I’ve written a lot about looking outside your usual trappings for inspiration of creativity. This can be from changing your scenery to connecting with a new set of people.
One of the methods that I love to use is reading. It could be fiction or nonfiction. It could be novels, short stories, or even just magazine articles. There are tons of reasons to look to reading to spark creativity, but I’ll focus on three.
Reading is a fantastic way to have a shared experience with others. If you have ever been in the room with two avid readers, you know just how quickly the conversation can shift from book to book, comparing their recent reads and recommending others. By building a relationship through a shared experience, you can find something to connect with and further develop your network. The more people you talk to, the more exposure to new ideas you will have.
Reading also helps to enhance your knowledge about a topic, even one that you may already know a few things about. There’s always room to learn more about something, and it’s the new knowledge that could spark a thought or idea. That can include new methods of accomplishing a goal, different ways to work with people, or maybe a recent development in the field that changes an old way of thinking.
It could also reinforce your existing knowledge. A refresher can be a great way to remind yourself of things you already know, but forgot somewhere along the way.
Reading can be a great way to learn about different cultures. Regardless of the topic, a writer will often bring in their own thoughts, which are shaped by the world they experience. That could be their thoughts on topics ranging from technology innovation to family life. Even in nonfiction writing, a great story includes some element of the author.
Reading doesn’t have to be an expensive process, either. Many of the world’s best writing is available for free online. Also, ebooks are a cheaper alternative to buying a new book. Used bookstores are a great source for books that may be only gently used. Your friends and family are sure to have a few books that they could recommend, too. And if all else fails (or you could start here first), your local library obviously has plenty to read.
Whatever it is that you find, fall into it. Take as much from it as you can, since you never know when the knowledge will come in handy. And if you don’t have a lot of time to read, perhaps check out a speed reading class. The faster you read and the more you retain, the better off you’ll be.