Writers need to make time to read.
If you’re a freelance writer like me, you can get so absorbed in your writing business that you forget about reading anything that isn’t related to your business. This isn’t a good thing for the writer in you.
Why do writers need to read?
Reading is fuel for your writing engine. Don’t limp along, running on fumes.
If you’re a professional writer of any sort, whether you’re writing books, personal essays, or opinion columns, or ghostwriting for a blog, etc., you need to be reading.
You need good input going into your head, through your language processor, and into your memory banks. Good input seeping into your sensibility, your thought patterns, and your linguistic awareness of expression. You need to have good input going in so that your output is better. The more you read the better it will be.
You need to see words on a page and how they’re strung together, to sit with things that you’re reading and reflect upon them, let them sink in. You should come across words that you don’t normally come across, rhythms and sentence structures that are not the same old stuff. Writing for the web is great, but it’s a specific type of writing. A broader horizon will benefit you.
When you’re looking at good writing, you’re getting the best version of a thought that someone could present to you.
A caveat: I’m not talking about reading forums on Reddit. I’m talking about edited work that has been through an editorial process, whether it’s via traditional publishing houses or the newspaper desk. I cannot stress enough the importance of reading high-quality material.
How to find time to read
Like anything in life, you’ve got to prioritize reading and make time for it. This is easier for some lifestyles than others, I know.
But if you don’t have lots of chunks of free time in your schedule, then the “scheduling time” aspect is necessary. And it’s not indulgent self care. Reading for writers, again, is necessary.
If you’re having a hard time coming up with source material, the banned books list is actually full of really wonderfully written novels to choose from. Here’s a link to the top 100 banned books of the past decade: https://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/decade2019
How to improve writing through reading
As a writer, one of the most important things you can do to sharpen and refine your writing skills is read. Besides reading good books, you can read great samples of the kind of writing work you’re doing or want to do.
Make time to read high-quality blog posts if you’re mainly writing blog posts. Find two or three blogs that you know are good. Some suggestions are the ones on Smart Blogger and Copy Hackers. If you want to start writing case studies, start looking for case studies and read them.
If you want to write really good sales copy, start looking for stellar sales copy. Look for sales copy for offers that are selling. There are a couple of ways you can tell if an offer is selling:
- word of mouth
- clicking on all the different Facebook ads you get. See how many comments are on the ads, especially ads for info products. If there are lots of comments, that means the ad is profitable, which means that the offer is selling.
To read more on improving your writing skills, see my post How To Improve Your Writing Skills.
If you need help getting great writing samples for your portfolio, I have a course called Clips Camp.
It’s a three-week course for new and advanced new freelance writers who want to get started with high-paid client work. If you’re on Upwork or Fiverr and miserable, if you haven’t even done anything to get started and you don’t know what the first step is, then Clips Camp is for you.
I teach you how to put together a solid portfolio of writing samples that position you as the kind of awesome writer that awesome clients want to hire. If you want in on that or you just want more information, go to clipscamp.com.