To think that writing was easy…
Writing is rather, rather difficult. Whether you’re writing fiction or academic work, the fact remains that writing is mentally taxing. It cannot really be learned anew, only improved upon.
I personally do not believe that there is one way to write. There are tips, of course, by pros. But at the end of the day, it is by your hand (whether you’re penning down old-school style or typing on some modern fancy device) that your literary doom or failure will be pronounced (quite literally, too).
You can only write what you read. Your style will be a cumulation of what you’ve been exposed to as a reader. In other words, your writing style will reflect what you read.
The biggest hindrance to creativity, particularly of the literary type, is the internet in this modern world. A budding (or a pro) writer must master the discipline required to put aside distractions.
In general, I have found research work and academic work to be little more than plagiarism. There’s hardly any fun in writing about what hundreds of people have written before. Unless it’s really new and groundbreaking research. This means that I have very little regard for work such as final year projects.
Only writers ever find writing easy. You’ll always be an amateur if it’s not in you, even a tiny speck. And it will seem a real chore. I’m amused when I remember that I thought writing 450 words was really tough (back in secondary school).
Writing is like sport and other forms of art. You can’t really hide quality or a lack of it. Your work will speak for you.
Successful writing under pressure (exams, for instance) relies on your writing speed, not necessarily what you have upstairs. I have always thought that concision is key. Not everyone sees it that way, however. I have always felt that the most concise answer is the best. If you can make absolute, comprehensive sense in a few words, then it stands to reason that you understand the concept well. Even if you can write tons, an economic approach to word usage is usually the best. It certainly makes your work more readable (in retrospect).
You can only write in an appropriate environment. I dislike noise. A lot. Besides, my head is hardly level enough these days for creative winds to blow inside of my cranium. The country is hard, and a man must make ends meet.
As a writer, you should surround yourself with the right kind of people for the right kinds of encouragement. A good word or a tiny comment from someone can be all the ginger you need to pen down that elusive prologue.
Finally, stay sane.
This piece is for all the talented writers out there who have vast gold and diamond reserves in their head, untapped because they haven’t found it within themselves to break the barrier.