There have been recent reports that the grammar skills of people hired by American businesses are deficient. There appear to be widespread errors in preparation of company memos, emails, brochures, and letters, as well as in use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin for business purposes. This is an unfortunate situation which may be reaching the epidemic stage, and is a sad reflection on the writing skills of people who have jobs and are in a position to influence others through their writing. It is particularly disturbing in situations involving the distribution of marketing and promotional materials where grammar mistakes may well spell loss of business for a company or loss of important sales to a salesman trying to meet a quota. Poor grammar will give you away every time. You must write with clear and effective English to sell your “product” – which is you!
Is there an easy fix? Probably not, but there’s a start. Many people bemoan the fact that they can’t write. But I strongly believe that if you write well you can do well, and you can write well if you believe that you can. That’s the bottom line. Even if you think that you have no “gift” for writing, deliberate effort will overcome that belief – practice can turn your inability to write well into a writing skill.
Much of the poor writing extant in today’s world stems from a lack of confidence in a person’s ability to write well. But confidence can be obtained through dedicated study and practice. And that effort is definitely worthwhile! Clear writing will help you make a living, whether you are employed, self-employed, looking for a job, or looking for your niche.
Some say that the slow economy has tarnished capitalism’s image. But, I don’t believe this is true at all. I believe that free enterprise still flourishes and individual initiative still beckons. Capitalism was built on entreprenurism and entrepreneurism is fostered by creativity. Creativity requires clear thinking, and if you can think clearly you will also be able to write clearly. You can do your part to invigorate the economy by learning to write more clearly. Learn to think clearly and you will be on your way to the development of clear writing skills, which will bring you a step closer to the ability to solve problems and master concepts, skills you will need to master no matter what field you are in. Dedicate yourself to the goal of clear writing, which depends on clear thinking. There is a clear and ongoing need for creative thinking in the global marketplace, and if you can’t write clearly you will not be able to compete. Creative thinking will serve you well whether you are in business for yourself or working for another; that skill will give you an edge over others.
You can begin by developing confidence in your writing. Clear writing is an art form. It can be attained like any other art form through dedicated and persistent study and practice. Take your writing seriously. Avoid a now and then approach. Read and write regularly. Read books, magazines, periodicals, and articles. Read authors you like to learn new words, style, and usage. Write to practice using what you have learned from reading. The two go hand in glove. Remember, if you write well you can do well. That’s the bottom l.ine.
Put yourself in a position where opportunity can see you and you can see opportunity. Be prepared to take advantage of situations that will develop if you are ready. The lack of ability to write clearly will hold you back and impact your ability to get hired or, if working, to advance in your job. You can make a difference in this economy but you have to be ready.
To write clearly, I have learned that two cardinal writing lessons are paramount: preparation and organization. Many people who don’t write well ignore these basic precepts. Well organized writing begins with well thought out preparation. This means that to reach the ultimate goal of clear writing you must begin with a thoroughly prepared preliminary plan followed by a detailed outline. To be sure, you must employ sound writing techniques as well, but if the fundamentals are flawed your writng will suffer.
These fundamental writing lessons are covered in detail in my new eBook, “The Art of Clear Writing,” now available on Kindle. Its goal is to help those who want to write better to do so.
Also available on Kindle is my article, “Antietam and Gettysburg – Two Pivotal Civil War Battles That Saved The Union.”
The next blog will be posted on Friday, August 10, 2012.
Copyright © 2012. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.