We let the facts do the talking.

WHY I READ AS MUCH AS I WRITE

Part 2: How to bring reading back into your life

I love this brutal quote from novelist Stephen King:

“Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

In the last part of my blog, I explored why reading is perhaps the most important habit for copywriters and content developers to nurture.

At the same time, I recognise that in our busy lives we can often feel like we don’t have a second to spare on reading. This is why my five tips for picking up a reading habit and sticking with it are very short and simple:

  1. 10-minute magic: Dedicate just 10 minutes of your day to any type of reading. It could be at your desk in the morning, on your commute, during lunch or before bed. Any place will do.

 

  1. Find a favourite: Find a favourite website, newspaper, author or journalist that you can return to confidently and happily every day, and that you believe writes better than you.

 

  1. Have a book on the go: Pick a book that is manageable and interesting, always keep it handy, and remember that it is not judging you — you can dip in and out of it with no guilt.

 

  1. Ditch screen time: Blue light wrecks our sleeping patterns so swap screen time for page time to discover new levels of calm that will encourage you to keep up your reading habit.

 

  1. Be discerning: Once you’ve welcomed reading back into your life, start to consider what it can teach you about how to improve your own work. Ask yourself questions while you read:
    1. Has the author used punctuation or grammar in a way that is new to you?
    2. Has the author used a new and perfect word that you love?
    3. How has the author structured sentences, paragraphs and even their whole story?
    4. Do you like the author’s writing style? If so, why? If not, why?

The wonderful thing about reading is that with minimal effort, it will improve your life and make you a better writer without you even noticing it. This learning takes place subconsciously, remaining just below the surface until you need it, when it will miraculously spring forth onto the page in your writing.

I’d like to leave you with a quote from American author William Faulkner, who won the 1949 Nobel Prize in Literature. I hope his words will motivate you to stop the excuses and start reading:

“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”

Natasha Redcliffe is the English Copywriter of Cicero & Bernay Public Relations. An independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai and offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the GCC. | www.cbpr.me