If writing lets you touch other’s soul, then reading allows you to touch yours. The habit of reading is that blessed pastime and passion that lets you travel in a world created by the author. Reading is life, that is what I always emphasize. Emerging and young writers often ask me the secrets of becoming a good writer. My reply to all of them is to read as much as you can. If practice makes a man perfect, then reading makes a writer perfect in expression and style, sentence structure, grammar and tense usage.
Your mind attunes with the author’s or writer’s expression and style, allowing you to understand which style you should follow. Although a writer or author’s signature style differentiates them from the rest, it is evident that during the early or rookie years, a writer’s expression is adapted from another writer. Over the years, and after writing much, the writer develops his/her own style that becomes the signature style.
To develop your writing skills and sentence structure, it is imperative for you to read the editorials and opinion articles of English-language newspapers. These two write-ups and especially the editorial are written with facts, sharing the writer’s opinion, by using clear and concise vocabulary discussing the topic in discussion with short sentences that stay focused over the topic. Reading opinion articles is also a must to improve your writing since such articles state the writer’s opinion over a topic in his/her own style, helping you to develop yours.
Reading daily news also lets you develop a sense of how to articulate your facts and messages in your write-up with minimal words and maximum impact. Similarly, to become a good writer reading books – fiction, non-fiction – is important. While reading, the mind subconsciously and more than often consciously retains certain words, sentences and the author’s expression that surface when you are writing, helping to use it in your writing for value addition. Moreover, reading gives your mind the wings to fly into the world of literature where the sentences and the author’s message become the foundation on which you can build your writing empire.
If you aim at becoming a good writer, then develop a habit of reading every book, magazine, newspaper, print and online publication you can get hold of. Reader’s Digest, TIME, and Foreign Policy are my personal favorite magazines for their articles are written with the perfect vocabulary whereby discussing maximum facts with minimum words. From Pakistan, the editorial and opinion articles along with international news of all leading English-language newspapers is a must.
Reading is a two-way tool. One, it lets you develop your writing style, broadens your mind with vivid imagination and facts, and second, it is a source of research. And as every writer’s goal is to write well-researched articles, therefore, reading becomes a writer’s best friend.
I hope these tips will help you become a good writer.