Eat less, read more
When it comes to losing weight, there is a simple formula: eat less, exercise more. It may be simple, but that doesn’t make it easy.
Fortunately, the simple formula for writing better is much easier to follow: Write more, read more.
The writing more gets plenty of attention, but reading more is just as important and maybe a little easier. It’s not really how much you read or even what you read, it’s how you read. As you read, pay attention to the words, the sentence structure, the paragraphs. What draws you into the store and holds your interest? What makes you stop reading? If you find a piece boring, think about why.
As you pay attention to what you like and don’t like, you will find this influences your writing. You will naturally pick up the things you find appealing and avoid the things you don’t.
It makes sense to read pieces similar to what you want to write, but you can learn from all types of writing. A funny essay might have some tricks to spice up a boring business letter, and a boring business letter just might have some fodder for a funny essay.