The reading has a few important effects. It makes me believe in things. It stops me from believing in other things. It makes me question myself and others and find answers to questions I never knew I was asking. In short, it pushes me to be creative in a way that only a good book can.
Doing this creatively helps a lot. One of my mates writes a new song every day for 6 weeks in a row in a creative sprint. Then he takes a month off writing anything before the next sprint. It just helps him to get his creativity pumping in a controlled way.