The Importance Of Reading If You Want To Write
At my last book launch, I still remember a conversation with a young would-be author who asked me my process for being able to write as much as I do while still operating my businesses, going on speaking tours, and doing my volunteer projects.
“What was the last book you read?” I asked him.
He was caught off guard.
“Well, I haven’t really been reading at all since I finished university. I had to read so much there that I think I read most of the important stuff for now anyhow.”
“Start reading again and then we’ll talk later,” I told him. “Read fiction, non-fiction, poetry, academic journals…anything you want. You need to get back to reading before you can get back to writing.”
This was not just a whim on my part, although I have always held that idea. But now a number of studies support the contention that what you read impacts how well you write.
Just last year a study published in the International Journal of Business Administration found that what students read and how often significantly impacts how well they write and how often they write. The more sophisticated or complex the article or book read by the student, the better they wrote.
This happens because when we read our brain is impacted. In this particular study, published in May, 2016, the researchers determined that writing which has significant detail and imagery taps into our brain almost the same way as if we were experiencing the scene or event ourselves. We feel empathy for the characters and begin to appreciate how elegantly the writing is done. That triggers our own urge to write well and on a deeper level.
The researchers concluded that deep reading prompts action in our brain’s centres for speech, vision and hearing. Together, all of that helps us to write, speak and read even better.
Three years earlier a study in the peer-reviewed journal Brain Connectivity showed that the impact of reading a novel lingers in our brain for a few days.
The study, done at Emory University’s Centre for Neuropolicy, involved 21 undergraduates all reading the same novel, Pompeii, a thriller by Robert Harris. All students submitted to fMRI brain scans at designated times when their brains were in a resting state.
The results showed that during the period when the students were reading the novel, they had heightened connectivity in the left temporal cortex of the brain, the part associated with language receptivity.
Even though the students were not actually reading the novel when they were scanned, the brain activity still showed. Researchers referred to that as a “shadow activity” which is like a muscle memory.
So what is the secret to being able to write?
Turns out one component could be as simple as just finding time to read.
Paula Morand is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and impact in a more bold fashion. 24 years, 27,000 clients, 34 countries, 15 books, former radio personality, 11x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.Check out Paula’s best selling books: “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything”, “Dreaming BIG and Being BOLD: Inspiring stories from Trailblazers, Visionaries and Change Makers” book series; and due to be released soon “Bold Vision: A Leader’s Playbook for Managing Growth” go to Amazon http://ow.ly/i8yW307ix67
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