In today’s digital world, good writing is becoming more important–not less. Don’t believe me? Think of how many blogs you read in any given day. Sure, video blogs and podcasts are important parts of the digital landscape, but the blog is still king. Some people blog for fun, others to establish themselves as experts or to boost their SEO. Whatever your reason for writing, there are only two things that will make you a better writer. The first is a given: write. Write often, even if you don’t think it’s very good. Just get your fingers on the keys. But the second path to great writing is often overlooked: reading.

If you ever hope to be even an adequate writer, you must be a voracious reader. Not just blogs, either, though they’re a great resource. But books, whether they’re on an e-reader or on good old-fashioned paper, are critical. Read business books, but don’t limit yourself: read classics, read silly books. Just read.

Why is reading so critical to your writing success? When you read, you come to understand what good (and bad) writing looks like. You see how words have a life all their own, a flow and rhythm as your eye moves across the page. You can expand your vocabulary by seeing words in context.

But perhaps most importantly, reading opens your eyes to new ideas, new ways of thinking, new sources of inspiration. Reading can pry you out of your rut, and change your writing from a chore into a pleasure. Yes, you’re busy. It’s hard to find time to read. Just take a few minutes a day to flip a few pages. It’ll do you a world of good.

What are you reading?