Why Creatives Should Read More Fiction

If you do creative work, you need to read fiction books. 

When we need inspiration, we usually hit Dribbble, Pinterest, Designspiration, Behance, etc. I'd say that something we should do to keep ourselves sharp as creators is to read fiction. Here's why:

 

1. You'll exercise your imagination

It's no secret that we tend to lose our imaginations as we grow up so we need to do things that kindle that fire. According to Robert Bruce, fiction "works out" a different area of your brain.

Working in a creative field and only reading nonfiction is like training for a marathon by doing pushups and curls. You’ve got to work out the creative part of your brain.
Robert Bruce

2. You'll practice creating

How often do you get to create something that's just for you? No strings attached. No deadline to worry about. No money on the table for it. No critique. That's what your mind is doing when you read fiction. There's nothing quite like envisioning the landscape of a new world or imagining what a character looks in your mind.

[Creativity is] about making stuff where there was nothing. With fiction, it’s the story, the characters, the setting, the dialogue.
Robert Bruce

3. You'll be better

The first two reasons combined will make you better at what you do. Designer, writer, photographer, whatever. You'll discover new ways of looking at things. Take for instance these five things Robert Bruce learned about writing.

You may not learn the same things when you read, and that's okay. But it could be the catalyst that leads to you creating something great or getting unstuck.

One study even suggests that fiction readers are more creative, exercise better judgement, and are more comfortable with disorder and uncertainty.

 

How Do I Get Started?

Austin Kleon has some great advice:

Robert Bruce also has some good advice about how you can make more time to read.

 

What I'm Doing

I decided to start reading more fiction toward the end of last year. I've always wanted to read The Chronicles of Narnia series so I bought a cheap used copy on eBay and started there. Before the year ended I made it through The Magician's Nephew and absolutely loved the book. So this year I decided to set a goal for myself: read at least 26 books in 2015. I'm not reading all fiction. To see my full book list and check out my progress click here. Here's what's on the fiction (or reading for pleasure) section of my list in no particular order:

 

If you have any recommendations of books I should consider adding to my list, let me know in a comment.