Reading is an exercise that trains and builds writing muscles.
Physical exercise strengthens our muscles and helps us in our daily movements. Similarly, reading helps us to strengthen our writing muscles and makes our words flow well.
It is never easy to be a voracious reader especially when we are entangled in our daily life challenges. However, it is still a great effort to read whenever we have the time.
Today I will share useful methods that help me to maximize the benefits of reading.
Make Reading A Meditation
We might have learned that when we chew our foods slowly, it gets well- digested and absorbed into the body. Keeping that in mind, I stopped reading too fast and rushing through the words every time. Reading fast makes me feel like ‘running to catch the last train to my destination.’ I realized that I loved every bit of my reading time when I slowed down my reading speed.
When I read slowly, I was able to pay more attention to the story and taste every word. I read slowly to understand the thoughts and feelings of the writers and reflect on how their muse inspires them.
Reading with love, makes me comprehend meanings with clarity and it activates my writing muscles. I am not saying reading fast is totally wrong. But when we have the time, it is always good to read in a relaxed and calm manner.
I believe if we love what we do, we will do it more willingly and consciously. A minute of conscious reading is still better than an hour of inattentive skimming. This method of reading is a meditation to me, as it keeps me in the present moment.
Connect Weekly With Your Favorite Types of Stories
Spend time reading stories related to your areas of speaking and writing interests. It can be a topic that you like to learn and talk about. My top favorite stories are about spirituality. I always like to read enlightening spiritual stories.
Next, read a story that is related to the type of work you are doing. I read stories related to helping humanity and providing human services, as my professional background is in counseling and social work.
Of course, we can always explore different stories to grow our knowledge. However, if we are battling with time, then it is good to apply this method of reading.
I trust these methods of reading would grow our skills and knowledge in professional work and writing.
When reading, observe and pay attention to the writing skills of the writer. Every writer has a unique style and is a source of inspiration. For writers, reading is not only about getting life lessons but also receiving writing lessons.
Observing thoughts, feelings, actions and situations in a story is a special set of skills. A writer reads and observes for the purpose of contributing positive lessons to the world. An observant writer builds the ability to deliver beautiful and inspiring messages that lift spirits.
You might ask how to simultaneously enjoy a story and observe writing skills. I understand that this is challenging for some of us. I usually set a separate time to study the writing skills of writers. This helps me to gain maximum benefits from reading. For example, read the story today to learn about life lessons, and the next day read it again to study the writing skills.
Switch and Shock Methods
Many of us don’t enjoy reading all stories. It is part of our human nature. We choose to continue reading a story unless it intrigues us or gratifies our needs.
We should be aware that stories that appear boring might sometimes hold vital information that we need. One way to inspire us to read a story that doesn’t interest us is knowing about the ‘positive effects of shocking our writing muscles.’ Let me share an example from physical workouts.
I learned from a friend who is a fitness coach that switching workouts will ‘shock muscles.’ Shocking muscles will trigger new levels of strength and growth. For example, if we are doing squats for a long time and then we progressively switch to lunges, our muscles ‘are shocked.’ These changes will help us gain fresh levels of strength and development in our targeted muscles.
Similarly…if we constantly switch from reading an interesting story to a boring one, we would trigger fresh levels of writing strengths.
If we have no time to switch reading patterns, we could read any story that first catches our attention. If we feel bored halfway, we can take a break and come back to read it again when we have the time. This is a great way to exercise those writing muscles.
The Power Of Notes
Most of us do this, we take down notes. These notes could be from our own writings, past readings or some useful and inspiring words from great souls.
I keep my notes on my laptop, mobile device and books. Our lives are filled with words, isn’t it? However, after some time, we don’t refer back to our notes and our notes remain buried and unattended for years. We need to ‘dig back those treasures.’
One method I consistently practice is, I read through my old notes every month. It is like going back to your old workouts after doing the new ones for some time. This method spices up reading moments. You may give it a try and you will be surprised at how every word beckons to manifest as a new story. This method bursts a writer’s heart with creativity. It is even good for overcoming writer’s block.
Three Useful Steps to Remember…
We can apply these three simple steps when we read.
First Step: Do a warm-up reading. For example, read one time at moderate speed to know the gist of the story.
Second Step: Do meditative reading. Read slowly and consciously to absorb important lessons for life.
Third Step: Read again at your own pace to observe and learn writing skills.
Love and enjoy your reading time. When you have time, read slowly and calmly to love and enjoy every bit of the story.
Connect with stories that are related to your interests and profession every week.
Set a separate time to read and observe the writing skills of writers.
To strengthen those writing muscles, switch reading patterns from interesting stories to stories that bore you.
Remember to read your old notes once a month to activate those creative energies in you.
Read to know the gist of the story, read meditatively and read for the writing lessons.
Thank you for reading my insights.