“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” – Stephen King
The two obvious ways to become a better writer are: read and write often. However, with today’s increasing influence on technology and all of the world’s information at our fingertips through the power of the Internet, is basic reading losing its appeal?
We don’t think so; we think lots of reading is crucial for writing success! If you’re looking for a spark of inspiration to help you keep up with your reading, these 5 ways will help keep you on your toes.
1. Expand Your Sources: Most people establish a routine when it comes to their reading material. Perhaps they prefer a certain author, follow an enjoyable blog, or check the same news site on a daily basis. It’s great to establish a reading habit; however, if you aren’t open branching out in your reading, it’s possible you won’t branch out and incorporate multiple perspectives in your own writing. Expand your reading online and offline to help you gain an edge on how topics are covered in multiple places.
2. Always Carry a Book: Finding extra time in our busy schedules can seem unattainable. Think hard on how the times of day you have free time. It’s likely you have down time where you reach for your smartphone or honker down in front of the TV. If you have a book on hand, you will be more inclined to read. Spend a few minutes reading while dinner is cooking; read on your lunch break; read in the bathroom! The more you read, the more you will become familiar with proper linguistics.
3. Vocabulary Boost: When you were in school, did your teacher ask you to look up definitions of new words? Why not do it as an adult?! As you’re reading content from various mediums, jot down unfamiliar words. Learn the definitions and try to incorporate them in your own writing when fitting. You will learn something new in the process, and slowly build up your vocabulary. Don’t be afraid of new words; they could end up becoming your favorite! If you need a good starting point, refer to our past blog 100 Words Every Expert Author Should Know.
4. Learn from the “Classics”: Even if you’re just bursting on the scene as an author, getting back to the basics is highly encouraged. Writing styles have certainly changed over the years, but it’s important to look back on what was deemed a “classic” and see what all of the fuss was about. You may be patiently waiting for your favorite author to publish another fascinating piece, but in the meantime, take a peek at some older novels or highly acclaimed articles as well.
5. Read Your Own Content: Do you ever look over your writing a 2nd time and realize the sentence structure sounds repetitive and bland? Or worse, like a cyborg? Reading out loud can help you drastically improve your grammar and your content will make more sense in print. Tweak your wording and read it out loud again, but not too loud so you disturb your colleagues!
The bottom line is: persistent reading needs to be in your game plan. Reading offers countless ways to boost your writing skills and expand your knowledge-base. When you need a break from writing, pick up something to read!
What are your best tips to find new reading material and make time to read? Share your comments, and feel free to provide your own advice on how to keep reading enjoyable!