15 Reasons why Reading a Book is a Life-Changing Experience

Neat. Post Quote: “The brain is an organ like any other and just as exercise strengthens the heart, reading strengthens the brain.”

Nicholas C. Rossis

ReadingDistractify.com recently published a list of reasons why reading a book is a life-changing experience. Here are my favorite ones!

1 . Reading a novel increases brain function for days.
Research from Emory University has found that reading a book can increase connectivity in the brain which makes neurological changes that act like muscle memory. Books not only put you in someone else’s shoes in a figurative sense, but also in a biological sense.

2 . Reading can help prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Increased brain function is also useful for other things — various studies have shown that adults who engage in hobbies that stimulate the brain, such as reading, are less likely to have Alzheimer’s disease. The brain is an organ like any other and just as exercise strengthens the heart, reading strengthens the brain.

3 . Reading reduces stress.
Do you take a walk or listen to music…

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How Different Types of Reading Change Your Writing

Interesting post on how reading impacts writing. I’ve been saying this for years. Post Quote:

“This article describes a study in which a group of adult readers identified their most frequently read materials such as online magazines (and memes), newspapers, genre and literary fiction, and other written sources. Researchers then looked at the level of writing that each participant exhibited and found a correlation between what types of material people read and the complexity of their writing.”

Kristen Twardowski

You are what you read. That is a simple enough concept, but it turns out that it means more than just that people who read mysteries may become better at writing mysteries. What a person reads fundamentally changes the structure of his or her writing.

In June of 2016, the International Journal of Business Administration published “Syntactic and Lexical Complexity of Reading Correlates with Complexity of Writing in Adults”.  (You can read the full text of the article online.) This article describes a study in which a group of adult readers identified their most frequently read materials such as online magazines (and memes), newspapers, genre and literary fiction, and other written sources. Researchers then looked at the level of writing that each participant exhibited and found a correlation between what types of material people read and the complexity of their writing. People who spend most of their time reading Buzzfeed articles…

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Tales of African American History Found in DNA

Very interesting article. Check it out:

“The history of African Americans poses special challenges for geneticists. During the slave trade, their ancestors were captured from genetically diverse populations across a portion of West Africa. Adding to the complexity is the fact that living African Americans also may trace some of their ancestry to Europeans and Native Americans.”

Work For It

When I was in elementary school I got straight F’s on my report cards. I failed pretty much every class. Ultimately I  failed the sixth grade, almost failed the seventh and was put into special education courses for some subjects in eighth grade. Needless to say I’m not a smart person. If I possess any intellect at all it is because I worked for it. I worked my way out of Special Education, graduated with Honors and by High School was taking all honors courses. I had never been good at math but it didn’t stop me from taking Advanced Algebra with Trigonometry. I was possibly worse in science than math but it didn’t stop me from taking advanced Chemistry. My point here is that everything that I have always done had been with a particular work ethic. I’d never been the kid who could automatically understand, no. If I was to understand anything I had to study it. So I became a nerd because I had to be. Not being a nerd would have resulted in continual failure. By the time I was a junior in High School I was also taking College Courses for College credit. This meant that most of my day was spent at school. I would go to High School in the daytime and then College at night. I graduated High School eleventh in my class and went on to begin the next part of my academic journey. When I look back I notice that I graduated Elementary, High School, and College at the top of my class and with honors.

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The moral of the story is not about the Educational System. Nor is it about me. Like I said, I am not a smart person. Everything I have required work to get. The moral of the story is that when it comes to achievement, of whatever kind, it’s not as mind boggling as some make it. Despite your perfectly outlined plans there really isn’t a silver bullet for how to do something well nor is it about doing something the way others tell you it should be done; it’s just about doing the work. Whether we are talking about Blogging, Self-Publishing or being of service in any capacity it is always about doing the work. As long as you are willing to work then you are willing to be successful. By successful I do not mean making a lot of money. By successful I mean accomplishing what you set out to accomplish. Someone who desires to lose weight and takes the steps to get it done and does it is a successful person. There is no special diet he or she can take part in that will help them. There is no special meal either. But there is that persons mind and its willingness to put forth the work necessary to get it done. Yes, Self-Publishing is a challenge in many ways but it is not as overwhelming as it can be. Every time you walk pass an Independent book store there is opportunity. Every time you open your blog and stare at the page there is promotional opportunity. Every time someone reaches out to you as an Author there is opportunity. Every time you walk pass a library there is opportunity. The question then is not whether or not people will buy your books, not whether a book store will house your series, not whether or not you have perfected marketing and promotional plans. All of these things has its part but they are not really the point. The point of it all is always whether or not you are willing to do the work. Are you willing to walk into that bookstore and ask them about housing your book? Are you willing to schedule a FREE book signing at the local library? Are you willing to take advantage of shameless FREE promotion on your own blog? I just use writing as an example but this can apply to every aspect of our lives. It all boils down to one question: are you willing to do the work? If you are not willing to work it doesn’t matter how many doors open, you will always be too lazy to walk through them.

Writing 101: Weekly Wrap-Up 11-15

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Assignment #11: If We Were Having Coffee Right Now
Assignment #12: Critique a Piece of Work – “We Real Cool”
Assignment #13: The Third Eye: 203- Word Story
Assignment #14: Recreate a Single Day
Assignment #15: When Music Becomes Movement

For your convenience, I have added a page to my Writing 101 Assignments to make them easier to find even after the course has ended.

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Writer’s Quote Wednesday – David McCullough

Welcome back to another Segment of Writer’s Quote Wednesday, hosted by Colleen of Silver Threading. This week, I draw inspiration from David McCullough. I wish I could like this in a post over and over again!

 

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So true! Which is why I research as I’m writing :).

About The Author:

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“David McCullough has twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for Truman and John Adams, and twice received the National Book Award, for The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback. His other acclaimed books include 1776, Brave Companions, The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, and The Wright Brothers. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.”
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That’s it for my segment of Writer’s Quote Wednesday. I think the quote pretty much speaks for itself.
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Self-Publishing: Do Your Research!

When a writer sits down to write, he does not fully understand the capacity of that in which he seeks to embark. When he runs his fingers across the keyboard, or scribbles his heart into ink, he does not fully realize the power of his actions. Who would have thought a single chapter could change the world? The life of a Self-Publisher does not fully evolve until after the book is done. He does not see the many hats that must be worn in order writerwalksintothat the world may feel his voice, or sniff out his vision. What Self-Publishers are doing today is very powerful. Just by writing one book we are becoming professionals in fields that people have gone years studying in schools. People have invested in years of schooling in that they may understand how to properly market, promote, and format documents and here you understand this thing just by publishing a book alone. If that is not power, I do not know what is.

writers-block21The first book I published was a collection of essays that none of you would probably read. It started as an assignment from my English Professor in College “Does Racism in America Still Exist?” I wrote so much I could not stop writing. I wrote and read, and wrote and read, until the paper became a book, a 3 part  book to be exact. Then I had a brilliant idea: “I’m going to publish it!” When this thought entered my mental space it wasn’t occupied with much else. I didn’t even see it as Self-Publishing in particular. I did not say to myself, “Self, we’re going to Self-Publish a book.” For me it was simply, “I’m going to publish these papers.” And that was the extent of my brilliant idea. I had no intention of sharing it and no other ambition beyond that. In the end, I gave copies to some family members and college buddies but that was it. I was not interested at the time in Self-Publishing nor did I even know what it was. I always wanted to be a published author, but Self-Publishing in particular was not part of the plan. It would be years later before I actually took the concept  seriously and before I understood what it was in it’s full capacity.

selfpublishingWhen I first started out, The Self-Publishing Industry was not like it is today. In fact, it wasn’t really an industry at all. Of course, in 2007 Self-Publishing existed, but there was not the same amount of information available to Self-Publishers that there is now. We are in the age of information and in just a few short years Self-Publishing ballooned into a plethora of opportunity for authors. Self-Publishing blogs are going viral and men and women alike are making thousands, some millions, of dollars from the expertise they are able to provide on the topic. Regular, ordinary people are making something of themselves by being a part of what they were told only those with Master Degrees and PhD’s could do. But, to aspiring writers who wish to Self-Publish, I beg of you, please, do your research!

relaxed-writer_1I know we do not live in a fair world, but nothing is more unfair to me than a teenager who decides he or she will write a book and publish it and yet have no idea what is necessary to do this. There is nothing more aggravating than for me to hear a young person say that they are publishing a book, and when I ask them what POD company they are going to choose, or if they are going to purchase their own ISBN number, or their marketing plan, they have no idea what I am asking of them. All of this work, and someone’s kid is just going to write a book because its fun. How can you write a book and not understand the basics of print book formatting? Do you even know what that is? Do you even know what POD stands for? Most importantly, do you know there are tons of resources available to help you to find the answers to these questions? I am not talking about places that require hundreds of dollars of investment; I am talking about places that require only pennies. And if you do not have the penny, there are tons of free resources as well. In fact, you need to make sure that Self-Publishing is even a route you want to take. Self-Publishing is hated enough as is because big publishing houses are not making as much money. People are not forced to Self-Publish, people are choosing  to Self-Publish. The problem however, is that people are not researching this industry and making sure they understand what it means to be a part of it. Mediocrity in Self-Published books is not just because of poor editing, book cover design, etc. No, mediocrity is rooted in writers who do not research their field. This is how poor cover design and poor editing is even born.

But times are changing and the industry is not like it was in 2007. No longer can Self-Publishing be stigmatized as a field of nonprofessionals. With the amount of information out today, a nonprofessional product can only be the fault of the author and the author alone, not the industry in general. Being a Self-Publisher alone does not automatically degrade the quality of work, but the lazy work of the Self-Publisher can. I am not saying I have it all together but please research what you want to be apart of. Today, there is a host of information available to help us to get started or to sharpen our skills. So to those who are currently writing books and are seeking to be a part of the Self-Publishing field for the first time, stay encouraged. And please, I cannot stress this enough, do your research. You’ll be thankful for it in the end. You can start off with something as simple as a Google Search. And because blogs are doing so well these days, a lot of the information you’re looking for can be found right here in the blogosphere. One blogger who is always on her game with research for Self-Publishing is my good friend Colleen Chesebro. Colleen is writing her first book and is always on point with her research. She is a great example of what to do as you are writing. You don’t wait until you are about to publish a book to find out how to do it. Ttake some time out of your day and walk around the neighborhood. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find.