Become a Good Writer
Becoming a good writer depends on your becoming a good reader and thinker. Writing, reader, and thinking are so closely related that it is difficult to imagine one without the others. Knowledge provides the basis for your writing- knowledge that you gain from thinking or reflecting about what you read, experience, and observe.
You have been getting ready to write for a long time, storing up ideas in your mind. Every day you add two that storehouse, and when you write you bring together the fragments of Stored Knowledge to develop your own ideas – ideas that give you a reason for writing. You want your readers to understand those ideas.
Discovering ideas can be exciting. Studying and writing, you find that you know enough about a subject to make judgments and draw conclusions. You discover possibilities that no one else has imagined quite the way you have. With something to write about, you begin to understand that you are not a recorder, transcribing what others have said. Rather, you are a thinker- a writer with ideas of your own to express. You have the power to cause others to sit up and take notice. You know something, and you know how to say it.
To express your ideas well, you will need to acquire another kind of knowledge-Knowledge about how you write. Like the Awareness that leads to ideas, you can accumulate it through reading, and you can learn a great deal about writing by studying other writers. But to become a skilled writer to know how to write you have to practice hard. There is no other way. And, of course, you should couple practicing with a genuine desire to have the words say what you mean. You have to want to be understood.
As a Writer, you often want to move as quickly as possible from coherent sentences to good paragraphs and then on to full-length pieces of writing such as interesting essays or reports. But you can gain a great deal by moving gradually and deliberately instead of leaping ahead too fast. Reviewing the fundamentals can help you write better. Another look at the basics about sentences can reveal not only how to write different kinds of sentences but also how to vary sentences to interest to readers and to help you develop ideas. Reconsidering the fundamentals of paragraph writing can show you how paragraphs, like good essays, vary according to the purpose and rely on different kinds of evidence depending on the nature of your idea.
Reviewing these fundamentals, you can become aware of just how exciting words and syntax (the arrangement of words into sentences) can be. Consider these two sentences:
- The woman walked down the trail.
- The frail woman walked with a slight limp as she made her way down the narrow, winding trail, looking, as she went along, for the thief who had assailed her when first she turned round the bend, the thief who had been dogging her for nearly a mile as she made her way home, deep in the woods, way out beyond help and the telephone and the
Each of these sentences has its own special qualities. Neither is preferable. The simplicity and directness of the first, complemented by the surprising revelations of the second, suggest possibilities available to you as a writer. The first sentences convey information. The second also conveys information but suggests as well an idea_ the idea that moves deeper into the woods is a movement toward isolation and danger. The writer does not declare that idea straight out but implies it in the details of the sentence. Like a good story, the second sentence draws you into it, inviting you to decipher its meaning. The sentence conveys more than the writer states.
When you write, you have options, endless possibilities for helping your readers understand what you have to tell them, The two preceding example sentence suggest how interesting the choice can be. Learning about the option and variation by writing and practicing, you will begin to discover how satisfying it is to find an idea and express it so that others know just what you know. Therein lie the writer’s most gratifying rewards.