Read more, write better
Sharing is caring, so today I bring you some of the places I visit every week to find good reads.
Writing well is no easy feat. It takes—in no particular order—skill, attention to detail and talent. It can be a painstaking process of drafting and revising and editing. And even then, it's a wonderfully infuriating process in which there is always room for improvement.
The good news is that reading extensively helps you become a better writer.
Instead of delving into the classics or the latest releases to hit the stands, I'll use this blog post to talk about some of my favourite online reading resources. Here are five publications offering essays, short stories and journalistic pieces, which consistently have me thinking: Damn, I wish I could write like that!
The New Yorker
Perhaps an obvious one to start with, the New Yorker is well worth the monthly subscription fee. That said, new articles are made available frequently for free, and the archive is worth delving into, especially if you filter by contributor. To start off, I'd suggest looking into the hilarious short story writer Simon Rich and the incomparable and equally hilarious David Sedaris.
This venerable magazine (first published in 1857!) is generous in its archive offering, and specialises in powerfully written think pieces. Did you know, for example, that the prestige of the diamond engagement ring was a clever marketing ploy designed to revive the failing diamond industry by those holding the Western monopoly on the trade? I certainly didn't, until I came across Have You Ever Tried to Sell a Diamond?, and was blown away by the piece.
Make a nice cup of coffee (or tea, I don't discriminate) and settle into some thought-provoking pieces from Longform, especially if you want to read investigatory or historical articles.
And for those without the time to settle into a long read with a hot drink, try Medium. To cater to our time-pressured schedules and/or fickle attention spans, Medium even goes as far as specifying how many minutes each piece takes to read! I recommend signing up for their daily (or weekly) digest. Simply tell Medium your areas of interest (politics, entrepreneurship, parenting, etc.) and Medium will deliver the articles to your inbox.
For writers with an eye for wry self-deprecation, McSweeney's is a print and online publisher with a rich catalogue of humorous essays and other short pieces. Start here with the 50 most read pieces—although if you're a word-nerd like me, start off at No.12 with Seven Bar Jokes Involving Grammar and Punctuation.
So there we have a few of my favourites. I hope you enjoy. As always, feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments section below.