Pathways to Writing Competence

St. Yohanes Berkhmans Todabelu Mataloko
English Corner

I have watched YouTube entitled ‘Pathways to Writing Competence” by Willy Renandya several times.

There are several amazing takeaways from that YouTube.

First, writing is really beneficial. It helps us think clearly. You need to think in order to write. You also want people to enjoy your writing. People will get bored if your writing is unclear. So, clarity is a driving factor.

Writing is beneficial because it helps us to make good decisions. By writing, you learn to see something clearly. It helps you decide which is good or better for you.

Writing is also therapeutic. It heals you. It reduces the stress. You feel fresh or better after writing.

Students producing ‘Koran Kompas’

But writing also has linguistic benefits. It helps you enrich your vocabulary. Your grammar is also becoming better and better because of writing. By writing you’ll become a better language user.

Writing also helps your thinking process. Not only do you think clearer, but you become more coherent and logical. Writing increases your thinking skills.

Second, you can only end up being a good writer by writing. But in order for you to become a good writer, you need to see a lot of models of writing. Then you may imitate the way the skillful writers do. Later on you develop yourself, you increase your ability and skill to write. And finally, you’ll become able to create your own piece of writing.

It means to be a good writer is to read. By reading a lot, you become like an apprentice, learning to write to a master, and especially to their masterpieces, that is books, or articles in magazines or newspapers.

Students reading in English Room

William Zinsser says, “Writing is learned by imitation.If anyone asked me how I learned to write, I’d say I learned by reading the men and women who were doing the kind of writing I wanted to do and trying to figure out how they did it”.

A combination of reading a lot and writing practice is an excellent pathway to writing competence.

With that said, reading habit and writing training program which have been part this Seminary’s best practices should be fully supported. We need to maintain the habit of reading among the students in every possible way.

To make it possible, we need to put into practice the four laws of James clear in Atomic Habits to grow a good habit: make something visible, make something interesting, make something easy, make something satisfying.

Make books visible so that the students can see and get interested (there needs to be a discussion on how to rearrange books in the library – we can learn from Loka Ghana library in Sedayu, Jogja), make reading activities interesting (the use of Mreader or Xreading fulfills this law), make reading something easy (eliminate unnecessary rules, so that students can get access to books easily), make something satisfying. Book is a reward in itself.

Last but not least, passion for writing is something that needs to be boosted. Seeing is believing. Students believe in what they see. Therefore, modeling is a must-to-do service, even though it is winding and rocky. I dream that majority of teachers in Seminary are writers themselves.

Opportunities to meet and discuss with the writers, local, national, or international, perhaps need to be widely open. And of course, writing training for the students needs to be put as a priority.

I know, this can be kind of a voice in the desert, but better expressed it out than keep it hidden (Nani Songkares).