Are you a marketer with a ravenous appetite for fiction? You are not alone.

Every time I buy or check out a new novel, I feel as if I’m betraying the non-fiction genre. Perhaps I should be reading more marketing-related books instead of letting my brain wander in fictional worlds. But it’s just so darn tempting.

If you’re anything like me, then you’ve been searching for justification for your fiction reading habit. So, I decided to create that justification instead of waiting around for someone else to do it!

Here are 7 ways that marketers benefit from getting lost in a good book:

1. Fiction increases your creativity.

There’s truth to the expression “my creative juices are flowing.” Creativity originates in the frontal lobe of your cerebral cortex (you know, the one that relates to language and consciousness, among other processes), which is also where your brain processes the words you’ve read. Imagine that! Reading is the ultimate imagination energizer. I like to think that the words being processed are tickling the creative portion of my brain as they enter.

2. Fiction sharpens your writing skills and boosts your vocabulary.

Your own writing skills will improve from reading fiction, because your brain absorbs the author’s style and solidifies the importance of skills like grammar, sentence structure, and punctuation. Your brain will eventually become conditioned to follow those same rules in your own writing. Furthermore, you’re bound to stumble upon unfamiliar words as you read, and that forces you to learn what they mean, either through context or a dictionary. I recommend keeping a dictionary nearby to look up new terms on the fly (if you have a Kindle, this feature is built-in).

3. Fiction reduces stress and provides a safe haven through escapism.

Marketers are no strangers to pressure, and deadlines cause stress like nobody’s business. Fiction initiates the unwinding process after the work day has ended. When you escape into fiction, you’re temporarily pushing stressors out of your mind. Not to mention, reading stimulates different parts of your brain by increasing blood flow, which means it’s getting more oxygen. When your brain has more oxygen, you’ll have more energy. Extra energy doesn’t leave much time for moping about work or dwelling on a bad day, now does it?

4. Fiction provides insights into the human condition.

Let’s face it; almost every work of fiction contains a speck of truth. So, every time you’re introduced to a new character – human or otherwise – you’re learning something about the world. What can a book’s protagonists and antagonists reveal about the world around you? When you boil down a character’s fears and ambitions, are they really that different from a real person’s? Whether you realize it or not, fiction builds empathy and provides insights into what people want and what they think about. No marketer should pass up that knowledge.

5. Fiction improves your focus.

Strong focus is needed to finish a book, especially if your chosen reading material is more like a tome. However, your concentration skills will only improve as you read more. Have you ever found it challenging to avert your eyes once you become immersed in a vivid make-believe setting that speaks to you? That feeling means your focus is improving! With enough reading practice, distractions will fade whether you’re at work or in your favorite armchair.

6. Fiction polishes your analytical abilities.

In order to remember specific details and formulate guesses about a book’s ending, you’d have to thoroughly process what you’ve already read. Remember the portion of my fourth point where I claimed that fictional characters have similarities to real people? You couldn’t possibly find those similarities or draw proper conclusions without a bit of analysis on your part. Reading fiction causes you to draw parallels between the subject matter and reality, and that makes you more apt to analyze and assess data at your day job.

7. Fiction gives you something to talk about.

Literature is a remarkable icebreaker. There’s nothing wrong with discussing the latest superhero movie over the water cooler, but wouldn’t you rather discuss the complicated plot of a classic book? Besides, it’s refreshing to talk about something that isn’t marketing related once in a while. Even the most dedicated marketers need to switch topics every now and then.

You see, there’s no need to feel guilty about picking up that novel. There’s no rule that forces marketers to exclusively read non-fiction! The fiction genre is brimming with vast knowledge just waiting to be tapped. So, the next time you’re immersed in an imaginary world, don’t think of it as a hobby – think of it as meditation and research.

Can you think of any other benefits of reading fiction as a marketer? What’s your favorite fiction sub-genre? Have you applied your love of fiction in other ways?