Writing Skills

To Write Better, Read More. Period.

Would you read more if you knew it would make you a better, faster writer at work? Because it will. And it’s fun!

How reading improves your writing
Reading develops your writing skills in multiple ways. It improves your spelling, builds your vocabulary, trains your mind to recognize correct grammar and structure, exposes you to different writing styles, and can help you develop your own voice.

What you read is less important than simply reading, but when you read established authors and writers, you’re also learning lessons from experienced and proven masters, in the same way that you learn from masters of cooking, soccer or public speaking.

Four ways to read more to write better
Adults read less literature than they used to, so maybe you’re not sure how to make reading part of your daily life or where to start. If that’s the case, try these ideas:

  • Read more, and read a variety. Read short and read long. Read for work and read for rest. Read. Read. Read.
  • Find a newsletter or blog that you like and commit to reading it daily or at least weekly. I like the Daily Skimm because it shows up in my inbox every day so it’s effortless to get it, it updates me on some breaking news, and I enjoy the writing style—which gives me a little writing motivation each morning.
  • Read real books—yes, books, the kind printed on paper that you hold in your hands. It’s fine to read online articles and email newsletters. But you still need to read books. The types of books matter less than the reading of them. They can be fiction or nonfiction, contemporary or classic, mysteries or memoirs. Go to the bookstore. Shop Amazon. Use your public library. Ask friends to loan you books they’ve enjoyed. Make books a part of your lifestyle every day, not just on vacations or plane trips.
  • Add audiobooks to the mix. It’s a crazy busy world, and many of us find we have little time to read. Audiobooks can help. You don’t get the same benefits compared to reading a printed book, but you will still be exposed to writing styles and words.

Other benefits of reading
Reading more will make you a better, faster writer at work, but it’s not all work and no play. Reading can be fun, reduce your stress level, educate you, increase your empathy, and even help to improve your memory and communication skills.

And reading more also makes you a better reader, which will benefit you at work too, as you process what others write faster and with a more critical eye.

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