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You Are What You Read

13 October 2010 No Comment

By Helen Kaiao Chang

See original story on AboutFreelanceWriting.com

I’m doing a media fast. Cutting news from my mental diet altogether. No newspapers, weekly magazines, online news sites, or TV news.

The only thing I read is the occasional newspaper headline when I pass the vending box on my way to the grocery store. Or the Google headline at the top of my inbox. Or a TV blurb at my boyfriend’s house.

Yeah, I’m a journalist by training. But these days, I’m focused on ghostwriting books.

I’m more interested in savoring elegant, umami-laden memoirs and novels now, not chowing down fast-food reports that I used to read – and write – as a journalist.

It is said that you are what you eat. Well, as a writer, you are what you read. Since I want to write great books, I’m reading great books. Had to cut the toxins from the reading diet, and unfortunately, many news reports are toxic.

Thank goodness I have a boyfriend to call me, in case there’s a devastating fire or earthquake coming my way.

I must admit, I am a happier person now. On this diet, I have had the luxury of spending time with writers Sue Monk Kidd (“The Secret Life of Bees”), Abigail Thomas (“A Three Dog Life”), Brenda Ueland (‘If You Want to Write”) and Elizabeth Gilbert (“Committed”).

I feel like I’ve been eating dark chocolate bon bons filled with cherry liqueur, while soaking in a hot, jasmine-scented bubble bath.

My spirit is infinitely nurtured, and so is my mind.

At some point, I’ll start reading the news again. But only when I’m ready for more heart burn.

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenChang.

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