As true as this is, writing is a skill you can learn. It can be fully developed by nearly anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. To paraphrase inventor Thomas Edison, writing, much like genius, can be viewed as “1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” But simply having a few ideas and being able to express them coherently are two very different things. Writing requires the mental “heavy lifting” of developing those ideas into prose that is clear, concise, and well ordered. No one is born literate and eloquent.


Becoming a good writer takes self-understanding, mental effort, strategies, and practice. That is what we focus on getting to know how we perceive ourselves as writers, and then developing the strategies and skill sets needed to overcome past deficiencies and grow into media professionals. This chapter addresses two diagnostic instruments that you and your instructor can use to get you started on this pathway. First, the Media Writer’s Self-Perception (MWSP) Scale will help you to understand your own perceptions of your writing. Second, the Grammar, Spelling, Punctuation (GSP) Test will help you to pinpoint your current skill levels in these areas.


Think about the factors in your life that have influenced your development as a writer. Do you feel as though you received competent writing instruction in grade school and high school? How much did you read as a child? Are you a heavy social media user these days? How do you think these factors have shaped the writer you are today?