February 1, 2014

When you change careers, should you change your reading preferences, too?

For more than 10 years, I have been writing for various channels through the companies I was employed with. I wrote speeches for a mayor, wrote scripts for a television network, prepared text for school brochures, reported news for a newspaper, and started blogging when I went under the wing of a nonprofit organization. 

Despite the change of professions, there is one thing that never changed: I continue to read. Reading anything I can get my hands on would be exaggerating, but read I did. And read I still do.

Just like my jobs, there is a certain pattern in my reading, too. When I had a short stint in a government office, I read more political speeches and textbooks. When I worked as a news reporter, I read more news than books. When I was connected with a nonprofit organization, I read more blogs and self-help books on writing and public relations than newspapers.

In some ways, our personal experiences dictate what we need to read. Did I enjoy what I needed to read at the time? Since I’m a self-confessed learning addict, yes, I did enjoy them (most of the time), even when many terms I met looked like alien octopuses with tentacles hooked to other alien octopuses bulging out of the page. They actually pushed me back to see the big picture and the value of what I was reading.

Still, what we want to read is a different matter. The reading experience is more pleasant. Last year, I read more books than I have read in the previous years. I read 40 books, including comics. My all-time favorites are The Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart and Trese comic series. This year, on this first month, I already read nine books and I’m now halfway through the 10th book. I’m looking at 50 books this year.

reading

1. Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
2. The Calder Game by Blue Balliett
3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
4. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
5. Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
6. The Silver Donkey by Sonya Hartnett
7. Mrs. Sartoris by Elke Schmitter
8. Tall Story by Candy Gourlay
9. Between Two Ends by David Ward
10. Thornspell by Helen Lowe

All of them are fiction. I’ve hold on to this genre, with excitement and pleasure, ever since I met the Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew in fourth grade. At the same time, my interest in short stories (#SSinitiative) is sustained by classic authors like O. Henry and Oscar Wilde and contemporary ones like Alice Munro.

Now that I’m a full-time freelance writer and blogger, should I change my reading preferences? Change is an overstatement. I’d like to say I should amplify it. Apart from seven fiction books lining up after Thornspell, I am also reading one section a day of “Write On! The Writer’s Help Book” by Adrian Magson and “Writer For Hire: 101 Secrets To Freelance Success” by Kelly James-Enger.

I read these non-fiction books because I need and want to, and that’s one powerful combination of a reason, don’t you think?


Nancy Cudis