One of the best ways to improve your own writing is to read good content from someone else. That's a big reason I've been subscribing to Esquire, Fast Company, Garden & Gun, The New Yorker and Fortune for years. And why I read Quartz, GOOD and Mashable online. The topics covered are valuable, of course, but other outlets cover the same ground. It's the quality of the writing is why I keep coming back to these particular sources.
Read like a writer
Reading other people's excellent work helps you see technique in action. You can see how a skilled writer handles a very complex topic. Or how another uses sentence structure/length and word choice to create voice. You might even pick up some new vocabulary.
As a mostly B2B communicator, I prefer to "study" non-fiction, not the great works of literature. That allows a more direct translation between the content I evaluate and the content I create. Here are some of the deep dives I've done:
- Tom Junod's "Hillary. Happy." from Esquire
- Tad Friend's "First Banana" from The New Yorker
- Allan Sloan's "How Washington is Destroying the Economy" from Fortune
Find best-in-class content
I did a fist-pump last night when I stumbled upon this treasure trove of excellent non-fiction, retweeted by the aforementioned Junod (Oh, yeah -- find and follow your favorite non-fiction writers on Twitter and you'll not only never miss anything they write, but you'll get tips on other great stuff you might have missed!):
Peruse the articles and find a few you want to read, then see what you can learn from these talented writers. I suggest using the 6 Traits as a framework for your work. Study the best work of others and you'll be a better writer.