Why Reading is Important for Freelance Writers

When I first started writing, reading wasn’t part of the plan.  

I just used to conduct research, write my content, and go on with life until my content manager gave me a topic, “becoming a Buddhist monk in lesser time.”

That topic shook me to my bones.

I had no idea how to become a monk, I had no freaking idea how to become a Buddhist monk. To crown it, I wasn’t a Buddhist. The practices were so strange.

I conducted my normal research but the subject seemed strange. I didn’t understand a word I read.

I had to begin active reading on the subject. I left researching to write to reading!

The idea was to first understand what the subject was about before attempting to write about it.

It took 48 hours of active reading to have a little grasp of the topic. And another 48 hours to write it. 

A total of 96 hours!

It was blood, sweat, soul, and life that were used to write that!

In all my years of freelancing, I haven’t had a repeat experience because I have formed a habit of daily reading.

That content ranked on the first page of Google for over 3 years.

I cannot overemphasize the importance of reading for freelance writers. It opens your mind and widens your imagination.

Don’t be caught on the bandwagon I was on! You will waste time!

Why Reading is Important for Freelance Writers

How does reading make you a better writer?

These are some of the ways reading can improve your freelance writing:

Improves your writing skills

For your writing skills to improve, your vocabulary must improve. You’ll learn words that make you express your thoughts clearly.

Reading exposes freelance writers to different topics and ideas that help them build vast knowledge on many topics.

When you read articles and books, you will come across new words, even old words that are used in a new context. Look up the definition and write it down in your vocabulary book, then practice the new word and its usage in your next writing.

Enhances Job Satisfaction

Every freelancer who has built himself through reading tends to create better quality work. This enhances the job satisfaction that his client gains from his work. His work will follow all the industry practices and rank on Google if he is a blogger.

Increased earning potential

As your writing skills improve, you can earn more. Once your work becomes more in demand, you can request more pay, and your client won’t refuse it.

When you invest in learning, you are investing in your future with higher earning potential.

Improves your creativity and imagination

Creativity and imagination are the hallmarks of writing. No matter the type of content you write—blog posts, fiction, scripts, or copies, you need creative skills.

Creativity helps writers come up with fresh and unique ideas that will freshen their content. And creativity is enhanced by reading. Reading the work of others opens you up to their creative genius and you can copy their uniqueness. I’d say copy but on a clean slate.

Gains exposure to perspectives

As a freelance writer, you may be required to create content for an audience you are accustomed to. Reading will help you here.

When you read from different authors who have worked for your target audience, you will gain perspective on the tone, language, and even vocabulary that will be befitting for them.

As a freelancer, you need to stay competitive in the marketplace, which is achieved by learning industry trends.

The writing industry is always evolving with new technologies, and reading exposes you to them.

For instance, recently, there has been a craze for AI content. It was as though anyone who isn’t using AI to generate content is long lost. But, the March Google update has banned the publishing of AI content on websites. High-ranking websites have been delisted from Google just because of AI content.

If you have not read the update, won’t you still be writing AI-generated content?

This industry needs to stay up-to-date more than other career paths.

Eliminates writer’s block

Every writer has experienced writer’s block at some point in their writing journey, where the creative juice stops flowing, and they run out of ideas. Reading is the only well-known cure for this.

Read the work of other writers to get back in the groove.

We don’t mean to read what is related to your writing; it can be unrelated. Just read anything that can give you the spark to continue. If it is related, it will give you a new perspective that will be beneficial.

It helps improve your critical thinking skills

To be called a good writer, you need to present ideas in the best way possible—reliable and convincing.

While reading other people’s work, you will develop a good sense of judgment on the credibility of the work and learn better ways to present facts and what not to do in your writing.

This is simply critical thinking. Critical thinking teaches you how to assess content to determine if it is good with accurate information or not.

Improves Memory and Concentration

Reading is a form of mental exercise that improves concentration.

It has been linked to intellectual growth, vocabulary, spelling, and math improvement.

Reading helps you retain information, and this is important for freelance writing.

Helps Explore Writing Styles

Every freelancer must learn to align his tone and voice to fit the brand voice while creating content for them.

While reading other writers, pay close attention to their style and tone of writing. Be keen to see how they relate to readers, as they are writing styles.

Combine different writing styles to create a unique voice for yourself.

Reduces Stress

I am a freelancer, and I can tell you for free that it is stressful.

If you have developed as a freelancer who doesn’t need reading to improve your writing style, do it as a therapeutic process to reduce stress.

Reading engages the mind and creates a meditative state that can reduce your heart rate, tension in the muscles, and stress levels.

Read, even if not to improve your writing prowess but to relax.

How Can I Get Better at Reading?

Prioritize your time

To build a good reading habit, you need to prioritize reading. We advise that you read daily.

Dedicate 10–20 minutes every day to reading. Read novels, articles, and content from other freelancers and magazines; keep reading!

You can also pick a time in the day that you will stick with. I enjoy reading very early in the morning; some love reading before bedtime. Whatever works for you, start and maintain it.

Set Goals

You can start reading for reading sake but make sure to broaden the scope to include goals.

When we talk about reading with a goal in mind, it isn’t about the number of articles or books to read per week or month, it is a bit different. Read with a goal in mind, like vocabulary building, grammar enhancement, or learning a new niche.

Make it part of your routine

Many people ask how they can find time to read. One thing is clear; you make time for what you consider important.

Make sure not to miss it daily. In case you do, pick up and continue.

Reading is best done while taking notes. Write down ideas that come into your head while reading. Keep a pen, paper, or notepad handy.

Use Technology

Technology can be used to enhance your reading habits.

You can search online for resources to read.

Even though I do not have the strength for my daily reading, I use a reading app to read aloud the portion for the day. I still take notes with my notepad.

Should freelance writers read the work of other writers?

Now that you understand how important reading is for freelance writers in improving their writing skills, it is time for you to start reading the work of other writers.

If you are a new freelancer, you cannot avoid reading the work of other writers.

Reading different writing styles can help you find the right tone for your audience. You can also discover ways to write in new niches by looking at content written by other freelance writers.

The more freelance writers’ portfolios you view, the more likely you are to find new service offers and market niches.

Another reason to read the work of other freelance writers is to find new niches and writing services that can be offered. You will also see the companies they write for.

Don’t go to start making a list of companies to apply to. Instead, look at the types of businesses and companies they write for.

Are they fintech companies, SaaS companies, or startups?

This can help you build your customer ladder and give you an idea of the caliber of your clients.

In addition to giving analytics on the companies where these freelancers work, it can help you find competitors and other industry information, which allows you to focus on a particular writing niche.

Books that can help you become a better Writer

These are some of the books that will cause your creative juice to flow and help you become a better writer.

  • Draft No. 4: On the Writing Process, by John McPhee
  • Fingerpainting on the Moon: Writing and Creativity as a Path to Freedom by Peter Levitt
  • Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life by Natalie Goldberg
  • Story Genius: How To Use Brain Science To Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (*Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere) by Lisa Cron
  • Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer by Peter Turchi

FAQS on Why Reading is Important for Freelance Writers

As a freelance writer, how many books do you suggest reading?

Freelance writers should read a lot, at least 2 hours a week, to stay up-to-date and improve their writing abilities.

Is reading books the only form of reading a freelance writer should do?

Nope. Freelance writers can read books, articles, blogs, research papers, reports on various industries, and more.

How can writers who read widely prevent plagiarizing their work?

Writers should take notes while reading instead of paraphrasing and give credit where credit is due before incorporating any material into their work. Plagiarism can be avoided by properly referencing sources and using paraphrases.


Reading is one indispensable tool freelance writers need. It enriches your knowledge base, fine-tunes your writing skills and fuels creativity.

The ultimate goal of these is better and engaging content that readers will find appealing.