Don't Just Learn How to Write; Learn How to Write Well

December 2, 2014
Year On TeamPower Skills

Original post by Morgan Ostrowsky

Writing is a skill that is never idle. It's a skill we use every day and every ad, every article, the text on every website, and the scripts for anything you watch must be written by someone. Yet, for some reason, we all know someone who is afraid to put pen to paper.

Whether or not you have an excuse like “my high school English teacher was awful” or not, writing is a skill you need to master.

By improving your writing, you can improve your communication with the world. It’s not just written communication either – if you can articulate on paper, you can do so at a higher level in spoken word. Having clear writing forces you to list out thoughts in a logical way that people can follow. The more quality your writing has, the more powerful your communication becomes and the more seriously people are going to listen to what you have to say.

Need a Reason to Write Well?

A recent study shows that according to employers, most people applying for jobs don’t possess sufficient written communication skills.

The benefits of clear written thoughts won’t just help you in a job, but they will help you get one as well. The staple of any great resume is a solid summary of your skills and accomplishments. Each line needs to be succinct and express value. If yours is well articulated, it will stand out amongst the crowd of resumes stacked on an employer's desk. If you are someone who lacks experience or a college degree, how you articulate your skills and minimal experience is absolutely paramount. If you can express yourself clearly, show your drive and motivation and write a kickass resume, you’re a contender for any job, regardless of educational barriers.

So, how do you go about working on your writing skills? First off, you should...

Read.

“I absolutely demand of you and everyone I know that they be widely read in every damn field there is; in every religion and every art form and don’t tell me you haven’t got time! There’s plenty of time.” ---Ray Bradbury

Read– read like mad. Read things from all different genres, fiction, and non-fiction. Read poetry, novels, magazines, blog posts, science journals, biographies, business books, and plays. The bottom line is that you should read everything you can because the more clear thoughts you read on paper, the more you will see great examples of expression that you can apply to your own writing. Also, the more you expose yourself to different styles the more you will learn structural rules. On top of all of that, you’ll learn about history, the world, how others express themselves and a whole new vocabulary. And, if you keep a dictionary or smartphone near you when you’re reading, your usable vocabulary will expand. A larger vocabulary comes in handy both in writing and during a conversation.

Read About Writing

To become a good writer, there are fundamental rules and structures that you need to understand. If you can employ these fundamentals, you will improve not only your writing but your editing skills, which will make you a more valuable asset.

The journey to improving your writing skills doesn’t end at reading a lot of examples and following the rules of writing. The only way to make those things applicable is to practice them, which leads us to the next step.

Practice

Make a daily writing practice. I don’t care if you don’t think you have time, make time for it. This is one of the most valuable skills you can teach yourself. Make time for it somehow.

Try out different styles and forms of writing. Keep a blog. Write poetry or blog posts as a part of your morning routine. Keep a journal. Write essays and opinion pieces. But don’t just stop with a daily writing practice...

Actively Seek Feedback

Don’t wait until your work is perfect or fine-tuned to put it out there. Get feedback, even if that feedback is hard to swallow. The reason is simple – feedback will always make your writing better. Start getting feedback from people close to you if you’re afraid, but don’t keep your writing from the world for too long.

Try freewriting and go for quantity over quality. As you write more, get more feedback and learn from that feedback, you will become a better writer. The key here is not only writing more but getting feedback and implementing that feedback into your work.

You’ll be writing things (i.e. emails, notes, blog posts, business letters etc.) for the rest of your life. If you get good at it early on, you will benefit yourself by accelerating your career and skills at a young age. The more you write, the better you will get. If you make sure to get feedback, you will progress even faster. The trick to writing is that there are no tricks. It takes time and effort and feedback to get good. And once you’re good, that cycle doesn’t stop. You have to keep improving and writing.

So get pumped and hop to it. Getting good at it now will prove an advantage as you progress through life.

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