Why Does Reading and Writing Matter?

Behind the Bible and Qur’an, do you know what the top selling non-fiction book is?

“Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill

Do you know the top selling fiction?

“Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien. It has sold 150 million copies since its release in 1954. J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” is close behind with 120 million copies sold.

In fact, when one looks at the Wikipedia list of best-selling books – the pattern that emerges shows us the love we have of fantasy. Fantasy may be the exact reason we read – to get away from our current life, and into a good story where anything is possible and heroes are made.

On the non-fiction side, we find a pattern of self-improvement – our need to satisfy our curiosity about who we are, why we are here, and how we can make the experience better.

As a writer, an author, and a book coach, I find these patterns to be true for me personally as well.

As a Writer, I Use Fantasy

I grew up in inner-city Denver. At elementary school there I learned the value of diversity. I was a shy kid and a white minority, surrounded by African American and Hispanic kids. I felt out of place, so stayed to myself and focused on education. Every semester at the awards ceremony, I found myself with handfuls of ribbons for straight A’s and perfect attendance.

Both my dad and step mom worked, but the bulk of our household income was spent on partying – and the addictions they both had. My biological mom wasn’t in the picture. She, too, was involved in the world of drugs and the crime that so often accompanies it.

I used writing to indulge in fantasy, using my imagination to create stories of flight as a release from the fear I felt at school and at home. My writing was both encouraged and celebrated by my teachers and I created a personal mantra that one day I would be a published author.

As an Author, I’ve Experienced Personal Development

In 2013, I finally published my first novel. The story was about two sisters and their mom who struggled with mental illness. By this time in my life I had gotten married, had two beautiful daughters, and was recently divorced. And, my biological mother had passed away. Achieving my goal was inspiring. In fact, it felt crucial to the time of personal transition I was in – to prove to myself everything was going to be ok.

Personal development had been key, as I searched myself to discover who I was, why I was here, and how I could make it all better. I was an author – a desire given to me at a young age, a talent and gift – and I was going to make ripples.

As a Book Coach, I Leverage Both Fantasy and Personal Development

After the release of my first novel, peers began asking me how I wrote the book and if I could help them with their own dreams of authorship. Writing and coaching became my “side hustle” as I continued to work full time, helping others during off hours.

Working with them became the relief I needed from the stress of my day job. It allowed me to dive into something exciting and refreshing, like jumping into a pool on a hot day.

My creativity and imagination unlocks doors for my clients, helping them to see things in a new way and become heroes as they meet their goals. This new vision feels like a fantasy, where anything is possible.

Coaching others to write their books connects me more deeply to my own skills and talents. Coaching forces me to look at who I am, where I want to go, and identify the gap between the two. I am learning how to run a business and building the mindset for self-discipline and resilience on the days I don’t know how the money will come in. It has been a personal development journey to be an entrepreneur and own my dreams, skills, hours and self-worth.

The Call, Then, to Action

When we think about the top selling books, we feel motivated. Maybe we are motivated to write our own or feel inspired to look at the list and begin to read more. Whether looking for a reality check out or to learn more about a topic of interest, reading helps us grow. And, without writers, we would have nothing to read.

Today, I encourage you to read a little more. Write a little more. Or both. Who knows where it may take you? It certainly has been an important and valuable part of my journey.