“The only way I know to become a good writer is to be a bad writer and keep on improving”
I don’t know what career you intend to pursue. You may become a STEM specialist. Maybe you’ll be a lawyer or go into business. Perhaps you will go into education or become a web designer. Whatever you do in life, odds are you will need to know how to write well.
The physical book may or may not be dead in the 21st century, but textual communication is alive and well. Whether it’s e-mail or Word, the digital world is based almost entirely on writing. If you want to succeed in this world, you will need to know how to write clearly for multiple audiences and in different formats such as letters, essays and so on. Whether you’re writing to the tax authorities, a school principal, the editor of a newspaper or your boss, clear writing is key to getting your point across and getting things done.
In truth, you should have already been prepared for this in high school. My father and his generation were given a very strict and very rigorous education in proper composition. In fact, if I had been required to take a writing course in Bar-Ilan, I would have chosen my father as an instructor in a heartbeat. He could have spared me many years of non-development as a writer.
Unfortunately, you have been screwed over by an educational system that has either watered down or entirely done away with rigorous writing classes. In order to make up for this, you will need to do a lot of hard work by yourself, taking courses and reading books to help you improve. Perhaps even form a ‘writers’ circle’ with some of your friends where you each help each other get better in your work.
Improvement in your writing will not happen overnight, but rather over a period of many years. Nevertheless, the more you work on it the better you will become, and the more you will be effective in getting your message out. Few people are “born” good writers, and if you are not one of the few – you can still make yourself into one.
NEXT: Tip #6: Don’t replace one rigid dogma with another rigid dogma
UPDATE: Fred is right – getting writing skills through a system is easier for most. So if you are going to college, make sure to take courses in writing or at least courses that require many writing assignments. Seek out the toughest teachers in the field, not the ones who will ‘forgive’ your mistakes and do you no favors by pandering to you. Writing is one of the skills college claims to provide – make sure you don’t leave college without it.