenplay. If there were no Virginia Woolf writing Mrs. Dalloway in 1925, there would not have been Michael Cunningham’s The Hours in 2002.

Let’s extend this point to business. Without having good proposals as reading references, the proposal writer would have a far more difficult time crafting a persuasive message to her upper management. By reading high-quality trip and conference reports, the writer would not have a standard to emulate when reporting on a seminar he attended.

You get it? Read. It’s a gift that never stops giving, whether you’re reading the newspaper, a magazine, or a book. It's a great way for a writer to stay creative.

Books by Philip Vassallo