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I agree with Stephen King’s statement: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

I read as often as I can, starting with a few morning papers. Throughout the day, I peruse at least two or three short investment industry articles and spend about an hour watching snatches of business news during work breaks. My bedtime treat is a chapter or two of a good “whodunnit.”

Lately, I’ve become a more active reader in search of plot and prose. When I read a new word or a catchy phrase, I circle it in red and add it to an Excel file I call Words and Expressions. After two weeks, I’ve amassed several dozen entries and an enlarged lexicon.

I started out with the goal of augmenting my vocabulary. I ended up generating a bunch of new ideas for story lines. As far as I can tell, figuring out how to string words together instead of savoring them in a vacuum is partially responsible.

Focus is another gift of word awareness. When I reread an expression or a sentence with a word(s) that has caught my eye, I am drawn to imagining what the original author intended. It makes me reflect too on how others react when they read the words I choose to memorialize.