Have you ever thought about what it takes to be a good writer? Any kind of writer? What distinguishes an average writer from a great writer?
Put it another way. Have you ever read a magazine article and thought, I could write it better than that? And you probably could. But what does that actually take?
Well, forgive me if I am wrong but I think it is the actual skill of writing, that will determine how well you are perceived by your audience. I know for some this does not matter too much, but to me it matters a lot. And if you want to stand out, it should matter to you.
So what is the purpose of writing, this includes non-fiction as well as fiction? It is to convey a message to your readers. With non-fiction is could be a note that says:
“Your dinner is in the oven.” Simple enough. But suppose the note was misspelt and it read:
“Your diner is in the oven.”
You could still figure it out, but it is obviously less clear. And this simple example demonstrates the importance of accuracy in writing. The more clear you express something, then the bigger and quicker the impact.
In terms of creative writing you want to keep the interest of your readers and not lose them because your writing is unclear or simply confusing. So being concise is an importance skill of writing.
Just as important is good grammar a skill that has immeasurable value as a writer. We have all read something that was grammatically incorrect, and although you could work out the meaning, the poor grammar spoiled it or the meaning was less clear.
Grammar is the correct structure of words regardless of language. English grammar can get technical, but I have found the best way to improve your grammar is to read well. If you want to take it further here’s a top tip: get a grammar book that is a handy size, portable and easy to understand. Or, there are any number of websites that explain English grammar. The trick is, the more you write, the better your grammar will become.
Correct spelling is also an important aspect of the skill of writing. And like any other skill such as driving or knitting, it is something that can be learned. Interestingly, the English language has so many odd words and irregularities it’s not surprising that writing it can be tricky! However, spelling is something that you can master by paying attention as far as possible to what you are writing and then using spell checkers as part of the proof reading/editing process. But a word of warning! Spell checkers will not pick up all mistakes like for example:
“I wonder what the whether will be like tomorrow?”
To a spell checker nothing is actually incorrect. And if you have trouble spotting your own typos – like we all do – get someone else to read your work before you send it out.
The skill of writing is something that gets better the more you use it. If you want to be known as competent or even an excellent writer, then you simply have to write and read more. Furthermore, you could read outside of your comfort zone. Why not read academic papers or the Sunday newspaper to see how professional writers handle article writing. Observe how they use language and note the sentence structures. This will imprint itself on your subconscious mind believe me, and before long your writing will improve immensely.
Finally, for the creative writer, clear and accurate writing can only mean enhanced engagement for your readers.
Until next time