I'll confess; I hate reading science journals. I'm fascinated by everything in them, but my mind wanders. But if I were writing for one, or for anybody else, articles in the appropriate style would be at the top of my reading list. Whatever you're reading, you're increasing your command of the language, and that helps with all of your writing. If your job or your major or your assignments require you to write, then the "write a lot" half of the writing equation takes care of itself. But the "read a lot" half requires more effort.
I read 48-ish books in 2016, and as of May 20th, I'd read 13 in 2017. I'm not bragging; I'm just saying that I'm passionate about the "read a lot" part of the writing equation. I love stories. I thrive on them. I can't write a fictional story yet - essays are more my thing - but maybe some day I'll have read enough stories to begin generating my own.
I think we all thrive on stories. Our culture is built on stories - true ones, mostly true ones, and ones that are purely fabricated. We have the story of Columbus's "discovery" of America, which is at least a little bit true. We have stories of Jesus, or Mohammad, or Buddha. We have stories by a variety of authors, like Eric Larson, Joss Whedon, Stephen King, Charlotte Brontë, Oliver Sacks, or Neil Gaiman.
Before the days of TV and movies, the only ways to get your "story fix" were to read or to listen to oral history passed down by grandparents, teachers, or bards. It's not that we've stopped craving stories. We've just shifted to a more passive form of obtaining them - through movies and TV. In a way, RPGs (online and live) have created a resurgence in active storytelling; the player must become part of the story.
Here's how I accomplish the "read a lot" part of the writing equation. Every time I'm in the car alone, and often when I'm with my kiddo too, I'm listening to an audio book. If I'm puttering on my phone with a puzzle game, I'm listening to an audio book. I have books littered about my house; whatever chair I find myself in, there's a book nearby. If you've followed the steps in my post on creating time and you make reading accessible wherever you go, you may find that it's easier than you think!
Do you like to read? Why or why not? What do you read? Do you have a favorite reading spot? Comment below - I'd love to hear from you.
Next week, we're going to shift gears and get technical with a series about visualization of data. Looking forward to seeing you then!