Reading: A Non-Negotiable

I just finished a quite lengthy, but deeply profound article by Christopher Butler on Smashing Magazine on the current state of content and information in our world: Content: A Blessing, A Bubble, A Burden. The inundation of information (in particular, digital information) in our lives has reached climatic levels. Yet the quality, and usefulness, of that information has perhaps reached an all time low. As we create content, for business, product or idea promotion, or even for self expression, we are participating in this influx, striving to have our voice heard.  Whether on a website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, comments, reviews, updates, forums, etc, it all adds to the pile.

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Let us challenge ourselves to thoughtfully put ourselves out there, not blindly.

A starting foundation for such quality expression is the discipline of reading:

… there is no writing without reading. Perhaps better said, there is no good writing without reading. If you want to write, or need to write — the two need not be in agreement — then you must make reading a part of your life. (If you are thinking to yourself, “I don’t like to read,” then I promise you right now that’s not true; you just have yet to find what you like.)

Any aspiring writer, whatever their purpose, must actively seek out content, in any form, that covers the topics they’re interested in, even if they do not need to cover those topics in their writing. Reading is about exposing yourself to the ideas of others in order to enrich your own thinking — which need not be truly novel to merit writing about. There is an art to revealing ideas through the written word, one that good writers practice primarily with restraint, reserving the majority of their knowledge as an unwritten foundation for what they actually put to words — the tip of the iceberg. Because reading will supply much of the knowledge that makes up the background of your writing, it is indispensable.

I am convicted and inspired. I simply could not say it better myself.

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