Tuesday, September 4

The Secret Of Learning To Write Well: Write

The Secret Of Learning To Write Well: Write

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows I'm nuts about Seth Godin. The man has the best ideas!

Today Seth blogged that the best way to learn marketing is to market. Makes sense! I think this is true as well:
The best way to learn to write well is to write.
I read somewhere that the most important asset a writer can have is an eye for good writing, or at least for what he or she likes. I think many writers have this and that's exactly why it's so painful in the beginning. You know your writing falls far short. (Keep in mind, though, that if you're comparing yourself to someone like Margaret Atwood ... well, just don't. No ego can survive that!)

Having an eye for good writing allows us to spot mistakes in our own work. Perhaps in the beginning we just know that a certain passage is aweful without knowing why or what would fix it. That's fine, we put it away and keep writing new things, we continue reading, then, eventually, we can look at what we've written and have an idea WHY it feels clunky and what we can do to fix it.

Perhaps surprisingly, I've found reading prose which grates on my nerves helps me discover what, exactly, doesn't work for me.

Kinda seems magical, doesn't it? Just write, and read, and you'll become a better writer. But writing is a skill, and like any other skill, one has to practice to get better. Perhaps this is a silly example, but when I started typing I used to fantasize about the day I wouldn't have to look at my keyboard and could type more than 40 words a minute. Today I don't even think about typing, it has become second nature. What did it take? Lots and lots of practice!

Slowly, painfully slowly, the understanding of what works for us and what doesn't becomes part of who we are and we begin to write less clunky prose. Or at least that's the idea, I'm afraid I can't tell you since I'm not there yet! ;)

Keep writing!

Other articles you might like:
- Seth Godin on Creativity, Childhood and Heroes
- Fifty Shades of Alice In Wonderland: Sales Peak At $1,000 Per Day
- Amanda Hocking's Unusual Writing Schedule

Photo credit: foxrosser

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