Improve Your Writing with Daily Critical Reading

by Suzannah Freeman

Man wearing socks reading

Sometimes, between writing and all the other responsibilities we have (work, children, home), it seems nearly impossible to find extra time for reading.

But, without regular reading, our writing progress will stall.

If you want to continue to improve your writing, make reading a part of your daily routine. That might mean giving up watching television sometimes, or skipping your Facebook routine at night.

Make a weekly trip to the library

Using the library will save you time and money when it comes to finding reading material. Just think of all those books at your fingertips—completely free! The best part is that most libraries allow you to sign out a lot of items at once (my town’s public library allows up to 25), which means you can take home more items than necessary and have a variety to choose from.

If you’re in a rush, grab an armful of random books, sign them out, and decide which ones you’ll read later when you have time.

Read a variety of texts

You’re not limited to books—throw magazines, newspapers, blogs, poetry, and audio books into the mix to keep things fresh. On days when you have less time, a few blog posts or a newspaper might be just the thing. When you have a rainy afternoon to yourself, or at night before bed, you might prefer to dig into a novel.

Keep a reading journal

Make yourself a monthly reading chart where you can record what you read each day. This will help keep you honest and notice any patterns in your reading habits.

Record the name of what you read, the type of text, and what you learned from it. Writing things down helps solidify them in your mind, so you’re more likely to remember that important tidbit you read last week if you took the time to record it. Plus, you can always go back through your journal later to refresh your memory.

Do you make a habit of reading every day? Do you favor books, magazines, newspapers, or blogs, etc.? What important writing lessons have you learned from reading?

Today’s Challenge: Set aside a block of time (at least 30 minutes) each day of the week specifically for reading.

About the Author: Suzannah Windsor Freeman is the founder of Write It Sideways, a blog where writers learn new skills, define their goals, and increase their productivity. She is co-founder of the Better Writing Habits challenge.

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  • Eporter70

    Well, I definitely am a news and blog reader but I find I don’t read nearly as many novels as I once did. I miss it.

    • I didn’t read much when I was working full time. It’s wonderful getting to spend more time reading novels now that I’m a stay-at-home mom!

  • Thewriterstuff

    It was so much easier for me to find reading time when my commute to work was longer. When I lived in NY I read on the train. Great way to tune out the drama that is the NYC subway. I read from many sources but not as much as I’d like. I recently decided that at any moment I want to be reading a novel and a non-fiction book along with the magazines, newspaper, blogposts I read each day.

  • Tylerdonna

    I can’t make it through a day without reading … I read while I”m putting on my makeup, at meals if I’m not eating with anyone else, and before I go to sleep at night, even if it’s only for 5 minutes b/c I’m so exhausted. I try to have a highlighter or pen handy to underline great phrases, metaphors, ideas, etc. I tried a reading journal but wasn’t good at keeping it up, but now use my LinkedIn Reading List feature to at least note what I’m reading & if I recommend it.

  • The Red Angel

    Yes I do make a habit of reading everyday. =D Granted, majority of my reading lies in all of my college textbooks, but I also enjoy reading magazines, blogs (duh), and the newspaper. I love getting acquainted with different types of writing, it really lets me analyze the English language and sentence structure on different levels. And in that way, it helps me improve my own writing in the long run.


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  • R Lazum

     That was really good informations about reading and writing.

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