This is something you’ll hear EVERYWHERE, so I apologize if it sounds a bit clichéd. I think I’ve even posted on the importance of reading more, but it’s so fundamental to your skills as a writer that I’m going to repeat it in this issue of Writing Mistakes.
One of the silliest mistakes you can make as a writer–content copywriter, a novel writer, comic book writer, or marketing writer–is not reading enough. Why is this?
You’re no doubt good at something right now, but how did you get those skills? It doesn’t matter whether you’re a skilled skateboarder, a video game champion, or a top-level advertising executive, you had to learn from something and someone. You studied, watched videos, and exposed yourself to as much material as possible in order to expand your skills.
The same is true with writing!
When you write, you have your own style, the way you write RIGHT NOW. You may think that your current writing style works, and so you live in your own little bubble of how you believe things should be done.
However, when you limit yourself to your own skills and expertise, you stagnate. You end up regurgitating the same swill over and over, never really learning or trying anything new.
And then you crack open a book, and a whole new world is opened up to you. You not only read a new story with new twists and plots, but you experience a new writing style. You encounter things that you like and want to emulate, as well as things you hate and want to avoid. By the end of that book, your writing style has changed slightly–hopefully for the better!
Basically, you need to read more in order to see how good writers write. Your style may be good, but why not make it great or AWESOME? To really improve your skills as a writer, you need to start expanding your knowledge base and reading more.
Are you a novelist? Pick up novels not just within your genre, but in other genres you’d never write about as well. Are you a copywriter? Look at copy written by the top experts in your field and see how they write engaging content. Are you a graphic novelist? Read more comics to see how the big dogs (Marvel, DC, BOOM, etc.) do it.
The more you read, the more versatile you become as a writer. It’s just that simple!