If you read more, you’ll have more ideas for your own writing, which means you’ll likely write more. And you’ll probably write better, too.
You’re essentially more likely to avoid writer’s block and be a better writer if you read more.
I’m always asked how I have a seemingly never-ending list of ideas for things to write about. The simple answer to this: I read a lot. And I think critically about what I read. As I read, I think about how I can expand on the subject I’m reading about. I ask questions about what I’m reading that create great ideas for things to write about. And I write all of these questions and ideas down on a rolling list.
In short, if you want to write more, you need to read more. I know right now it might seem like there’s never enough time in the day to read, especially if you’re using some of your time to write. But, there is more time to read than you might realize. You just have to incorporate reading into your current daily lifestyle and routine until it becomes a part of your daily life.
Six ways to read more to write more
While all of the items on this list may not work for you, or get you to read more, some of them will.
- Schedule your reading time every day. Read for at least one hour per day, every day. Read while you eat lunch. Read during your commute if you aren’t driving and consider listening to audiobooks if you do drive (note that a thirty-minute commute one way adds up to an hour each day). Read while you’re waiting for everyone to get home before dinner. Read while you work out at the gym. Read for an hour right before bed. The trick is to schedule your hour of daily reading around something you already do each day, every day. You know you’ll eat and sleep each day, for example.
- Read one chapter or fifty pages of a book for every episode of a show you watch. Read fifty pages of a book, then as a reward, watch an episode of a show you enjoy. Over time you’ll notice that you don’t watch as much television and you’ll often prefer to read instead.
- Select reading material you enjoy reading. While in school, you have to read a lot of things you don’t enjoy. Not anymore. Pick things to read that spark your interest and keep you engaged.
- Diversify your reading material. Read anything and everything to stay creative–novels, memoirs, self-help books, magazines, blogs, etc. As long as you’re reading things that spark your interest, and thinking critically about what you read, you’ll always have a list of things to write about. Plus, you’ll never get burned out or bored of a topic, or particular medium.
- Download reading apps on your phone so you always have something to read. Here are the apps I have for reading materials on my phone currently: Kindle, Libby, Scribd, The New York Times, The Washinton Post, NPR, WordPress, and Medium. Read books and articles on your phone instead of scrolling through your social media feeds for hours.
- Be prepared to read anywhere and everywhere. If you have apps on your phone with reading materials, you don’t need a physical book with you in order to read whenever you get an unexpected pocket of time to read. For example, you might find you have some unexpected time pop up while you’re waiting for your kids at school or practice. Or while you’re waiting at a doctor’s office or for a meeting to start. Etc.
If you want to write more, you need to read more. Otherwise, you’re much more likely to encounter writer’s block, or not write as well as you could be writing. So follow one of the tips on the list above to get started reading more today.
Let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page if you have a helpful tip for reading more, too!