Part 1: The magical power of reading
My father read Roald Dahl books to me as a child and my all-time favourite was Matilda — the story of a five-year-old girl who reads voraciously and mysteriously develops the power of telekinesis. In my young mind I imagined that by reading enough, people might actually be able to develop superpowers.
In hindsight, I don’t think I was entirely wrong.
As Head of English Content at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, I read as much as I write. I would even go so far as to say that without reading, I can’t write and neither can you. Reading has an almost magical connection with writing, and for copywriters and content developers it is an indispensable habit for five reasons:
1. Know-how: Copywriters are expected to be well informed and capable of writing content about sectors or subjects of which they have no prior knowledge. Neither is possible without reading.
2. Style: By reading, copywriters absorb a wider vocabulary and internalise the rules that govern writing, such as grammar, punctuation and structure. In short, reading refines writing style.
3. Inspiration: One of the only ways to escape a blank page is to read, whether it’s reading more about the subject to gain fresh insights, or veering entirely off topic to find new angles.
4. Variety: Copywriters need to switch between different writing styles in the blink of an eye and sometimes it’s hard to make the jump, but reading can help to jolt you into the correct voice.
5. Relief: At some point in your career as a copywriter, you will despair at the thought of writing one single word more. A good article or book is your best friend at this moment.
So, when was the last time you read a book, a short story, an article or even a full social media caption from end to end?
If your answer to that question makes you feel a little sheepish or guilty, then I hope I can help in the next part of my blog, where I’ll be sharing some simple tips about how you can get back into the reading habit and see your writing skills flourish as a result.
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