24 December 2009, by A. Cedilla
- Holly Lisle, acclaimed science-fiction and fantasy writer, has a free, 209-page e-book full of very memorable advice on writing, available for download here.
- No Train No Gain, an online resource for newsroom trainers (in journalism writing), has a resource page to help improve writing.
- The Purdue Online Writing Lab has writing resources and instructional material meant for writers and teachers/trainers.
- Forward Motion, an online community aimed at helping writers get published professionally, has back issues available, with some as free PDF downloads
And these are just a few of the thousands of writing resources, communities, organizations and downloads available on-line. Are you getting an idea of where we’re heading with this now?
Writing is a skill. As with any skill, there are levels to writing that can’t be reached by any process other than study and deliberate application — practice, practice, practice.
Some of the resources above are meant to break writing down to its very nut and bolts, others attend more to the process of writing, and still others to a particular goal — getting published, or mastering journalism. All of these resources can help you write better, if you apply yourself.
You’ve probably been beaten about the head with the line, “Content is King,” far too many times to count. So, if Content is King, writing helps it ascend the throne. That’s where you can come in.
Aside from hiring someone else to write for you, writing content yourself can 1) help refine your writing skills, 2) develop your particular voice on-line and ‘brand’ it and 3) help you connect and establish relationships with other people, as well as offer them helpful information.
We often forget this in the hunt for marketable skills, often focusing on technical knowledge and numbers, which in and of themselves aren’t bad, but communication is essential.
Think of it this way: if you’re a tech whiz who can’t get your point across, and hardly anyone understands you outside your work environment, can you picture the kind of life you’d have?
You need to be able to communicate to move in the world, in your relationships, in everything.
You need to communicate better to help deepen your relationships, and bring a depth and richness to them that surface talk rarely touches on. So, if there’s something stopping you, you have to address it in-depth and on-the-fly, because life will not wait for you to get your stuff together and have everything figured out.
What’s stopping you?
- Fear of failure – outside school, the only ones grading your performance are the voices in your head. Are you going to let them run your life as well?
- Fear of being awful – This is education we’re talking about, guys. Awful is what you’re supposed to be going in.
- You have no time – Ha! No pain, no gain, only truth: You must not want to be a better writer as badly as you thought.
- I’m no writer – Keep telling yourself what you’re not and you’ll act in ways to make it true. Here’s another truth: While you may not be a writer, you’re still a communicator, so you have no place to hide.
Writing is writing, whether for business or pleasure. Whatever the purpose of your writing, you can always find ways to express yourself better and write with more clarity. The resources share above are just springboards to other options and sources of more learning. It’s up to you to explore them, so go on, try, and experience joy in the learning.
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