English for Everyone

<b>English for Everyone</b>
Stephen Lau's website to help you get the wisdom to live as if everything is a miracle.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Why Everybody Can Write

Writing is an important and indispensable communication skill. We communicate with others through written words in the form of mostly e-mails and letters. In our work, many of us may have to write reports and memos. Writing is part of what we have to do in our daily lives to express what we want and what we feel. 

However, many of us are just afraid to write for the obvious reasons: we don't know how to write, what to write about, and, above all, we are simply afraid to write. Why is writing such a daunting and difficult task to so many of us, such a big challenge when we pick up a pen or sit in front of the computer?

First of all, we have to dismiss the myth that you have to be talented to write. The truth of the matter is that everybody can write. Writing is not necessarily a talent; as a matter of fact, it is just a skill, just like cooking or gardening. As a skill, it is learnable and teachable. We don't need to have the talent first in order to write; you write first, and may then discover your talent in writing. Even without talent, you can still write; everybody can write. After all, it is just a skill that can be perfected with practice. Like walking, you learn how to walk by walking; by the same token, you learn how to write by writing. 

The first hurdle that you need to overcome is that you don't know what to write about; in other words, you have little or no ideas. But we all have something to say just about anything. The reason why you think you have little to say is that you don't pay enough attention. Awareness,is concentration, which is focusing the mind on the present moment, looking at the things or people around you. Unfortunately, in this contemporary world, many are multitasking, doing too many things all at the same time without paying adequate attention to what they are doing. If you are more observant of your surrounding, you will find that you have a lot to say just about anything or anyone around you. The key to content in writing is awareness. Learn to pay attention to details.

The second hurdle is how to write what is on your mind, or how to put your ideas into words. To put your abstract thoughts into concrete words is the fundamental skill in writing. That is to say, you have to learn the basics of writing, such as words, sentences, and paragraphs; you have to put them in a coherent and intelligible way so that they convey clearly and precisely to your readers what you want them to know or understand. Unfortunately, there is no short cut. You have to learn all the basics, such as sentence construction, types of sentences, paragraph development, as well as some basic vocabulary and idiomatic expressions to help you master the skill.  

Empower yourself with the skill of writing will help you overcome the third hurdle, which is lack of confidence. Knowledge not only gives you confidence but also takes away your fear and anxiety in writing. Practice is the solution. You learn how to write by writing. Don't worry about making mistakes. Remember this: a writer is worth all the critics. The more you write, the more proficient you become as a writer. 

My book Effective Writing Made Simple is a handbook for all who wish to learn the basics of good writing. It starts you from the very beginning, especially if English is not your first language. Even if English is your first language, you still need to know how to write. You must bear in mind that speaking and writing are too different skills: what you speak is not the same as what you write.

Stephen Lau