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If you want to write, then you have to read

There has always been a correlation between reading and writing but I wonder how many of us really put together that if you want to write and write better, then you have to read and read more! Think back to when you were taught to read and write, was the connection between the two made explicit. Perhaps it was just implied? But it wasn’t until we thought about writing this blog that the penny dropped. We then came across this quote by author Stephen King, who said,

“If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write.”

Reading affects writing and writing affects reading. Research has found that when we read extensively, we become better writers. Also reading a variety of genres can help us learn text structures and language that we then transfer to our own writing. Since writing is the act of transmitting knowledge in print, we must have information to share before we can write it. Reading, therefore, gives us knowledge that we can use in our stories. That’s logical right?

It’s also really simple to pick up a book…isn’t it? When was the last time you read? And we are not talking newspapers (or our blogs – though we hope these are keeping you coming back for more!) We are talking literature, novels and short stories – the kind of books you pick up for pleasure. We here at MindBody Publishing of course love to read. We treasure finding those moments of calm to just sit, to just be, and to be transported wherever our book wants to take us. In today’s busy landscape it is truly a heavenly to escape for a while and have – which we really love – that feeling of missing our favourite characters long after we’ve finished the book. But enough romanticising – are you making time to read?

It is a popular reading misconception that you need large chunks of time to read. You don’t. If you read for just 20 minutes a day you could average 18 books in a year. If you increased that to 30 minutes a day you can read about 40–50 books in a year. Imagine that! So now you know the why, here’s the how. Where do we find those 20 minutes a day. By making just a few tweaks, you’ll be surprised how much dead time you can put to good reading use.

1. Make a list of books you always wanted to read

We all have a couple of books that we wanted to read throughout the years but never got around to actually do it. Now is the time to remember them and put them all on a list. Having a to-read list can work wonders when it comes to turning your plans into reality and always be excited for the next read.

3. Always have a book to hand

Another important part of making your goal to read for 20 minutes a day a reality is, unsurprisingly, the convenience. The easier you make things for yourself, the greater the chances of achieving your goal. To avoid missing out on reading sessions, make sure to always have your book handy, you never know when the opportunity for a quick reading session can arise.

4. Surround yourself with readers.

Seek out people in your life who are avid readers and lean into them because they can be valuable resources for your reading journey. If you don’t know any readers, consider joining an online book community or book club. The enthusiasm from readers is infectious, and the way they talk about reading and books can motivate you to read.

5. Participate in a reading challenge.

If you are goal-driven, consider participating in a reading challenge. You can set your own reading goal or join a library. Participating in a challenge is a great way to motivate you and hold yourself accountable.

Before long you may find that your 20-minute reading sessions will act as ‘gateways’. Gateways to wider interests and different genres. After a couple of 20-minute reading sessions, you will probably find yourself thinking “go on then just another minute” and before long you’ll probably need strategies to stop!

We hope you have fun forming that reading habit again. Let us know in the comments what book you decide to read next. Until next time.

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