There’s something about writing that feels like an art to me. Whether it’s in books, on the web or in a magazine, reading the work of a real pro always captivates me. I wish I could write like that.
Where My Writing Skills are Lacking
I think my biggest problems are in the technicalities of writing. I know I’m terrible at sentence structure and paying attention to the rules of writing. I took a few classes when I was in college for writing and I had the hardest time remembering all of the little details; even simple things like pronouns, adjectives and when to use commas. I even wonder if I was right to use the semi-colon in the previous sentence. Ha!
I’ve also noticed that sometimes my writing doesn’t sound very natural. I don’t know what to do about that. I don’t have a sophisticated vocabulary either, which I think sometimes limits my ability to write creatively. I don’t mean that I want to use large words, but I wish I could come up with more creative ways to say things.
The Realization That I Wasn’t a Talented Writer
I enjoyed writing in school and I had great grades in all of my English classes from elementary school all the way through college. I rarely had to make corrections on any my papers and my teachers would always compliment me on my papers, whether they were reports or creative works.
After finishing college and starting a career in internet marketing, I discovered blogging which is when I decided to create a blog for myself. About a year into writing on the blog, traffic finally started to increase which in turn also resulted in getting a lot more comments.
On a post that I worked really hard on, there was one comment specifically that I’ll never forget. The guy basically told me that he liked the information I provided in the article but that I was terrible writer and he hard a hard time just finishing the post.
I have to be honest, that really hurt.
After hearing this I immediately began to question myself. Why did my teachers in school tell me that I was a good writer when I really wasn’t? I thought that it may be due to the difference in formats. Writing papers in school was dry and technical while writing online seems to require more personality. Or maybe I just forgot how to write because I hadn’t been writing for a couple years. I really don’t know.
My writing was bad, but I kept at it every day because I knew that was key to getting better. I published a post on my blog every single weekday for about four years. (I don’t write on that blog nearly as much anymore, but I know I should.)
Why Writing is Important to Me
With the way internet marketing has changed over the years, more specifically the way Google praises high-quality content and penalizes low-quality content, upgrading my writing skills is becoming more and more important.
Creating content is becoming a necessary part of my job, but because of my low self-confidence in my writing skills, I prefer not to write for my clients. I’m ok with being judged on my writing skills when I write on my own sites, but I feel like I’m doing a disservice to my clients when I write for their sites. Because of the volume of content that I need produced for my clients, I will always need to hire a writer, but there are times when I wouldn’t mind writing an occasional article. I just don’t have the confidence.
Writing for my clients isn’t the only reason I want to become a better writer. I have quite a few hobbies and when I discover something new, I have a habit of creating a blog so that I can talk about something I really enjoy. I would say one of most important reasons for me wanting to be a better writer is because my biggest professional goal in life is to make a living from my own websites, whether it’s from affiliate marketing, advertising or eventually creating something and selling it, such as a training program or an ebook.
I want to be in charge of my success and I want the freedom of being able to work from anywhere and to be able to pick up and move if I wanted. But for any my sites to be as successful as I want them to be, I need to be able to create great content.
How Should I Move Forward?
I’ve actually considered going back to school for journalism with an emphasis on magazine-style writing, which I think is my favorite type of writing, but when I talk to friends who have gone to school for journalism, they always tell me that I would be better off taking a writing class instead of wasting my time and money on an all-out journalism degree program.
So I guess that leaves me with wondering what to do next. Would it be a waste of my time to go back to school? Or should I take just a few select college courses? Should I take some classes online? Or maybe I shouldn’t take any classes at all and just continue to write on my blogs and learn from writers online. I’ve always wanted to take classes from experienced online writers like the ones offered from Damn Fine Words or Copyblogger because that’s exactly the type of writing I want to do, but I can’t afford it.
I’ll Never Quit
Although I don’t feel good about my writing skills right now, when I compare my writing to my first year of blogging, I can see a huge improvement. I know I get better as the years go on, so the one certainty is that I’m going to continue writing and honing my skills for the rest of my life.
No matter how I decide to move forward, the one thing I’m sure about is that I love writing and it’s something I’m going to do whether anyone likes it or not. 😉