Why Learning to Write Is the Toughest and Best Thing You’ll Do

Why Learning to Write Is the Toughest and Best Thing You’ll Do

Reader Comments (19)

  1. Hi Pamela,

    I enjoyed reading your post. The part about writing as a discipline that can build character is especially intriguing.

    As you say, however, writing is a difficult skill to learn. Learning to write by writing is a truism I have heard time and again. The hardest part for me is developing the habit of writing. Your post motivates me to keep working.

    And William Zinsser, the author of “On Writing Well,” would concur that writing is indeed hard. Here is his advice on becoming a better writer:

    “Writing is learned by imitation. If anyone asked me how I learned to write, I’d say I learned by reading the men and women who were doing the kind of writing I wanted to do and trying to figure out how they did it.”

    Words to write by, wouldn’t you agree?


    • Blake, I think you’re exactly right.

      As the great David Carr of the New York Times said, “In order to have a chance of making great work, you have to consume remarkable work.”

      To that end, I don’t think you can become a better writer just by writing and writing and writing. You have to know–at least a little–what you’re chasing.

      • Blake and Andrew, I agree. Reading well-written work feeds your aspirations. It gives you something to aim for!

        We have a post coming up next week that will talk about this topic, so stay tuned. 🙂

  2. I have been writing (in earnest) for ten years. I started to write because I had stories that I needed to tell. “How do I get started?” I asked my father, who writes as well. He told me to just write as if I was telling a story to a good friend that I ran into on the street. After I wrote my first story, I joined a writing group. I was anxious to learn, so took criticism well (as well as praise). I took a variety of classes, wrote every day, submitted work for publication, got rejected, accepted, rejected, accepted and learned from both. The key to being I good writer, I think, is that you need to have the desire to write (for whatever reason). Diligence, patience and the ability to laugh at oneself help as well.
    I love William Zissner’s “On Writing Well”. Another favorite is “Telling True Stories: A Nonfiction Writers’ Guide from the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University”.

    • It’s funny that two commenters have mentioned On Writing Well. I love that book! It makes the writing process seem less about some mysterious talent you must be born with and more about a lot of hard, consistent work. And that’s something we can all do.

      Thanks for sharing your story, Laura. 🙂

  3. As a freelancer or blogger, you obviously need to have a good command of writing. Here’s the thing, you don’t have to be an expert. The idea of writing and writing again is a great way to build skills, though. Whenever a freelancer gets the chance, they should be writing. Thank you for such a great article!

  4. Really good article.

    I really am concentrating the last couple of years on sending out one email a day. And making it the very best I can make it. Not necessarily focusing away from promotion but keeping a tap dance balancing act of sorts….having useful Content that my Readers can use while offering more extensive Programs/Courses they can benefit from ( with a fee).

    I think you point out something very important : To get proficient at Writing will entail practicing at it more than you think you should 🙂

  5. Writing daily is a challenge and fun activity. Miss it for one day and you feel you can’t go on the track again.

    Have the systems to write each day – a committment or something and it all comes naturally…

    Good writing comes with time and grasping the goods along the way. It is a process and we need to go through compulsorily.

    Each day adds something, the point being we need to keep on learning and applying the new methods, learnings and inspiration.

    It is a cocktail party which we make. It has great content, short content, poor words, failed message and authority articles.

    We tend to become a profilic writer…each day we come a step closer.

    Awesome post Pamela. Loved it.

    Have a great weekend ahead…

  6. You’re right, “Gerund” does sound pretty scary! Thanks for the post. I believe that it can never hurt to make things sound more doable and less intimidating.

  7. During my studies at university, I came across this inspiration quote from Lord Action.

    “Learn as much by writing as by reading.”

    This still holds true for me today, as a way of sharing what I have learned.

  8. I love what am reading. It is very encouraging. Reading and writing are sisters to me. Lois

  9. Great article Pamela!

    I definitely agree with the fact that practicing a clear writing structure can help organize your thoughts in all areas of life. I review a lot of freelance writing applications and I can usually tell just by the cover letter if the writing samples they attached will be any good. Even the ability to write a well-organized email or craft a compelling argument are clear indications that someone will have an organized writing structure.

    Don’t worry, I won’t count this comment as my writing for the day!


  10. Most of us just read – newspapers, blogs, magazines, emails ….. We write so little as compared to how much we read. I have just started a new blog and writing on a topic helps me to organize my thoughts on the topic in a better and logical way.

  11. Hi Pamela ,

    Learning to write well only seems difficult but its not if we focus on what we really want. I was reading your one blog that was also about writing abd got this thought “Discover that one quality that defines you — and work it to the bone. ” I liked very much. Thanks 🙂

  12. Good inputs Pamela,

    Good writing is all about discipline. I always tried to write casually before and end up missing deadlines. This was a regular feature until I planned to design my schedule to write my article in a time frame. Now I am able to achieve my target with efficiency and accuracy.

  13. Nice post, Pamela.

    When it comes to writing, it’s about how much effort you put into improving yourself. Discipline and consistency plays vital role in improving your writing skills. It is also important to be organized with not only writing but in every task you do.

    Thanks again for the great post, Pamela.

  14. It is such an encouraging article! For a struggling writer, it is always challenging to write regularly but, it is the only essential key to improve writing skills.

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