Writers know that to improve your writing, it’s essential to read regularly.
Once you commit to developing your business writing fluency, you’ll find it challenging to come up with content ideas. But what’s most challenging is the process of developing your skills. And part of that process is developing a refined sense of taste when it comes to quality content.
Here’s the thing: if you don’t breathe in good writing, you can’t exhale it. The trouble is there are mountains of books, articles, and posts to read. How to make sure you get to the good stuff?
We know it’s essential, yet we browse through torrents of words online every day without a plan. And it gets even worse.
There are wonderful apps like getliner.com used to highlight web content for future reference, which seems to be an elegant solution. Even a godsend, perhaps. But like me, many soon find they only go back and look at the “read later” stuff… well, never. It becomes just another pile of words to manage.
The Japanese have a term for stacks of unread printed books: Tsundoku. But it’s much different when you’re dealing with digital piles of content. While you add to your read-later stack, the internet serves up 7.5 million more blog posts every day. Add to that the social media posts and youtube videos, and it becomes laughable to consider the idea of keeping up.
Your secret writing weapon
There’s a strategy that will ensure the quality of your reading: read good fiction. If you think about it, it’s very difficult to skim through a captivating story. It’s like trying to fast forward through a movie, stop at random points, and try to fill in the plot. It doesn’t work.
Read the classics, read contemporary fiction. There’s a whole world of fantastic literature awaiting you. Ask a well-read friend to give you some recommendations.
John David Mann has several NYT bestseller books and tells how he read only nonfiction books before his wife suggested he read Steinbeck’s East of Eden. Here’s how he described the effect it had on him:
Turning the last page and putting down my copy of East of Eden was when I first had the conscious thought: I want to do that.
You may not decide to write an epic, but that’s the kind of reading you want to do — you need to do — to put out good content. You must read content that moves you if you’re going to impact others with your writing.
Improve your reading to improve your writing
Do this consistently, and you will develop a more refined taste for premium content. Excellent literature will also inspire you to make your writing matter rather than merely post content.
You may be thinking that fiction has nothing to do with the writing you do. And, yes, you do need to do your research and cull your reference material. But consider that a separate bucket — something more like the table wine. Great fiction writers know how to keep attention, tell a captivating story, and stir emotion. Those qualities have everything to do with the writing you do.
If you want to improve your writing, make it a point to regularly uncork the good stuff and cultivate a taste for fine words.