Why can’t writing be more like cooking, photography or—wait for it—electronic gaming?

In A Sense of Style, Steven Pinker writes: “Learning to write should not be like negotiating an obstacle course in boot camp with a sergeant barking at your every errant footfall. Why not think of it instead as a form of pleasurable mastery, like cooking and photography?”

We love that.

So much, in fact, that we came up with a third activity that asks its fans to engage in “a form of pleasurable mastery.”

Electronic gaming.

Think about it: electronic games require you to improve a little with each new attempt. Just like writing. They also ask you to defeat villains who pose an existential threat to the universe. Just like—well—work with us here for a second.

In our Page 17 writing mentorships, we introduce participants to four villainous characters (like Gobbledydrone pictured to the right) who can rob our writing of its style, clarity and influence.

It all seems silly at first. At least until each new attempt turns out better than the last. Then it’s just plain fun.