I have always been able to write fluidly, easily. I come from a highly literate family: my mother wrote reams of letters to a close friend, and always had a sheet of paper in the typewriter. One of my brothers is a journalist. My father started, but never finished, several children’s books when I was little. (I keep hoping maybe he’ll finish one before he dies; there was one about children tunneling under the playground of the school we all attended that I loved, and I would very much like to know how it came out; but I’m not sure my dad ever knew. I think he wrote till he got stuck.) I kept a diary from an early age. I read voraciously. Words poured out when I wrote.
I just didn’t think of this as a useful skill, one that not everyone had, until late in my undergraduate career. All my friends in high school were good all-rounders, B+ to A students in all our classes. The wanna-be scientists were good writers and the potential journalists got good grades in math. I didn’t feel there was anything I was especially good at, and I thought you went to college to do something hard, to stretch, so (omit digression here on how I still regret giving up on archeology) I wound up, for a time, aiming at a STEM career. But languages were still my fun classes, and I worked at the campus radio station, where I discovered both that I was very good at putting together a good script or story very quickly, and that other people were not. Combined with a nasty problem in ultra-filters, I finally realized that I was in the wrong field.
Perhaps I should have been a journalist, with a who-what-when-where-why structure dictated. Structure in academic writing is tricky for me, but I can write to length and to deadline. Give me a topic and a half hour, and I will give you 500 words. But I absolutely do not have the temperament for journalism, which is why I didn’t go there (that, and the older brother: not getting into direct competition with him, thank you).
I’ve written before about using this strength to compensate for my problems with structure and argument.
What’s easy for you? How could you use something you do easily to help you attack something that’s hard?