Be a sponge:
Expert Author articles, books by famous authors, books by not-so-famous authors, news articles by ground-breaking journalists, posts by leading bloggers, and more – read everything and anything you can get your hands on. Thumb through celebrated periodicals and even divulge in a little guilty pleasure by browsing through those tabloids waiting at most checkouts – whatever you do read, absorb it and reflect on what you read.
These reflections will help you understand an author’s approach as well as the nuances and tricks of writing a convincing story that engages readers. And you need engaged readers who are compelled by your writing. A compelled reader will want more of what you offer by continuing from your article and on to your website because you’ve resonated with their needs and interests by striking a chord with them.
Without an engaged audience, you’ll be a one-man band playing out-of tune to an empty room.
Read to be engaged and engage others!
Read Daily With These Tips
“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have time to write.” – Stephen King
Reading is absolutely essential for Expert Authors. Think of it like this: You can’t (or shouldn’t in most cases) be a lawyer without studying and understanding the law. You can’t be a scientist without absorbing and learning the science. You can’t be a postmodern artist without understanding the works of leading postmodern artists. And so on. Reading is an incredible tool for Expert Authors – make time to use it!
“Read! When your baby is finally down for the night, pick up a juicy book like Eat, Pray, Love or Pride and Prejudice or my personal favorite, Understanding Sleep Disorders: Narcolepsy and Apnea; A Clinical Study. Taking some time to read each night really taught me how to feign narcolepsy when my husband asked me what my ‘plan’ was for taking down the Christmas tree.” – Tina Fey
Read for discovery. Reading is not so you can say this at cocktail parties: “Yes, I read War and Peace cover-to-cover” (with the underlying subtext “be impressed by my reading prowess and canonical-guided magnificence”). Good readers don’t read to reach the ending. They read to connect with and understand new ideas and old traditions. If someone asked them what they thought about War and Peace, connected readers (and authors) would likely focus on the how the pieces of the work fit together and the emotion, not just the play-by-play plot.
“If one reads enough books one has a fighting chance. Or better, one’s chances of survival increase with each book one reads.” – Sherman Alexie
Read for growth. Avoid limiting yourself to one particular genre and soak up a variety of subjects, style, language, ideas, and inspiration by reading a wide-breadth of content.
“The most successful people I know don’t just read-they inhale information.” – Brett Nelson
If you haven’t already, make time for reading every day. Not only will you increase your knowledge and vocabulary, reading can be entertaining, provide mental stimulation to keep your brain active, improve your memory, and overall boost focus.
How you can make reading a habit? Try Dr. BJ Fogg’s “Tiny Habits” formula, which we recently covered in another post:
- Set a specific goal (in this case, reading every day).
- Start with an easy target (such as reading for 15 minutes, 1,000 words, or perhaps 5 pages).
- Create a cue so reading becomes an automatic response (such as when you get home from work, wake up, finish dinner, etc. then you’ll read).
You will eventually notice your reading target increasing and may begin craving to read!
15 Questions to Reflect on Your Reading
Get more engaged with your reading! Don’t worry about asking yourself all of these questions – some pieces warrant more (or less) thought than others. Simply think of this list as a walk-through guide to consider what you’re reading:
- What’s the credibility of the author and/or the publisher?
- Who is the audience the author is writing for?
- What is the author stating?
- Is the author making any assumptions?
- What was the context of the author’s position?
- Did the author imply anything?
- What’s the author’s purpose or motive in writing this piece?
- What tone or attitude does the author adopt?
- Does the author use formal or informal language?
- Is the author writing objectively or emotionally?
- What conclusions did the author reach?
- Were those conclusions justified?
- How does the author’s position compare to others in their niche?
- Did the author say anything new?
- What part of the article pulled you in?
Note your reflections in a reading journal or simply give yourself a few moments to ponder. Either way, you can use these questions to give your reading a contemplative punch as well as inspiration for your own articles!
“When I get a little money, I buy books. If any is left, I buy food and clothes.” – Erasmus
What are your thoughts? Are you passionate about reading? What are you reading to expand your expertise? What are you reading for pleasure? How often do you read and how long are your reading sessions? Do you have any great reading recommendations for fellow Expert Authors? Do you think Stephen King’s view on authors who don’t read is too harsh?
Let us know! Share your comments or questions below – we’d love to hear from you.