In today’s digital world, computers can do almost everything for us. From finding that perfect recipe to scheduling our appointments, we’ve become unbelievably dependent on computer technology. As a result, the value of being able to write often goes overlooked. Spellcheck, autocorrect and auto-format seem to take over the most basic and fundamental process of writing. What many people fail to realize is that writing is still a key principle of communication, and probably always will be.
Yes, we’ve progressed from snail mail to email, but people often neglect the importance of a well written, structured and thought out piece of writing. Spellcheck can’t determine the difference between your and you’re, it can’t tell you that “it’s” is a contraction for “it is” while “its” is possessive. What you write and send out, whether it be a published piece of writing or a private email, ultimately reflect upon you as a person. The last thing you want to do is send out a mass email only to realize you overlooked a silly grammatical error. It reflects poorly on yourself and your company.
Another pitfall in our writing is too much “fluff.” We’re so used to overloads of payday loans online no credit check information that we often think more is necessary to get our points across—right? Wrong. In fact, writing is much more readable when there are less words. The less words it takes to get your point across in a cohesive and compelling way, the better and more fluid your writing will come across. That being said, don’t take shortcuts—writing is a learned skill, and shortcuts won’t teach you how to write well. There is a time and place to use shorthand English jargon – phrases such as “lol,” “ and u” instead of “you,” should be saved exclusively for text messages and private Twitter accounts. Never use “u” in an email.
Another important facet of writing is decoding tough-to-read language. If you’re in finance or medicine, for example, it’s crucial to have a good writer on your team who can push out content that makes sense to an Average Joe, not just industry-savvy people. An article about the benefits of a breakthrough medical technology may be useless to a large percentage of people who read it but can’t understand all the medical terminology and language. Make sure whatever you’re writing, unless you’re writing exclusively to an audience of medical professionals, is legible and understandable to an everyday person.
The best way to improve your writing? Practice, practice, and more practice. Like riding a bike, writing improves the more you do it. Another easy way to improve your writing is to read as much as possible. Read the news, a magazine or start a novel. Reading others’ writing is a surefire way to learn the skill and engrain good writing in your mind. Lastly, proofread. Never send an email or submit a blog post without reading it over thoroughly at least once to check for mistakes. Even better, have a friend or colleague look it over as well—they’ll be more likely to find mistakes that you missed. But get ready to receive some “Proofread my essay” requests, too. Ultimately, good writing skills make you look more polished and professional both in your career and personal life. What are some things you do to improve your writing? Let us know in a comment!