I recently came across an article written by Michael Munger and published in the Chronicle of Higher Education. The content focuses on the topic of non-fiction writing and why so many are so bad at it. Enjoying writing myself, I thought it clever and right on the money to consider creating such an article. The 10 tips on how to write less badly are most certainly great points that I think many should pay attention to.
The fact is, whether we enjoy it or not, writing is a part of our everyday lives and is a major aspect of communicating with each other. It is constantly surprising to me how many believe that unless you are going to write a book, you really do not need to be that good at writing. And those who think and believe that, become bad at it. I notice the lack of this skill every day at work. The larger part of my job consists of communicating with students via email. In addition, I also enjoy being a writing tutor and this certainly gives me the opportunity to see some bad student writing. Not all is bad, but most is. And it is bad not because the students really can’t learn to write, but because they don’t think it is an important enough skill to learn. It is simply amazing to find out on a regular basis that many are under the impression that writing is a talent: one is either born with it or not. Which is probably true in terms of coming up with the story, the creative idea, the characters that will captivate an audience. But Munger’s article doesn’t discuss this part of the writing process. The author stresses nonfiction writing, the writing we all have to do in school or at work. This aspect of writing can be acquired, can be customized and most importantly, can become less bad.
I agree with the 10 tips Munger has provided and as far as I am concerned, they will be pinned to my wall so that I can read them every day and remind myself that the writing skill takes effort and practice; it does not appear from thin air.