By migramirez - October 4, 2013

By Molly Dougherty, The Writing Center -  One of the things I’m always advising students to do to improve their writing is simply reading. “But Maven,” you say, “I have no time for non-school-related reading.”  Oh piffle, says the Maven.  Everyone has time to read a timely article on an interesting subject written by some of the best writers in the country.  And no, I’m not talking about Us Weekly. I’m talking about The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The Atlantic, and The Economist. is a site that aggregates high quality journalism into one convenient spot.  Many of their picks are timely, but sometimes they dig down into their archives for an old piece that will knock your socks off.  Reading something other than a textbook or other material related to your field gives your mind a place to roam, shakes out the cobwebs. When you choose an article, do more than just passively let the words flow into your brain. CHEW ON IT. Look for words you’ve never heard of, notice how the writer uses patterns and punctuation to create a sense of mood, time and place. While you won’t be writing in the style of say, David Grann (Why is that name familiar? I know! The Maven’s mentioned him before — maybe I should look him up!) reading that highly evolved, immaculately structured prose will burrow into your synapses and enrich your mental landscape in ways you’re not even aware of. And while it may not be QUANTIFIABLE (sorry, epi/biostat folks!) it does work. In this and in all things, trust The Maven. [fblike][tweet][pinit][gplus]