In writing you must kill all your darlings
For nearly 40 years I have been striving to learn to write, whether it be for examinations, letters to family and friends or indeed articles and reviews. The one thing I have discovered is that something written at speed without time reconsider leads to disaster. You need to take time out to edit your own writing.
In examinations, you have finite time and prescribed set of questions, and you need to set time aside to read, plan and then write and finally review what you have written. I learned this as an adult doing trade examinations and also when I went back to college to continue my education.
For family and friends, this is a journey which is ongoing. I think my first letter without supervision was when I was 8 or 9 – writing to thank family for looking after me on holiday. I have continued to write, though less now with pen and paper and more with the computer in whichever mode I am using at the time (desktop, laptop, iPad or phone). All have built-in spell checkers ( and some have even got grammar checkers), but it still takes a careful perusing after writing and before sending to ensure that I have not placed an incorrect word in the message (and it does happen regularly, even with the tools checking).
My writing of reviews and articles is more problematic. Firstly it is time; there never seems to be enough time to do the research and reading necessary to build up sufficient working knowledge to write an in-depth piece. Reviews are to a degree easier, they fall into a set piece of organisation. I have developed a template for their structure. which enables me to fill the initial blocks in from various sites, but then it down to reading and/watching/or listening to the item. To think about how I feel afterwards and to ponder about whether I have come across any other pieces of work which are similar and whether they were better or worse.
So you can see, writing is something you need to practise. It is something to think about. And, it must never be confused with sending a quick message or tweet – though they should be actioned with discretion, and often aren’t.
Writing for me is a joy, a quilty sin, a pain and on its worse day a pain, but I wouldn’t give it up.