This week’s tip? Read. Read everything—books, magazines, blogs, instruction manuals. And don’t just read the stuff you normally read. Expand your horizons. If you’re like me and like historical fiction, try science fiction. If you only read the newspaper, try a fantasy novel. Reading expands your vocabulary, introduces you to different writing styles, and forces you to look at the world from a different perspective.
And if you want some books about writing, these are my favorites:
On Writing Well by William Zinsser
This is a great book full of practical advice for every type of writing.
On Writing by Stephen King
Confession: I’m too squeamish to read Stephen King. Watching Harry Potter is enough to give me nightmares some days. But this is not like his novels. It’s full of great advice (and a few swear words).
The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
I. Love. Annie. Dillard. Sometimes I have no idea what she’s talking about, but she writes so well. I want to write like Annie Dillard when I grow up. Need proof that she’s as fantastic as I say she is? Here’s just one sentence from The Writing Life:
Why are we reading if not in hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage, and the possibility of meaningfulness, and will press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so we may feel again their majesty and power?