One of the most effective ways of improving your writing is reading (some would say this is the most effective way). It helps a lot if what you’re reading is good.
I did not feel confident enough in my skills as a writer. But I found that one could gain confidence by actually doing the thing that one feels less confident about. So, I write. And I will keep writing not just to escape this inferiority complex, but, really, because this is what I’ve always wanted to do.
In our ultra-technologized times, there are all sorts of algorithms that can analyze your text to see how many words it has, how many sentences, how many characters, and whether all of them can make out something that is understandable by small children, high-school students, or university graduates. Out of curiosity, I tested one of my articles to get its readability score. It got a Flesch Reading Ease score of 84.45, and a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score of 3.33. Well, it’s always nice to know you can be understood by twelve-year-olds. How does that affect me as a writer? I guess it depends on who my audience is (or who I want my audience to be). If I’m aiming for a wider audience, then these test results are good. If, on the other hand, I’m trying to write for a select audience, then this score tells me that I failed as a writer. This presents me with a real conundrum. As a writer, I would be glad if my writings are read and understood by a large number of people. I think any writer wants to touch the souls of as many readers as possible. But, at the same time, my ego would love the fact that what I write is read and understood by a select few. This would give great pleasure, I think, to any writer who has some literary education background, and dreams of becoming the next James Joyce or Virginia Woolf (no matter how, admittedly, far-fetched and ludicrous that dream may be).
In the end, however, I think that writing, as any other form of art, should aim to have some sort of emotional or intellectual impact on you. If it hasn’t, then that text failed its purpose as a piece of writing trying to communicate something. And I wholeheartedly believe that this emotional or intellectual connection can be truly achieved only by a person who lives for writing.
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