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Writing is a skill

Lady Gaga can sing

Lady Gaga – more skilled at singing than most

Singing is just saying words in time to music, really. I even get requests to sing most days – Twinkle Twinkle and once I caught a fish alive are some of the most frequent requests. So it’s probably time I recorded my first album and gave Lady Gaga a run for her money isn’t it?

I know how to run, too – it’s like walking only you pump your arms and go faster. So I think I will join the Australian Olympic team, but can’t be bothered training much before London.

Do those ideas sound a little silly?

Assessing your own skill sets

Obviously there are many things I can do (cook, draw, throw a ball, hammer a nail, first aid and dance just to name a few) but most of those things I can’t do well enough to call myself an expert or expect money or fame for.

So why do so many people think that because they know how to form letters with a pen or type, they know how to write to a commercial standard?

Acknowledging that writing is a skill

I have come across a lot of examples lately where people think they will start an online writing career for easy cash or because they like the freestyle lifestyle. And others who ‘offer writing expertise’ while demonstrating they can’t spell or write a coherent sentence.

It frustrates me – not because I feel they are any threat to me (my clients want quality and can tell the difference between poor and good writing) but because it cheapens the efforts of quality, skilled writers (like Paul Hassing, Sarah Mitchell, Lorraine Thompson, Desolie Page and Belinda Weaver to name a small sample).

It angers me when these same people put information out there that is wrong or easily misunderstood. If their readers don’t know any better, they could be lead into costly mistakes. Good writers not only write well but, for less known topics, research the material or get expert assistance on the content before posting any content online.

Writing well is a skill – aspects of it can be learnt (such as how to spell correctly and when to use a capital letter) but  much of it comes naturally and through experience. Reading and learning contribute to the skills of a writer, so even great writers can improve.

I can write well. I can sing – but only well enough to entertain my toddlers and enjoy myself (Lady Gaga need not fear me as competition!) I know the difference between those skill sets and use them accordingly. Is it so much to ask that other people realistically assess their skills, too?