Here’s a startling admission for someone who writes words for a living: I seldom read books. It’s not that I don’t enjoy them. It’s not that I can’t make the time if I want to. I simply just don’t. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an active choice. There has been no resolution to shun the professionally published writings of others. Nor is it a reflection on my need to be up to date with whatever is currently perched upon the nightstands of Readerati.
To me, reading a book is a luxury and an investment. The kinds of books I traditionally read put me in foreign places, strange times and inside the minds of characters that demand you obsess over every little detail of their fabricated lives.
The other thing holding me back from devouring paperbacks at will is that I am what most people would class as a terrible reader. Not in the sense that I lack the requisite comprehension skills to absorb the information, more like I read every single word. That’s right. Every. Single. Word. Sometimes more than once. And if a particular sentence is exceptionally well crafted, I’ll deconstruct it and try to figure out what it was that made that string of words sing so beautifully.
The last two books to cop the word by word workout have been A Feast For Crows and A Dance With Dragons – books four and five in the A Song Of Ice and Fire series by George R R Martin. Approximately 2000 pages in total. Needless to say, they took a while to wade through.
A phrase struck me as I read, and has stayed with me in the months during and weeks since: words are wind. It’s an utterance made by many, diverse characters from a made up place in a nondescript time, but its relevance to today resonated with me strongly.
In an age where more and more people are communicating on behalf of brands, not just externally in mainstream and digital channels, but internally among our colleagues, the way we use words has never been more important.
Not just because we are consuming more bite-sized information than ever before, but due to the sheer amount of information being pushed to our tvs, laptops, tablets and mobiles, we need the right wind to blow our audience away.