There is a very common misconception that students who read a lot will automatically become good writers. On the surface level, it makes sense. After all, reading extensively allows students to develop a large vocabulary, appreciate different perspectives and gain an understanding of how different texts are structured. And, as with any skill, the first step towards becoming proficient is to watch a professional at work.
On the other hand, nobody learns to drive a car by watching their mum drive; nobody learns how to shoot baskets by watching basketball on television; and nobody learns how to bake a perfect souffle by just reading recipe books. In all these situations, practice is the key. And while that seems obvious, people often forget the importance of practicing writing. Like any skill, writing requires constant practice. Here are some skills that you can only get from practicing writing…
1. Practicing writing builds muscle memory
Students often forget that writing is not just a mental task; it is a physical one as well. When students sit their VCE exams, or if they sit a Selective Schools or Scholarship test, they are required to write long, well thought out essays or creative narratives under a strict time limit. Quite often, under these situations, students hands get tired before their brains do. Students who haven’t practiced writing essays or narratives on a regular basis will find it hard to write quickly enough, or for long enough, to get all of their great ideas on the page. On the other hand, students that recognise that writing (like all tasks) needs practice, are much more likely to have the physical and mental skills they need to succeed.
2. Practicing writing helps students tackle writer’s block
Reading is obviously a wonderful skill for building imagination in students; but it is, in the end, largely a passive activity. When you read a story, you get to sit back and let the author take you on a journey. But when it’s your turn to do the writing, suddenly your job becomes a lot more difficult. You’re given an empty page that you’re supposed to fill with ideas. This can be incredibly stressful, and many students face writer’s block as a result. Practicing writing is a good way to get better at generating your own ideas. The more you practice, the less intimidating the empty page will look, and they more techniques you will learn for generating ideas.
3. Practicing writing demystifies the art of writing
Have you ever read a great essay or a great story and though “how on earth did they do that?” It’s a common experience, and it’s part of the fun of reading. When we read good writing, we’re not necessarily trying to figure out how the author is doing what they’re doing, we’re just enjoying their work. This is one of the reasons why it’s not enough to just read extensively if you want to learn to write well. Put simply: reading good writing doesn’t teach you how to be a good writer yourself. On the other hand, when you practice writing regularly, you start to notice the patterns, the little tricks that you can use again and again to make your writing successful. Practicing writing allows you to look behind the curtain and seeing the mechanisms that make up a successful piece of writing.
Of course, practicing is hard. And it’s not the kind of thing you can just do without guidance. That’s where we come in. If you or your child wants more guidance on how to practice their writing, feel free to email us at email@example.com or call us on 1800 668 177. If your child is preparing for a Scholarship or Selective Schools Exam, you might also want to check out our custom Writing Bundle. This bundle contains our best selling persuasive essay book and our newly released narrative book. After reading these books your child will have the skills required to write a compelling and well structured narrative and persuasive essay!