Reading Resources to Fuel Your Creative Process

If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write.-- Stephen King

No matter how busy you may think you are, you must find time for reading, or surrender yourself to self-chosen ignorance. -- Confucius

The more you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss, "I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!"

People come up with ideas for their craft through a number of different ways. Some use story prompts, some people go on walks, and others will look through inspiring imagery.

Some swear off the whole idea of inspiration and boil the process down to simply getting the butt in the chair and doing the work.

Whether you consider the process as gathering inspiration or simply gathering the resources necessary to share your ideas, reading (and reading a lot) is crucial to be able to share more ideas effectively.

But this doesn't mean that you should just be reading anything. Turn a critical eye to what you have on your shelf or in your digital reader of choice. Is the material you're reading helping you with your goals?

Let's leave recreational reading aside for a moment. While I think recreational reading is necessary for helping your mind disengage from the day to day work, I'm talking about the non-fiction books, the magazines, the news sites, and whatever other materials you may be able to gather that's relevant to your work.

It's certainly no secret that there's plenty of material out there that would only be a waste of your time if you were to read it. Shallow business advice won't help you get any further along with your goals. Even advice articles that are very well written but don't pertain to your needs lack the kind of value that you obtain from focusing in on the material that will help you achieve your next objective.

The Resources I Use

With the content marketing boom, there is certainly no shortage of resources to choose from. I've written a little about some of the sources I look to for marketing, but the total list is always changing. I've created a book review page to showcase some of my favorites from recent years, and I often rely on both Goodreads and my local library to help keep track of it all. For as much as I read, I seldom buy books.

That said, if I do purchase, I like to buy business books / books I'm reading for a project in digital format. Michael Hyatt's post on pulling notes from Kindle into Evernote was immensely helpful in being able to streamline the information I've read.

Outside of books, I read heavily from trusted sites around the web like Moz, Seth Godin's blog, Buffer's blog, the New York Times, Portent's blog, and many others. I gather this information through both social media and through online readers like Pocket and Feedly.

My Reading Flow

I find that each reader has its strengths and weaknesses, so I like to use Feedly as more of a tool to quickly browse through the headlines of multiple websites. Feedly will help you quickly sort your reading into relevant categories, and it delivers the most recent posts for each of your categories in an easy to skim format.

Pocket is more effective for articles that you save from around the web and for the blogs that you trust to deliver high-quality content on a consistent basis. I'll dig more into the specifics of this app in a future post, but I've touched on the text-to-speech capabilities before.

What about You?

What are you reading that helps you with your work? What kinds of tools do you use to get through your reading list? Let me know in the comments below.