I started writing this lengthy post criticizing the horrendous writing I’ve read from classmates while in the CUNY system, but I’ve decided to keep it “short” instead.
I came across this article in The Atlantic the other day about how reading (in particular, fiction) changes your brain. It got me thinking about all the poorly written papers I have peer-edited in the past couple years, and the incredulity of how some people could have graduated high school with such a poor grasp on the English language. (I have excused the writings of classmates from other countries where English is not the main language/was not their first language). Although there are various contributing reasons and factors for why some college students fail to write well, I think one of the biggies for sub-par writing is not reading.
And by reading I mean reading for pleasure, which is different from reading the news, or reading for research/information, etc. Although, there are some people who read scholarly articles for pleasure…hmm…
I wouldn’t say I’m a great writer, but I think I’m pretty decent writer (with affirmation and encouragement from friends and professors alike). I probably could be a better writer if I were more disciplined, but I’m not, so maybe I’m a better editor. I believe that a lot of my writing style has been influenced and molded by the authors I have read. It’s kind of like monkey-see-monkey-do. I’ve picked up more grammatical structuring, phrasing, punctuation usage, vocabulary, and spelling (!) from reading than I have from any teacher telling me how to use the English language.
The point I want to make is that if you want to be a better writer, read more! And read from different genres too!
HECK, read to become a better human being!
And here concludes my late-night writing after tossing and turning in bed for over an hour trying to fall asleep. Good night! 🙂