How to be a better writer: read!

Being a better writer is not always about writing. Sometimes it’s about reading.

You read every day. It might be emails, newspapers, websites, reports from colleagues, a novel; you might be reading the blurb for a film or the instructions for how to prepare your ready meal.

Whatever it is, someone is trying to send you a message.  The question is how well are they doing?

Instead of absorbing the information as quickly as possible, assess it with a critical eye.

Did you shake your head, baffled by those instructions and decide to wing it? Did you give up half way through the report? Abandon the email and decide you only really needed to know the subject line?

Well make those moments work for you.  Decide why you stopped reading. Were the sentences too complicated? Was the language impenetrable? What should the writer have done differently?

Or, and this is harder, when you find you’ve raced through something, taken in the information and, even, enjoyed it, stop. Go back and analyse what the writer has done to achieve that effect.

Don’t just read. Read like a writer.

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