I love reading fiction. I love diving into stories other people have crafted from nothing, except a single idea. When you spend so much time writing your own stories, it’s nice to be able to sit down on the other side and be the one to read something new.
Fiction doesn’t affect me the same way other kinds of reading material does, though. Yes, fiction is interesting and entertaining and often leaves me feeling fulfilled and satisfied with my life. But when I’m looking for inspiration, whether I need it to keep myself moving forward or I need it to influence me to sit down and write something, I don’t pick up a novel.
Actually, I love reading memoirs. Not that I’ve read too many; there are a lot I want to add to my to-read list. A lot of people think memoirs are really boring, because obviously, while they’re still stories, they’re not fictional, so they’re not always super dramatic.
Yet that’s why I love them so much. These are stories about people who have somehow made their mark in the world doing what they’re good at. And some of these people didn’t have their success handed to them: they had to work for it, to earn it. They struggled to get where they are, just like we struggle. They overcame obstacles just like we hope to. They’re real people who accomplished real things because they believed they could, and fought for it.
That’s what inspires me: real stories of started-at-the-bottom success. Don’t get me wrong: I still love reading fiction. I’m on the second book in Julianna Baggott’s Pure trilogy right now, but still pick up Barbara Walters’’ memoir and read a chapter every few weeks when I’m in a slump and need to remind myself there’s still room to grow and do good things for the world.
We don’t have to stop reading fiction, or whichever genre we love picking up when we just need to pass the time. But it’s beneficial to know what we should turn to when we’re feeling lost or unmotivated, in need of something to ignite that brain rush we’ve been missing so much lately, don’t you think?
Sunday again? Wonderful. Let’s discuss (and I know I haven’t responded to your comments from last week, I haven’t forgotten, I promise).
What do you reach for when you need inspiration?
Why does that content in particular inspire you?
Do you turn around and write in the same genre, or are there a lot of differences between what you read and what you write?
Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.