Why Excellent Writing is So Important

KristinaW

Member
  • #1
I would love to say that writing is a lost art. I'm not sure it is. More people write on earth today than ever before. And some of that writing is pretty awesome. That's a fact. The thing is, I believe the quality of writing, per capita, is trending downhill. For all the education we receive, I can't say the average high school or college student writes better than the average student did 50 years ago. Maybe I'm wrong. I don't know. It's just that every time I see one of my friends write something, I want to put my palm on my forehead and slide my hand down my face. And back when I was in college, I don't remember anyone standing out. I can't tell you the last time I've been impressed with someone's writing. I really can't.

Actually, that may be a lie. Around 10 years ago, I read a few poems written by a girl I used to know. I was blown away. I wondered how she managed to infuse such creativity and finesse into so few words. I think she may have been a genius. And another time, I read an article that was written in the New Yorker that made my jaw drop. I decided then and there that some people were just built to write. It's not like the author of that piece could have practiced being that good. They just were.

Would you like to see some examples of excellent writing? I just did a Google search and these are the best I found. Take a look.

https://kk.org/cooltools/best-magazine-articles-ever/
https://www.theatlantic.com/enterta...ly-100-fantastic-pieces-of-journalism/238230/

We can all write. I sometimes marvel at the kids today and at how fast they can text. And use smart phones in general. I generally don't feel old until I stand and watch a teenager whiz through a message to a friend using only their two thumbs. It's remarkable really. I used to think I was fast at getting things done, but when I watch these kids...it really is something. And yes, there is a percentage of them who can write things of actual importance too. They can write papers and essays with such skill and craft, I wouldn't have a leg to stand on if I tried to complain. It's just that I want to see more of these kids doing this. They're at the time in life when their minds are young and fresh. They can still do these things and to gain such an important skill as writing is critical. So many of these kids have no idea of the value of writing well.

Okay, so I've established a few of my opinions. In general, we can all write. Some of us are really great at it while some of us aren't great at all. Also, writing is a necessary skill that can get one far in life. If what I've shared is even partly true, then I'm willing to say that it's a worthwhile endeavor to practice writing as much as possible. Even for the oddest of tasks, a well written piece can change a life. Quick story. I have a friend who met his wife about 10 years ago on an online dating website. He credits his connection to his flair for writing. His wife told him, after they exchanged a few messages back and forth, that she had never received messages like his. That he expressed himself clearly and articulated who he was and his goals in life. He complimented her and made her feel good about herself. Basically, she fell in love with his writing. So yes, good writing can change a life.

The thing is, in order to get good at writing, you need to spend a lot of time doing it. It's just like anything else. Playing the guitar, practicing a martial art, playing basketball - everything you want to do well requires deliberate practice. No shortage of research has shown this. It's no secret. A close focus on what you're practicing makes all the difference in how you'll ultimately perform. Imagine this. Between the day of your high school graduation and your first day of college, you delve into the world of writing. You practice and practice, but not the same old thing. You don't focus on becoming a machine at what you've always done. You actually practice the craft of writing. Your goal is to write well. After months of determined practice, you become more proficient than you've ever imagined. After college begins, you hand in paper after paper with confidence. You outperform your classmates. You stand out. You learn to communicate effectively. You impress your professors. You save time. You become more efficient than ever before. You graduate college. Your writing leads to a wonderful career. You rely on your writing to cultivate engaging relationships with all sorts of people. You enhance your quality of life. You think I jest. I do not. I can't think of one thing that has led me to more success than my writing. And I'm not even that good at it. I can only imagine if I was. Time is scarce and life is short. Too short to pass up the opportunity of being an incredible writer and communicator, because that's what it really is. A form of communication.

I've long claimed the importance of writing. I've often said that it's one of the most critical skills a person can possess, not only while attending high school and college, but throughout life. And really, it's not even the excellent writer who stands out (although he or she does), it's the person who can't write who misses out on opportunities. Oh so many opportunities that have been practically handed over on a silver platter. Consider how much of a privilege it is to attend a college or university in the United States. Consider how many people in the world never have that opportunity. Now consider attending that college or university and not knowing how to write well the entire time. What a waste.

Did you know that the Association of American Colleges and Universities once conducted a study of what the most sought after skill by employers was? It's true. Do you know what employers want most? They want graduates who can effectively communicate both orally and in writing. It's true - that came in at 89%. They actually want universities to focus more resources on those two things. In the entire survey, the number one skill employers seek is good communication via speaking and writing. I think that's just incredible. They also thought critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills was important at 81%, the ability to analyze and solve complex problems at 75%, and the ability to locate, organize, and evaluate information from multiple sources at 68%. Jobs today require employees to do a lot more than they used to. Employees are required to cross paths and functions with many departments and to excel above and beyond what was once expected just a few short decades ago. In short, the more you can find and absorb information, analyze that information, and assemble and relay that information, the better.

Good writing has always been important, but it's critical in today's fast moving and demanding world. If you want to stand apart from others and enhance your entire life, begin placing a focus on becoming an excellent writer. You won't be sorry. If you're in high school or college, you would do well to learn what your teacher or professor expects from you. Take notice of their corrections on your papers and give them what they want. They're what's between you and the real world, so use them for all they're worth. And they're worth a lot.

And since I can't help but to offer you a quick piece of personal advice, if you have the opportunity to take a few elective classes in college, there's nothing better than some that focus on writing. I have a penchant for creative writing, but that's just me.
 
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