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Read a lot

It doesn’t matter what you choose to pick up. Every article, book, Facebook post has its lessons. Perhaps more often than not the bad books can teach us the most, showing us a writer who falls in love with a certain phrase or word and overuses it.

Good writing teaches a writer about style, grace, dialog and how to organize a piece. You cannot hope to produce great writing until you read it and have been lost in it yourself.

Sometimes you may find yourself adopting a style you are reading. When I read Anne Morrow Lindbergh I find my pieces becoming more mysterious and serene. When I read opinion pieces I become skeptical, almost too negative in my work.

As reading is the center of a writer’s life, it is easier than ever to carry a book everywhere you go, on your cell phone or Kindle. But don’t forget to get back to reading in long stretches. Audio books on long trips count too.

Still if there’s no fun in the reading, what good is it? When you find something at which you are talented, you will do it until you just can’t keep your eyes open anymore. This goes for dancing, playing a sport or hobby. You feel like you just can’t get enough. Plus, the more you read, the less likely you are to embarrass yourself when you actually put your pen on your paper and begin.

 

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