The Importance of Writing Well
I’m hungry. Let’s eat, Grandma.
I’m hungry. Let’s eat Grandma.
Good grammar saves lives!
In one of the above sentences, Grandma had become dinner. Can you identify the sentence?
Regardless of your station in life – student, employee, parent — writing is an important part of communication all around the world, so naturally it should be important to people. It is critical to foster good writing habits and skills at a young age.
The following was taken from an article in Critical Public Health, “Within these policy discourses gender has been construed as a ‘variable’ shaping leisure behaviours, rather than central to the contemporary experience of feminine subjectivity and women’s sense of physicality. A calculative logic is evident within active living policies that employ the self-management techniques of measured activity and self-scrutiny (‘30 minutes a day, on most days’). This sets up a relation to self that is steeped in a mind/body opposition which privileges embodied activity as a form of biomechanical movement.” What does this paragraph even mean? Of course to an academic, this scholarly writing might make perfect sense, but to most of us, the heart of good writing, is clear communication.
Writing sets the tone for first impressions. A teacher reading a persuasive essay can immediately tell within reading the first couple of sentences whether there is a possibility that they will be persuaded by the student’s arguments. Writing can lead to job interviews, and ultimately to securing a job. Writing says a lot about a person, teachers and recruiters know this; therefore, it should be important to the person doing the writing.
Writing is not a gift, it is hard work that requires considerable effort and time to master. If writing is continually practiced, there is no reason that someone cannot become clear in their communication or a good writer at best. Writing is not a special talent, it is a skill. If we expect students to learn how to write effectively, then writing and writing instruction should become a shared responsibility. This is not to say the responsibility of writing well lies in the hands of our teachers, the reins are theirs just as much as it is the student’s.
Although it may not seem like it, the reality is that we write more now than we ever did before. It is rare that we will sit and write a letter to a friend, however we send countless emails, write hundreds of text messages, tweet, instant message, blog, and comment at an astounding rate. At work we write letters, proposals, PowerPoint presentations, and dozens of more specialized documents. We are writing creatures, and thus “communication skills” is one of the most desirable traits. If you’re already a decent writer, why not commit to becoming an even better writer. It is never too late to become a great communicator, writing is a set of skills that can be learned and practiced by everyone.
Thanks to S. L. Smith (personal communication, August 2013) for saving Grandma’s life.