The first-ever Harry Potter Book came out when I was in Year 7. My English teacher, Ms. Ostepeev, raved about the book and insisted we all read it. I didn’t get it and had no interest in dragons, witches or wizards. I ignored the advice.
As I got older, there was an easier shortcut to the world of Harry Potter and that was the movies. Each movie was only two hours long and I fell in love with them. The movies took me out of the real world and into a fantasy world that my own imagination, at the time, could not come up with.
Harry Potter was like being in Primary School again, where everything was possible.
I never took the advice from Ms. Ostepeev and read the book. I avoided reading Harry Potter for so many years because there seemed no point in it. It was an anecdotal story designed for children that contained no facts, experts, life advice, or relevance to business.
Reading for the sake of reading felt like doing squats when I had no goal to be a bodybuilder. Fast-forward to a few months ago and I decided to finally read the first Harry Potter book. I wanted to see if it was any different from the movie. But that wasn’t the real goal.
I wanted to experiment and see if reading Harry Potter could bring about my childlike curiosity and sense of imagination again. It did exactly that.
The book caused the following to occur:
The rediscovery of language
The use of language in Harry Potter is sensational! Many of the characters have their own accents that shine through the text. There are so many creative uses of sentences, paragraphs and words I’d never heard of.
It taught me how one could use language in a creative way as opposed to the essay format used in the how-to, instructional and self-improvement world I was used to. Text can appear dry and boring very easily.
Making words on a page feel like something so much more is part of the brilliance of Harry Potter.
There are so many rules we are supposed to follow in writing. The confined prison walls of spelling and grammar can take away all the fun of writing.
While reading Harry Potter, I noticed that there were so many rules broken. I saw the same when I read James Altucher’s work who hates using colons and semi-colons — and instead writes with lots of short sentences. When you insert an article of James’ into a grammar correcting tool, it lights up like a fire truck’s red beacons.
Rules are made to be broken in writing and in life.
My favorite lesson from Harry Potter is how to use words to create images.
JK Rowling can paint a picture and make you feel as though all of the magic and spells are being performed right in front of you. This is a skill worth mastering if you want to unlock more of your creativity.
The creative way she can describe a person’s facial features and how they looked during a certain moment in time is incredible to read for the first time.
If nothing else, learning how to paint pictures with words is enough of a reason to go back and read Harry Potter.
When you can see what is going on in a story, you get transported into the writer’s world and will find it hard to return until you have devoured the whole book.
The storytelling in Harry Potter is simply stunning to read. It is the closest thing to perfection that I have ever read and probably explains the creators billion-dollar net-worth.
Storytelling is such a powerful tool that I have used both as a blogger and a leader in the business world. It has allowed me to get the attention of people I respect that have achieved more than I ever will and to discover many parts of life that would have otherwise remained a closed door to me previously.
Really good storytelling brings you in, grabs your attention, teaches you something, takes you out of the problems of your own life and creates a platform that can be used to teach you lessons that you would have otherwise remained deaf to for the rest of your life.
Storytelling is incredible, but it needs healthy doses of creativity. We can all tell stories but telling good ones requires you to be creative and tap into your imagination.
As you read through Harry Potter, you see the gift of storytelling in action and at the end, I found myself saying “How the heck does a book created for children about a fantasy world I have no interest in do that?” The answer is storytelling.
Reading Harry Potter is something that has changed my view of writing. Getting back to that childlike sense of creativity and imagination is a goal that I now have.
Imagining things no one has ever seen or heard of and telling stories that go to the trouble of describing in minute detail how the wrinkle on the side of a ninety-nine-year-old woman’s face looked in the glow of the night, is now a challenge I’ve set myself.
Even a kid’s book has value in your life and can teach you something.