Why You Should Learn to Write

Why Everyone Should Learn How to Write

By Staff Writer
In January 9, 2014

Though I’m an art director and have worked in design for nearly a decade, it wasn’t always like that. In fact, for most of my life, I wanted to write. Starting with the East Elementary newspaper, I had an eye on a career in the newsroom. I got both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in the trade from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, where I began my career as a writer and online editor.

Since then, however, I’ve turned my focus to design, though I feel fortunate every day I learned how to write. It’s something I’ve been able to lean on so many times in my design career, especially when it comes to presenting myself and my work in a cogent, engaging manner. I don’t doubt that having writing skills on my resumé helped land me the job here. I’d like you – no matter what you do – to benefit from the same opportunities.

No matter what you’ll be doing for a living, writing is the one skill that you will — with 100 percent certainty — rely upon every day. Let me take it a step further: Even if a job you’re going after doesn’t explicitly include writing in the job description, the people doing the hiring will, given a tough decision among several highly qualified candidates, hire the best writer.

Why? Because the ability to write is synonymous with so many other skills, not the least of which is thinking clearly, making ideas and concepts easier to understand, taking another’s perspective, knowing what to include and what to leave out, and so on. To this point, my college professor once told me, “If you can think clearly, you can write clearly.” Now that design is how I pay the bills, I’ve come to realize employers believe the opposite to be true, too.

Bolstering your writing skills isn’t always easy and it takes work. But it is inexpensive. All it requires is the desire and time to hone your abilities. Start not by writing but by reading. Surround yourself with good writing, both relevant to your field and in general. Keep bits and pieces of what you like and consider why you like it. Next stop: Practice. Start a blog. Better yet, start your company’s blog (if they don’t have one). If they do, volunteer to write for it.

While you’re at it, check out the following books from the library: The AP Stylebook and The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. Then read them and read them again. Both of these books will streamline your writing. And make sure to maintain a daily routine. Even the mere act of logging what you have done every day is an exercise in inclusion and omission and will better your writing. Most importantly, don’t wait. Writing doesn’t have to take place in Microsoft Word on your computer. It can be as simple as a notebook, a pen, and your curiosity.

The world around us is changing by the second. There will probably be a new bit of technology invented while you read this that will drastically change how we do things. The apps, programs, and processes you learn today have the tendency to become outmoded and obsolete by tomorrow — if not by later today. Because the state-of-the-art will always be in flux, it’s important to take the time to focus on you. By learning how to write (and by constantly honing these skills), you’ll be putting yourself in a position to succeed for years to come.

Love to write? What other tips* would you recommend to those interested in learning the ropes?

*For more ways to hone your writing chops, I highly recommend watching Austin Kleon’s presentation, “Steal Like A Writer.”

Staff Writer

So who is this mysterious staff writer? Could be anyone really, as long as they meet our very strict criteria. 1) Worked with us in one capacity or another. 2) Have something pretty interesting to say. 3) Want to use our blog to say it. See? Told ya they were strict!