Oct 10, 2022
One of the patrons of the podcast wrote to me on the forum that while I have covered the research on learning to read in a fair amount of detail, I'm yet to speak about learning to write, and he would really like to know more about this since he teaches writing day to day. I happen to have been reading Cambridge Handbook on Expertise and Expert Performance edited by the late great K. Anders Ericsson (among others), and there is a chapter entitled Professional Writing Expertise which I thought might be relevant. So this one's for you, Tom.
The chapter starts with an overview of the definition of what expert writing is as a task, followed by a description of the characteristics of expert writers, and finally goes on to describe something of the learning process of becoming a writer. Writing is a difficult skill to characterise because it comes in so many different forms, genres, and domains of expertise, but commonalities among expert writers are still possible to elucidate.
While this article is more of a study of experts and expertise rather than a detailed map of how to go from zero to hero in writing, it does help us to understand the nature of the task and the kinds of skills that need to be mastered in order to write well, as well as identify the sorts of issues that even the pros struggle with.
Enjoy the episode.
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