Let’s face it. Our claim to being superior as an English speaking country does no longer live up to its rank. We can pronounce English well but in terms of proficiency, comprehension, and grammar, our writing skills have deteriorated as 21st century paved a way for social media and internet slangs. University professors lament over college students’ ineptitude in English writing skills and employers of training services could only wish schools gave more focus on this area. The Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey commissioned by Promoting English Proficiency (PEP) revealed that the largest deterioration was in the ability to speak in English which fell from 54% in September 2000 to 32% in March 2006—a deterioration of 22% in six years. Can you imagine how that is now after 11 years?
English is a language of less elasticity and flexibility in a way that we can speak exactly what we want to say without being taken out of context, but if our sentence structure, syntax, prepositions and all other else are incorrect, then we are far from the accuracy of the message we want to convey.
Let’s bring up a method that isn’t normally taught in school—copying the work of others. We can say this is the first best way to get started with our English writing skills in becoming a better content writer. “Copywork”, as how they called it, used to be the method practiced by which students learn to write back in the 18th century, and it’s how the internationally-acclaimed writers in English literature mastered the craft.
When we were only toddlers, we learned how to walk and talk by imitating our parents or the people around us. When we reach high school, we learned how to play a sport by imitating the player we idolized. When we want to perform theater, we learned how to act by imitating our favorite actors. So the imitation of someone else’s writing style isn’t really the death of English writing skills. If anything, it’s a means of getting to that goal. Yes, it may sound a bit unflattering but, like a chef who never stops tasting and examining the dishes of other chefs to look for inspiration for his new recipe, celebrated writers—such as like Robert Louis Stevenson and Benjamin Franklin—did the same method. Here’s why:
When you literally copy the works of the masters, you’re unconsciously taking in the different quirks and various elements of their writing style. The flow of their thoughts and the ways they strung their words together to express themselves, you get to absorb these to your own style.
The one thing that determines a content writer’s style is his choice of words and, as mentioned above, is how he string words together in a sentence to set the tone or humor or mood of his writing. In other words, his signature that when you read his work, you’d know that it was him who wrote it. As you go through the written works of these celebrated writers and copy the texts to the paper by hand, you get to closely examine how they choose and arrange words to put impact on the message. Like many other writers in digital marketing services, you too will experience downtimes when it feels like you’re going nowhere in your writing. Grab a pen and paper and start copying the works of say, Maya Angelou, to put a bit of fire in your content, or say, Jessica Zafra to rub on some dry humor in your piece. Whatever it is, copying the works of others by pen and paper could get the ball rolling.
Other than stringing words together in a paragraph, there’s also the transitioning of one paragraph to the next that makes up the overall impact of the message; may it be informative, instructive, educational, or entertaining. Copywork allows you to get deeper into the writer’s train of thoughts and might even master the trick of using one-sentence paragraph if you wish.
Do you want to?
(See the example right there?)
The published words of these famous writers underwent thorough editing and proofreading. When you do your copywriting, you get to be aware of the mechanics of correct grammar, correct punctuations, and most of all, correct spellings. Thanks for that, internet slangs and autocorrect.