This article was submitted by Mpho Bosupeng, a first year MPhil student, studying Economics.
Generally we believe writing is hard. Then if we rarely practice, our writing skills never develop. In my opinion, writing is a process. For someone to write well, they need to be committed to what they are doing. Effective writers know how to say what is important without being vague. Their words are written eloquently without losing the intended message.
For many years, I had been struggling with writing until I got great advice from my lecturer in college. He told me that the key to writing well is to read widely. He argued that if I read broadly, I will see how experienced writers communicate and copy that as well. This improved my writing significantly.
In addition, my former teacher told me to practice writing. I did not enjoy writing because I thought it was hard. Every time we start to write anything, it is like jumping many Olympic hurdles. This is what causes the majority of us to communicate badly in our writing. When we start and feel it’s hard, we stop. I was determined to improve my writing so I practiced writing almost everything. I entered several essay competitions and wrote blogs. I did not win any of the essay contests, but I know my writing has improved. It was not about winning anything. The practice was the most important thing.
There are several aspects of writing that I noted on my journey. Firstly, good writing is a test of our patience. For someone to write well, they have to be patient. If you believe you can write thousands of words in a few minutes, it is likely not going to happen. By being patient, our creativity unlocks and ideas start to flow. I also realised that writing is just like any other task that we face daily. If we start it now, it’s hard but it will get better and easier on the way. It won’t be difficult forever. Once we have started, more brilliant ideas will come and soon we are unstoppable.
Most prominently, I realised that writing and proofreading are not the same. When we are writing and ideas are flowing, that does not mean we have read the article. Even after writing proficiently, it is vital to go through our work to correct mistakes made along the way. Professional writers do this frequently. Some people hardly revisit their work to make corrections and their writing is always below par. They wrongly think writing and proof reading are the same tasks.
If you have enough time and resources, it is recommended that you take your work to a professional editor to check your work. This does not mean that one is not a good writer. The professional editor helps us enhance the quality of our work even if our writing is already good. Most writers think this is a waste of time. Today we are diverting from this mindset.
In summary, the most important aspects of writing I have learnt are patience, commitment and thorough editing of the work.
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