Sometimes one post leads to another, and thus my procrastination post has spawned this one about writing.
It’s not easy to write. Even if you’ve been doing it for 20+ years (counting all my schooling of course – I’m not that old yet!) like I have, it can still be difficult to find those words.
Anyone can write about anything if they have the choice, but the difficulty comes when you’re either given a topic or must decide on a topic for a specific audience. Usually I’ve got a ton of things to say about what I know, but when it comes to something like a music review, I’ll write 100 words before I’m stuck. I can appreciate a good music review, and I like reading the occasional one that’s well-written, but I have no clue how to write a good one.
Writing is the feel you, as a writer, have for the subject material. If you are unsure of your subject, this will shine through in your article. No matter how much you try to hide it, your lack of knowledge will be displayed by your word choice, turns of phrase, and sentence structure.
So what can you do about this? Simply put, one of the only ways to get better at writing is to read. Sure, you can practice your writing with blogs and journals and what not, but if you don’t read good writing, you’ll have no idea how to write well.
I’ve expanded my reading beyond the usual sci-fi and fantasy I love to include historical fiction, contemporary fiction, creative non-fiction, and just about anything I can get my hands on. I don’t know a book is going to be a good read when I pick it up, but I figure if I can pick out the parts I don’t like, then I’ll know what to avoid when I write.
Try to pick up a newspaper, magazine, book, or whatever, everyday. Read something other than your textbook. Spend at least half an hour doing this. You’ll be amazed how quickly your vocabulary and writing will improve.
Oh, and make sure that you read something you enjoy. There’s nothing more irritating and discouraging than forcing yourself to read something that you find boring and dry. Like a textbook.