Since caving in to the lure of a Kindle, my personal goal has been to read 100 pages of literature every day. It’s something I recommend every blogger should consider.
If you run a blog, or produce any kind of web content, you should be reading regularly to enhance your own output. In fact, if you have any entrepreneurial instinct whatsoever, you will greatly improve your chances of success by reading regularly.
Most people accept that good writing comes from practice and lots of reading. What they often ignore is that bad writing is just as easy to inherit. Unfortunately, bad writing is a central trait of the blogosphere. It’s just as epidemic as the lack of actionable information, or the self-obsessed drivel regularly tossed out by writers with no journalistic qualities and not the slightest regard for being held accountable.
Blogs have become a staple part of our literary diets. While I’m a huge advocate of sharing information in this way, I think it’s a shame that so few bloggers actually take their writing seriously. It’s not just bloggers. Every day, I find websites scourged in bumbling copy that fails to communicate the author’s message.
So what’s the solution?
Not every blogger has the literary prowess to mug off Shakespeare in the style stakes. But I think we can all benefit from investing in a decent grammar handbook, and particularly by immersing ourselves in books that have been stamped for approval. You know that a book has been stamped for approval when you find it on a bookshelf, not on a Clickbank sales page.
Many of us have RSS readers loaded to the hilt with meaningless crap – often, horrifically written meaningless crap. Feasting on so much mediocre writing makes us susceptible to inheriting the flaws as our own.
In the business world, we say that the fastest way to achieve wealth is to spend your time in wealthy company. Well, let me tell you that the same applies for good writing.
We live in an age where tablets and smartphones make books as accessible as the nearest USB cable. How many hours do you spend commuting to work each day? How much television do you inflict on your weeping eyeballs? Cut down the crap. Get some literature in your life!
And not just any literature. Read books that challenge your imagination.
I’m currently indulging in a wide variety of genres from the brilliance of Orwell, to the science of Dawkins, with thousand-page-thick Psychology textbooks thrown in for good measure. Reading is a workout for the brain. If you’re not pushing yourself, you’re standing still. If you don’t sweat after a workout, it probably hasn’t been a great workout.
Blogs exist by rehashing the same nuggets of information in bite-size form. Most of that information comes from books, or worse, plucked from the blogger’s fat lying arse. Sites in the Internet Marketing space – hey, like this! – are notorious for providing reminders of the shit we should have done yesterday. They rarely deliver plans for tomorrow.
There’s little harm in that, but for two problems: the information can be extremely biased, and the writing often sets a bad example.
I’m not suggesting you sacrifice all blogs for a dingy afternoon in the library, although maybe you should. But we need to make an effort to escape our comfort zones and feed the brain some literature of a little more substance. Our brain will thank us duly with new inspiration, new ideas and a much tighter hold over the English language.
If you have a blog, or any kind of web presence, you can steal a beat on your rivals by learning to communicate more effectively. The best way to do this is to read, and a read a lot. Writing is a tool that will aid any business. But to master it, you must expose yourself to a variety of literature. Not just the crap – like this – that piles in to your reader.
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