Practice, practice, and practice. This is the secret to writing in a perfect journalistic style. With a little goodwill and a lot of patience, the result is guaranteed.

Newspaper writing has its own rules. Writing the text for a TV news report has its own rules. Writing an article for the web has others. Journalism is not literature, but the difference between the two is not as big as you think. All types of good prose have some elements in common: they are clear and easy to read, use vibrant language, stimulate and entertain. This applies as much to a newspaper or web article as to a novel and independently of the language in which it is written.

Learning to write well is an arduous and lonely challenge. We all know people who say want to write, but many times it’s just about to go around saying they are writers.

One thing they don’t want to do, however, is to sit on a chair and not move from there until they have filled a computer screen with words. But that is exactly what you have to do, many, many times. Regardless of how talented you really are, the training process involves you writing hundreds of pieces and making mistakes.

You will leave out essentials and write unnecessary ones. You will get halfway through the piece only to realise it doesn’t work and you have to start again. You will use a clumsy or pompous or stiff style. You will try to develop a smoky or banal theme. You will commit whole sentences to the screen that are so silly that if you were to say them, embarrassment would take your voice away mid-sentence. 

And having introduced you to the difficult part of this job, here is the cool one.

After you’ve been in a newspaper with an attentive ear, reading, studying the best and the worst, and making yourself your own most punctilious critic, you will begin to glimpse the halfway point.

It may still take you some time to get a piece going, but in general, as you write a lot, you will become more and more fluent. The ability to write is like a muscle, it strengthens with daily practice. You will lose time with false starts and wrong paths but less time correcting the rhythm with which you write a piece according to the expected length, and you will waste less energy searching for an elaborate expression when a simpler one is preferable.   

You will find that indispensable thing without which no one can call themselves a writer: your language. With it you will express your natural style with rhythms and expressions that are recognisable as your own. And here is the test. If you read the piece out loud, you will recognise your own way of speaking, polished up a little. 

Here you go! That will be your personal style. Of course it will reflect in some way your favourite writers, your cultural background, your culture and so on. But it will be your own style, rigorously your own in the words, in the idiomatic expressions and in the rhythm of the period. It will be like a signature for you. But with your own story to read.

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