Can you imagine a chef who never ate at a restaurant? Or a musician who never listened to music?
What about a writer, who never read?
Truth is, if you aspire to be a good writer — regardless of whether you are writing fiction, poetry, or marketing copy — you need to read.
Reading is a great pastime. It provides a way to visit different worlds and meet different characters. It provides an escape from the (sometimes) mundane aspects of life. It provides an opportunity to rest the body (how many of you move around while reading?), and it offers an affordable way to de-stress.
But beyond purely pleasure, reading is one of the most important tools available to help you become a better writer. So how does it help?
- You improve your vocabulary
The more you read, the more words you are exposed to. The more words you are exposed to, the better your vocabulary, and the more interesting and dynamic your writing becomes.
- Your spelling improves
Similar to the point above, the more words you are exposed to, the better your spelling will be. One of the most important and effective ways for children to become better at spelling, is to get them to read. So if your spelling needs a bit of work, then get reading!
- Inspires new ideas
Reading opens up new worlds, new characters and new ideas. The more you read, the more inspired you will be to create new worlds yourself — whether it be fiction or a world where your marketing copy screams off the page. Reading shows you different ways of approaching different subjects, which leads to more interesting copy.
- Helps you understand your genre better
Whether you write advertising copy, scientific journals or health pieces, reading in your genre will help you understand your genre better. It will give you a base knowledge and a solid understanding of the market you are writing for, which will allow you to adjust your style accordingly.
- Helps you learn language conventions
Whether you know it or not, reading helps you learn the rules of grammar and language conventions, without having to do boring grammar exercises, or learning the rules of grammar by rote.
- Connects you to the rest of the world
Reading connects you to the rest of the world. It allows you to learn new things, and become more educated in a range of different subjects. Reading material can give you something to talk to others about, and provides a platform to examine your core beliefs and how you relate to the world. And when you have a good understanding of who you are and what you stand for, your writing becomes stronger.
- Improves your knowledge
The wider you read, the more knowledge you will have. Don’t limit yourself to one or two topics. Sure, American History might be your passion, but read more widely. The more you know, the more interesting you will be. And the more interesting you are — that’s right — the more interesting your writing will be.
- Improves brain function
Finally, reading has a positive impact on overall brain health. It helps overcome stress, improves cognitive function, helps keep your brain active into old age and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. And you know what that means? You’ve got more time to write!
So the next time you feel guilty about grabbing that book, remember you are doing your writing, and your career, a great big favour!
If you’re looking for a great writer to help you with your project, please contact me. I’d love to see how I can help.