[guest post by Tess Bercan]
Is writing a craft you are pursuing? Maybe you knew at the age of six that writing was your calling. Perhaps you love Stephen King, and know deep down that you want to emulate such suspense and greatness. For those who love communicating with the written word, you are well aware of its dual nature.
Creating something you feel proud of is intensely rewarding; however, it can also be quite the beast of burden. For many writers, finding inspiration can be key in hurdling over limitations. One main source of encouragement and guidance that you can easily hone in on is reading. Here’s how.
Soak Up Grammar, Style and Voice
Let’s say you are applying for a content media writing job, and they have asked you to submit a test article. Have a look at their website. Read it through carefully. Let the style, grammar choices, and voice sink in. Every website has a certain air and persona they are trying to portray. The company may want clean sentences with swift quips, or snarky and slightly jaded anecdotes. Let yourself be immersed in a different style, then give writing a go.
Make the Reading Engaging
Novelist and ghostwriter Roz Morris believes that in order to be an effective writer, it is crucial that you read. The written word is an act of seduction. It takes talent and practice to lure a reader into a space of non-thinking. You are using language, style, examples and stories to entice a reader into dropping their “to do” list and to engage in what you have to say. Whether it’s an article, novel or blog post, captivate your audience with a style that has worked on you.
Find Your Brand of Muse
As Morris states, “It’s essential to have a range of writers who make you raise your game. I’m always trying to improve my storytelling and my use of language, so I gather writers who will make me sweat for better words and imagery, and who seem to handle the reader effortlessly.”
An author who uses the word sumptuous to describe a glass of scarlet merlot may just get your taste buds salivating, mind reeling and writing engine pumping. The author’s words, whether in an article or story should inspire your appetite to always build and casually challenge you to try your hand at a unique form of expression.
Get in and Get Out
You are busy and have a lot on the go. Reading anything fully takes time. You may not always have the availability or interest to sit down and absorb an entire article about Why Your Website’s Internet Speed is Crucial for Success. Most likely, you are already aware of this fact. Rather than power through the whole article because you feel like you should, skim it and let relevant and helpful information sink in, while briefing over the rest. Take some key notes, and expand on what is necessary for your businesses’s improvement. There is no need to overload yourself with superfluous information.
Diversify Your Reading Selection
As Mark Zuckerberg famously mentioned in an interview with The Telegraph, he owns multiples of the same t-shirt. When Zuckerberg wakes up in the morning, he knows exactly what he is going to wear for the day. He does this in order to simplify and cut down on a surplus of decisions. This makes sense when relating to your closet’s variety. Often it would be a relief to wake up and not have to think about what color, texture, or pattern to pair with what. But in communication, diversity is unavoidable.
By nature, we humans are creatures of contrast, and your reading should be too. Skim through airline magazines, technical support guides, science fiction novels, pop culture articles, and classic literature. Not because you want to emulate them exactly, but because they are part of your world. You don’t have to read only what you want to write, but if you read a touch of everything, you can pull in new vocabulary and grammar that will inevitably expand your written communication abilities.
Write to be understood, speak to be heard, read to grow. –Lawrence Clark Powell