Let’s say you want to become a better writer. You know you should practice writing more (I can hear you saying “duh” right now, so hang with me here). More ideas, more words, more often.
But did you know you should also read more?
Yep. It’s true. Scientific studies like this one show that the there is a dramatic increase in blood flow to certain regions of the brain while reading, suggesting that the “coordination of multiple complex cognitive functions” are at play. In other words, your brain is building (metaphoric) muscle while you read.
Reading gives you practice at seeing and “hearing” other writers’ words, allowing your brain to absorb that information, store it, and reflect on it. And the subject doesn’t necessarily need to be related to your own writing; whether you’re reading historical fiction or today’s business news doesn’t really matter. What matters is your attention to it.
So if you’re not already well-stocked with reading material, head on out to the library or bookstore and get to it! Read what you enjoy, read what challenges you – read what makes you hungry for more. Your writing will thank you.