One of the last two professional writing classes I’m taking to finish my degree involves writing reviews. Although I mainly took it because I needed a final elective and it sounded interesting, I’m learning quite a lot about writing in general.
I’m a firm believer in the idea that you learn from doing. The more you write, the better your writing becomes. Yet in a world where everybody and their mother wants to become the next Stephen King, I prefer to take a more…practical approach. Although I enjoy writing stories and poetry as much as the next bookworm it sadly does not pay the bills. Hence my education and class writing has always leaned towards the practical side of writing. You’d be amazed at what jobs you can earn with good writing skills and a little creativity.
Writing reviews is one such method of practical writing. The idea is simple: you have an opinion on something and you want to share that opinion with the world. Sure you could write a simple Facebook or Tweet that says “OMG Hunger Games is the best (or worst) movie (or ripoff of Battle Royale) ever made.” Yet when you do this you ignore the obvious response – why? That ‘why’ is the key to writing a good review. If you can come up with a well developed argument for your opinion, you say far more than a one sentence post on a social network ever will.
There is also the obvious advantage that reviews are very easy to get published. After all, reviews for everything from the latest movie or restaurant to the chair your sitting on is subjected to some sort of criteria and rating system. They also make very good blog content, which is why I’ve been posting reviews I wrote for said review writing class here on my blog.
Want to write something practical? Try a review sometime. It’s an excellent exercise in writing.