Why Can’t I Write?

Perfect Practice Makes PerfectMost talents imparted to people require some level of development of basic skills that will make the talent useful.  The ability to write requires training and practice.

None of us can pick up a musical instrument for the very first time and resemble Chopin.  Anyone who can pick up an instrument and play has been around those instruments and other musicians and learned some of the techniques.  Anything worth doing well requires training and practice.

Even natural athletes spend countless hours mastering a favorite sport and learning to play as a team member.  Few people reach the heights of a professional sports organization with spending hours working out to build strength and more time learning the finer points of the game.

Hobbies and professions require years of training and practice of skills that make the tasks more enjoyable and effective.  Learning is one of the most enjoyable facets of life.  Those who consider every day another opportunity to learn have found a valuable perspective on living.

So – why do we expect to write like Hemingway without slaving over our written pieces?

School Courses

Write and Rewrite to Get it Right!Depending on your age, you might have had an English teacher like the one who demanded that we write constantly.  She was amazing in her ability to convey the importance of mastering the language.  We had to follow every rule and practice until we could make our points without explanation.  The process was supposed to follow a pattern:


  • To teach – The ability to write begins with someone who cares enough to assign writing tasks that build from the basic articles of a sentence into the structure of that sentence.  Without instruction, you will not be able to write meaningful sentences and paragraphs.
  • Writing assignments – Even though we cringed, those assigned paragraphs and long papers caused us to use the skills we had learned.  Our ability to write something useful started with meaningful assignments in the form of book reviews and research assignments.
  • Application – All of the classroom work was used in homework assignments that could span an entire semester.  Writing projects required planning and revisions that would develop the ability to notice when the work was not acceptable.  Intermediate assignments ensured that students were making progress toward the final due date.
  • Teacher participates – Each of the intermediate dates required insight from the teacher to improve the final product.  Sections of the final paper were evaluated and feedback was given to each of us to allow us to change course and make our final papers better.

If you never experienced this type of training with writing, you were left to make discoveries about writing in your post-school life.

Job Duties

Depending on your chosen profession, you were surprised to discover that an inordinate amount of writing is required.  Communication in the workplace requires reports, emails and conversations that present your thoughts about your assigned duties.  Issues arise when your attempt to write was not taught, but rather discovered through:

  • Observation – Experience will reveal the importance of asking other people about the norms before attempting your first project.  Every perception will be based on how well you can write.  Trusting your peers can be dangerous if they are not adept at writing either.
  • Mistakes – Once projects are completed, managers become very interested in the writing skills of anyone perceived to be in need of guidance.  Mistakes in this area can limit a career faster than almost any other aspect of your job.
  • Emails – Casual handling of emails creates more issues in the workplace than any other action.  Too many people are unaware of the importance of avoiding writing too much and creating the wrong perceptions.  Emails can travel far and wide because you have no control over the text once you send it.
  • Culture – Writing skills rarely develop when etiquette follows cultural norms instead of standards.  Your ability to write will be measured against what other people expect.  One person will accept your style, while another one will dismiss your words entirely.

Your ability to write is directly related to your ability to reach people regardless of their assumptions and perceptions.  The greatest challenge you face is knowing when your style will be acceptable and when you must morph to fit the situation.

Writing Requires . . .

Practice to develop your style and the finer points of common styles that are acceptable in various situations.  As you write more often, you will develop mastery of some skills that reduce the amount of time you spend editing and increase your writing time.  Use the basic skills that follow this pattern:

  • Framework – An outline guides your thought process to group your ideas under the right section, which becomes a paragraph.  Longer pieces require more details in the outline to make sure that you are not repetitive.  High-level outlines are sufficient for shorter pieces.
  • Experience – Life events are invaluable when you want to enhance your writing.  Every aspect of your life comes into play when you sit down to put your thoughts into sentences.  Knowledge your gain in life is essential for the depth of your writing.  Readers notice when you are able to bring your personal experiences into your writing.
  • Research – Topics can be developed through research from a wide variety of sources.  Writing based on a single source will be incomplete and lack sufficient detail to hold your reader’s interest.  Your research skills are reflected in your writing when you take the time to insert details that most people do not know.
  • Concentration – Your writing will evolve to another level when you take the time to remove all distractions and concentrate on the words you put on the screen or page.  Each time you look up or respond to another person, you lose your train of thought.  Mistakes and scrambled sentences happen each time someone interrupts you.  You will want to develop the ability to focus on your writing to increase the quality of your written pieces.

Continue Learning

Great writers are Great Readers!Great writers are great readers!  Have you ever heard that before?  That statement offers a challenge to all of us to continue learning long past our formal school years.  As you read all kinds of writing on every topic imaginable, you will fill your mind with reams of useful information.  As you write, your mind will offer ideas to enhance your sentences with new words and ideas.  Your readers will notice when you have read and lived and experienced your topic.

Life offers many opportunities to write.  Will you be prepared to offer your thoughts and opinions?

Perfect practice makes perfect!  Never stop learning and developing your writing skills.

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