I’m currently reading the book Reading in the Brain by Stanislas Dehaene. I’m about one third through it. The book’s second chapter is devoted to a brain area that the author and other researchers call the Letterbox, or the left occipito temporal region if you want to get more technical. Most of the objects that appear on our visual field go to another area of the brain that does a good job of recognizing the stuff around us. But words and letters go to the Letterbox. This area knows that these are not just some squiggly lines and dots on a white page. It knows that they have a sound, and that that sound carries a meaning. Suffice to say that the book is very interesting and shows how amazing it is that we humans can read.
But the reason I’m bringing up this Letterbox concept is the importance of reading, specially for people that want to write everyday or every week. Reading is like food for a writer and just like food, you have to be careful with what you eat. You shouldn’t eat too much junk food and you should have a balanced diet. I’m giving this advice as much to myself as to anyone reading out there. I surely could read more fiction. I’m a non-fiction junkie.
Reading everyday also helps with the concern most people are having about writing every day. (Check out the comments in this Mashable post that talks about the Post a Day/Week WordPress project) On a day to day basis our lives are pretty banal and trivial. Even celebrities have “talking about the weather” days. It’s true. Everything is not inherently interesting in life, but we can make anything interesting if we try. The different voices, stories, emotions, colors, perspectives, characters, genres, worlds, and even smells that you get from reading are surely going to stimulate your Letterbox.