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Three tips on reading to write, Editor's Notes #106
September 15, 2011
Hello,

Read the best books first,
or you may not have a chance to read them at all.

--Henry David Thoreau


In this issue:

1. Three tips for reading to write
2. Changes coming to Writer's Helper
3. Tickled my funnybone
4. Interesting Web site

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1. Three tips for reading to write
Reading forms a vital part of a writer's diet. If we are what we eat, we write what we read. Some writers resist reading lest they lose their unique voice. This is as illogical as a person who won't eat because he doesn't want to look like a carrot. Internally, we change what we've read and make it our own just as we take in food and digest it to strengthen our bodies.

Given that none of us has unlimited time, when, what, and how we read matters. Here are three tips for reading to write.

1. Read every day
Set aside some time every day to read. No excuses. Even ten minutes per day will get you through any book over time.

Reading needn't be solitary. Our family read books together, each person passing the book on to another reader when a voice became hoarse or when the reader choked from laughing or crying.

2. Read a variety of excellent writing
First, make sure that most of your reading time is spent with books of excellent quality. We thrive physically when we eat good quality food. It's the same with reading.

Vary your diet. Everyone has favourites, but it's good to try new things. If you love poetry, read a book on how to do something you know nothing about. If you can't put down sci-fi, read a great cookbook. Read the sales copy of a really expensive ad. Ask your local librarian for the best titles in a given genre and go for it!

3. Read mindfully
Paying attention to your food while you eat actually makes your body healthier. This goes double for reading. I try to read with a pencil in my hand. In the margins, I make comments or write questions to myself or the author. I underline apt phrases and bits of beautiful language. These are easier to find later if I've marked them.

What and how are you reading? Consider posting a gem or two on https://www.facebook.com/WritersHelperEditor. I have been posting some of what I'm reading there. It would be great to hear the best of what others are reading, like a pot luck for gourmands.

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2. Changes coming to Writer's Helper
In the near future, Writer's Helper will have a new look. There will be a new image at the top of the pages on the Web site that will include the new tag line, "Soft on writers. Tough on text." The tag line emphasizes how I help you become a better writer. The updated photo shows what I look like now. A new layout will make finding your way around the site easier.

I'm telling you now so you won't click away from the site when you revisit your favourite pages thinking you've landed in the wrong spot.

The plan is to use a similar color scheme to the one you are used to, which should help to reduce the shock factor. And of course, all the good content that is on the site now, stays there to be joined by new items.

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3.Tickled my funnybone
Would writing with a broken pencil be pointless?

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4. Interesting Web site
If you don't have time to read, listen. You can hear free short stories read well at Short Story Radio.
http://www.shortstoryradio.com/

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Join Writer's Helper Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/WritersHelperEditor

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