When I was in school I hated to write. Likely the biggest reason was that I hated what I had to write about. Being forced to do something tends to lower the quality of ones output. I don’t consider myself a great wordsmith by any means, but I’ve found a niche that energizes me and utilizes my talents and interests.
When you like what you do you do it better. When you write about what you know you know it’s more believable. I realize it doesn’t take a genius to figure that out, but sometimes we forget how little details can sometimes ruin an otherwise acceptable manuscript.
Take geography for example. It peeves me when an author tells a story which has all the ingredients necessary to peak my interest, but he or she blows it by getting the geography wrong. In other words, when writing about real places, get it right. If an author is not willing to research streets, rivers, creeks, local botany and wildlife, etc., then perhaps it would be better to make the setting a fictitious one. That eliminates people like me being critical. It might not be fair, but a few inaccuracies early in a book closes the cover permanently for me, and I think others as well.
Writing from experience is also easier. The words flow onto the page with less effort. I teach high school (but not English) and constantly listen to students complain about how hard it is to write an essay or other assignment. They struggle with word counts and eventually become content to hit the word or page requirement while not worrying about the content very much. I know why teachers insist on minimum numbers of pages or words, but it is still frustrating. Two pages of well written concise manuscript beats six pages of redundant crap any day. However, if the teacher had no guidelines, he or she would have received one or two pages of crap instead of six.
Students succeed at what is important to them. Few ever fail driver’s education, because they want their license. Even marginal students struggling in all their classes don’t screw this one up. We need to find a way kids can cultivate their excellence. They can do that by gaining confidence. Confidence gives us the desire to get even better. The better we become the more fun it is. We become better writers when we are enjoying ourselves. We enjoy it more when we are confident we know what we are talking about. It keeps building after that, but we have to taste a little success first. For a teacher that can be the greatest challenge.