Have you ever sat there, thinking “I wish I could write?” Not “I wish I could write like [Joe Schmo] or anyone in particular, just “I wish I could write.” I think you can. I don’t mean ‘the one novel that’s in all of us.’ Believe me, I’ve read a lot of those. It’s not true.
But you can write something. An opinion? Opinions are good. We all have them. Done something technical? What about a how-to, or a review? Maybe a poem? A haiku in response to Eric Schmidt? Go ahead, learn a new art-form…
I write a lot of words and I confess: I have followed the rules and I have failed. Also, I have thrown away the rules and I have failed. That’s why we have editors.
I can give you lists of attributes of good writing:
- Sincerity (remember, ‘if you can fake this, you can fake anything’)
I can give you list upon list of rules for writing most kinds of text. You know the kind of thing I mean:
- Put the reader first.
- Be clear.
- Be specific.
- Get to the point. Then stop.
- Express one thought at a time.
- Use short phrases.
- Use short sentences.
- Use short paragraphs.
- Never use a long word when a short one will do.
- Edit thoroughly; cut, cut, cut
I know it’s difficult. Web readers have a short attention span. Writing concisely and well takes practice. That doesn’t make it impossible. Writing is a life-long learning experience. Start simple, but keep going. Your confidence will grow the ore you write.
I mark my own papers these days: ‘must try harder.’
Why don’t you give it a go? Any subject will do. Go ahead, write something. Write anything. AJS