A lot of people want to be better at writing. We know what we need to do. We know we should practice. We know reading is a big part of writing. But the person who stares at me from the mirror keeps lying to me. Its too hard he says. You will never be any good he says. You have to many other things to do, I don't have time to do this I say.
Yes I am the one in the mirror. I am the one to blame for my problems. In this case, I want to do more writing. I was thinking about that while driving around today. I realized there is a good simple low risk way to practice. There are people I know writing columns, these columns are interesting to me and I read quite a few. Most have room for and encourage comments at the end.
This is a great opportunity not only read some great material and think critically about the material. This is also a time where I can absorb the material more deeply, providing a broader range of ideas to draw from for my future writings. If I want to retain the material, I should try to comment on the material. I want my comment to be well thought out, I want people to think "hey that is a great point." I also want to be able to support the writer of the original post. I want to read more material by this person so I should encourage the author by letting him know I like it.
I can also make critical points on the article. I try not to criticize the author. Snarky, snide and just plain rude are not rare enough elements. If I do not agree that is ok, if I can not make a point without resorting to these elements that says more about me than anyone else. I need to learn why I feel the way I do. I may learn my feelings on the issue are wrong. When this happens, it is a great opportunity to share what you have learned. This can either be a comment on the authors work or fodder for your own place on the web.
So help yourself and others with comments. Read more, think more and write more. Lets learn together.
Your comments are welcome and encouraged