So if you’re wondering why good writing skills are essential to be successful, read on! And while being able to write well isn’t necessary for every job out there, it’s still a highly valued skill that can be hard to learn as an adult.
8 Writing Skills that will Benefit Your Life
Writing well is a skill that will benefit all aspects of your life. From the job you get after college to the promotions you earn at work, your writing skills will help determine what steps you take in your career.
Writing is Doing the Most with the Least Effort
The key to writing well is to write with as few words as possible. In Mr. Zinsser’s book On Writing Well, William Zinsser quotes a friend of his who said, “If you can write as clearly and as cleanly as Hemingway, you can write as well as Hemingway.”
Words can be the most challenging part of writing. It’s easy to get lost in the language of your topic or the reader.
If you’re not careful, you could end up paying more than necessary, hindering your message.
To make sure you don’t misspeak, use an accessible writing method that helps you keep your message focused and sincere.
Create a Vision for What You Want Your Reader to Take Away
Marketers still do this so well, especially when doing search engine optimization — they create a vision for their readers. By determining what results from a customer might expect in a specific position in their S.E.R.P. (Search Engine Result Page).
A similar system can be applied to writing. For instance, what image, headline, or paragraph should you choose if you’re about to write a blog post?
Meathead and bootblack SEO don’t read moon bases, so they usually won’t want to read “You should incorporate images related to SEO into your next blog post!.”
Instead, they’ll want to read some arguments behind the features you’re suggesting.
For example, suppose you’re talking about an infographic. In that case, you can take the opposite approach and recommend an image related to your topic.
You could ask your writer if they can link an image from their collection to the infographic you’re presenting.
You can take a similar approach to create a flow state in your writing. Lead your reader on a cliffhanger with a tease. Schema forms and Featured snippets give the writing community plenty of fodder for those kinds of teasers.
Keep Information Short and Focused
This rule of thumb applies even more to blog posts, where being concise is more important than confusing.
Good Writing is a Formula Anyone Can Learn
The best way to learn to write is to read. Read widely, not just in your specific genre. Pay attention to the writing that moves you, keeps you up all night reading and makes you want to read more.
And when you turn a page, from best to worst, realize why you’re reading.
Maybe you love a character with a complex backstory, some suspenseful action, a vivid description, or an unexplained problem, and you wonder: what would S.H.I.E.L.D. Do?
Or maybe you’ve never really tapped into the power of dialogue or describing how a character feels.
Whatever it is that excites you, try to find opportunities to express it.
We all need it, even if it’s shocking or off-putting. Practicing is how you grow your skills.
As an adult, your writing skills go way beyond the limitations of your environment.
Compound this fact with the fact that these skills will become even more critical in your career: as you grow as a writer, so will your abilities.
You need to stay productive and use writing to keep in touch with yourself and what you love to do. The report will help you hone creative thinking and express yourself as a person.
While some people aim to build a writing career, others want to publish a book of coffee table articles. (Or several.) If that’s all you want, great!
Live your life the way you want to. But you might not be getting everything you want or what you need.
Too often see, people who are effortless in their lives yet have no desire to write constantly. That just isn’t you.
One of my role models told me it takes 15 minutes a day to write a good article.
We’re not robots; writing can be hard work. And it’s why I decided to return to school to study writing. Learning to write will keep you motivated, focused, and sharp as an adult.
If You Want to Write Well,
You have to Pay Attention to Your Reader.
Before you write anything, ask yourself who you’re writing it for. When Crock Pot dishes are your thing and not the real estate agent seeking your services, writing copy that speaks to them is critical.
Having different goals and understanding your audience will help you write for them in the best way possible.
Focus on What Writing Can Do for Your Reader
How do you create content for people? At the end of the day, your goal with any piece of content is to get someone to read, absorb, and learn something.
If you have a thought or an idea you know your reader might want to know, take the time to write that down before you start optimizing the copy.
No matter what type of thing you’re writing about or what industry you work in. The goal is the same: you want your reader (anyone with a computer who wants to learn something—that’s who you’re writing for!) to take some action from your content.
Visitors might mean they read the post, acted on the information, or converted somewhere else on your site.
Once you know your reader, focus on their reaction to your writing. Write for them in a way that will play into their emotions and drive them to take action.
For example, I like How to Bring Company Down in Hell, which portrays confrontation, feelings, and colleagues. That gets under our skin but makes us want to root for the good guy.
When composing your content, prioritize what you want the reader to do, then write it down. Don’t think about delivering the answers; provide the action the reader needs.
You should always edit your work, even if you think it’s perfect the first time.
It’s common for writers to want their first draft to be perfect, but it is never perfect.
Always go back and edit your work, even if you’re sure it’s good enough. Most writers are never delighted with their work and will always want to go back and tweak something.
Here is a recent study by the College Writing Program on writer’s block and its effects. I’d recommend reading it: Writers, Bloated Bodies, and Block: How Empathy and Consistency Help When Journaling and Writing.
The main point of the study is to show us that writing is not just a puzzle to be solved. But editing can be a very beneficial step to ensure your work is polished and helps you sell it.
And luckily, we all have a friend who can help with our writing woes; editing.
Check out my previous blogs if you’re interested in learning more about editorial work.
Today, I want to talk about editing as a writer and how to use it to your benefit when you’ve got your first draft. Read on to see why good editing can be just what the doctor ordered.
General editing tips:
- Keep your thesis related to your content and target audience.
- Try to keep a general structure.
- Keep your system well-organized.
- Remind yourself that you are in control of your work because you can decide how to edit it.
The rest of the steps for editing your writing will fall into four main categories:
- Spell check
- Remove unnecessary words and turn in misspellings.
Spelling is usually pretty straightforward. Since most people are native English speakers, your edge as a writer will come through your writing, not your grammar.
Use the spell-check tool called GRAMMARLY! GRAMMARLY will look over your shoulder, watching and noting missed letters and problematic grammar.
Moreover, I will offer suggestions on how to re-write what you want to say. To get your point across as clear as you can.
People will Read What You Write.
People will judge you based on your writing, so it’s essential to write in a way that makes you look good.
When you register, think about how you want people to perceive you. Use longer, more complicated sentences if you’re seen as eloquent and intelligent.
If you’re going to look more authoritative, use shorter sentences. Be conscious of how you write, as everyone will have a unique view of you based on your writing.
Losing Your Focus
It can be tempting to stick to a set of instructions in your head that you learned in grammar school. Get comfortable with writing nonfiction.
It will take some time to master, but it is an invaluable skill you can put to good use. Try not to get lost in words on the page.
And keep an eye on the reader and their reactions. With time, you will stop thinking about your comments for their meaning, and you will be able to write confidently and fluently.
While this is something you can do during a break in class, it’s also something you can do during the actual writing sessions.
A solid grasp of writing can benefit your career in more ways than one.
Whether you are using your skills in a new job setting or looking to invest in real estate, your success will rely on your ability to write well.
Having a solid writing voice can get you places.
It can also save you from delving into a writing hole you don’t know you’re sitting in.
Good writing skills are an excellent tool for any English language learner; they’re something every aspiring author should master.
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