The Need to Improve Your Writing
Invention: Finding Something to SayWriting is, first of all, a process of invention. We must have something to say. We must understand our topic and possess relevant information. All too many documents fail not for their author's lack of skill in writing, but for their author's lack of anything to say.
Structuring an Ongoing DiscussionWriting requires a facility with the language. Sentences must make sense. Grammar, spelling, and punctuation must satisfy rules and conventions.
On a broader level,
remarks must follow each other in an
orderly fashion. The trip from opening to closing must be as bump free as
possible. Done poorly, the path we create leads down rabbit trails and
dead ends. The discussion contradicts
itself, offers no evidence or proof for its assertions, or simply roams
around without focusing on a single issue—and our message is lost.
All writing thus involves trial and error. We must edit our work, both in our mindaswe write and on the page or computer monitorafterwe have written an initial draft.
We must know what we want to accomplish, and be able to recognize whether or not we have achieved that goal. As we write, and re-write, we must adjust the language for optimum effect and constantly assure ourselves of the consistency, coherency, and completeness of the presentation.
Finally, in school especially, we must be able to prove
not only that we have done the required reading, but also that we have
understood that reading at the required level of comprehension. And more
often than not, we are graded not on how well we have understood a text, but on
how well we convey an understanding in writing. Rightfully or wrongfully, we
are judged by what, and how, we write.
The Need to Improve Your Reading
A Linguistic Approach to Reading and Writing
Choices: The Ingredients of Texts