Building habits to be a better writer: read daily

Friday, January 20, 2017
by Lisa Manni Juniper

It’s no coincidence that the best writers we know are also avid readers. When we read, we unconsciously pick up on the vocabulary, phrasing, structure, and flow in what’s being read. When we read lots, we’re essentially learning a wide repertoire of writing techniques which we internalize and later use in our own writing. So, an obvious logical step towards improving one’s writing is simply to read more.

Aside from being an excellent tool to improve language and writing skills, reading can be a very enjoyable experience, assuming you’re interested in what you’re reading. It doesn’t have to be a chore, and most people know this; if you’re like me, perhaps you used to read lots of novels when you were younger but read far less now, due to time constraints and other responsibilities in your adult life. So how can you fall back in love with reading?

Find a genre you enjoy

The possibilities are endless when choosing reading material, so narrow it down by what you’re interested in. I like to do this using an entertainment vs. informative approach, where I choose books/articles that I think I will find entertaining (i.e. I love sci-fi and fantasy novels) or informative (i.e. I enjoy philosophical classics such as Nietzche, Sartre, etc.). Likewise, don’t feel pressured to finish reading something you’ve started but aren’t enjoying. There’s nothing wrong with quitting a book you don’t like – just move on to something that you do.

explorer walking into a book


● Set aside time for reading – be deliberate

Adding another to-do item to your already busy day can seem overwhelming, but setting aside time for yourself will help you commit to actually sitting down and reading. A lot of people including myself prefer to read in the evening or before bed, because it helps them unwind after a long day and helps you fall asleep faster. 


● Find your pace but be consistent

You don’t need to read an entire novel a day to reap the benefits of reading. Whether it’s two hours or twenty minutes, the important part is that you stick with it. As with any type of habit forming, working reading into your routine will require some persistence, but chances are you’ll start to look forward to it if you’ve found something you enjoy.

● Track your progress

 There’s something incredibly satisfying about finishing a long novel and putting it on a shelf alongside others you’ve read. Like a trophy collection, keeping a collection of the books you’ve read can serve as a pleasant reminder of all the stories and knowledge you’ve absorbed, which can motivate you to read more. Whether it’s a bookshelf, or logging your favourite novels into a website like Goodreads, keeping track of what you’ve read is a great way to keep you reading.