You’ve got a GCSE in English, you use English every day, so why are you struggling so much with writing your website content?
Answer: because it’s blooming hard.
I have a BA in English, an MA in professional writing and I taught writing at uni for five years. I’ve written for global clients for donkey’s years, and I know the science behind why one word or sentence works and another doesn’t — and there are still days I have to check, question and research until I find the phrase I want.
Why is writing so hard?
Until recently, most students left school with a niggling recollection that a verb was an ‘action’ word … or it could be a naming word. For forty years, the British education system avoided grammar teaching for the masses because it ‘stifled creativity’; the Literacy Strategy of the early 2000s required grammar-based standalone starter lessons that were not very effective because most teachers knew the rules little more than the pupils, so writing standards slipped.
The result is a nation of adults who muddle fundamentals in their writing.
In our digital world, the written word increasingly represents non-writers. People without a writing background have to rely on weak writing skills to communicate, when they should be as confident in their writing as they are with their speaking.
Since the success of Eats Shoots and Leaves (2003), the popular writing and grammar usage market has been growing steadily. Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss ranks as 41st ‘biggest selling book’ of all time (just below The Gruffalo at 40).
It seems people care about writing, but beyond going back to uni or school, how on earth do you improve your skills?
You could buy one of the oodles of pop-grammar books out there (I wrote one about American punctuation — out soon), or you could hop on a course designed specifically for people who need to feel more confident about writing their website — like mine. Ta daa!