I do not categorise myself as a writer. Probably because, English is not my native language and as a result, my vocabulary is simplistic and lacks the depth and polish found in professional writers. However, in my view, simplistic writing also has its benefits. Its easier to comprehend and tends to be straightforward, instead of fluffing around the issue.
Until now, I have not felt that this is hindering the message I am endeavouring to deliver to the reader. Perhaps because, the quality of my writing was sufficient for me to progress through college and excel in my current occupation as a risk analyst.
However, writing on MereCivilian.com is a different kettle of fish, where recent constructive feedback has lit a fire under me to improve my writing.
How does one improve their writing?
Does practice make perfect? This seems logical as I cannot be a fantastic writer overnight. Therefore, I should keep writing more and eventually, I will identify and rectify the areas of improvement. This is somewhat true.
Recently, Hrvoje Šimić wrote a very interesting article demonstrating that writing a lot is not enough.
But just doing something many times is not enough. Speaking a lot does not make you a great speaker. Writing a lot does not make you a great writer. As David Perell says, everyone who writes hundreds of emails a day would write like Hemingway if it did.
What does matter is how much time you spend perfecting the craft. How much time you spend trying to improve and recognising errors. In other words, how much time you spend editing and rewriting.
My key takeaway from Hrvoje’s article is the importance of dedicating time and effort in perfecting one’s writing. This has been my problem. I write and then I publish. The missing special sauce is editing and rewriting.
I have no deadlines so there isn't a need for me to publish right away. Back in college, I always reviewed my assignments with the fresh pair of eyes the next day. It is amazing how many errors one finds when one has had some time away from the article. Although this approach may not be practical for every article, reviewing a printed copy is also a useful exercise. Do not underestimate the usefulness of real paper and a red pen.
I hope that by January 2022, I can honestly say that my writing has improved. For this, I request for your assistance, please feel free to provide constructive feedback to me on Twitter at @MereCivilian or by emailing me directly - [email protected]