Millennials may be the texting generation but that doesn’t mean people should “LOL” when they read your writing.
You don’t need to be an author or blogger to start improving your writing skills. Whether your job requires it or not, finding your own voice and style can make the difference between a good piece of writing and something cringe-worthy.
It doesn’t matter if you’re writing for fun or furiously tapping out the last paragraphs of an important proposal, great writing will help make a positive impression on your readers. This is a practical article meant to help you get writing, so let’s jump right in!
Email is a special breed. Sometimes you want to be as direct as possible, other times it helps to be formal. Here is my general tip for email: get in and get out. Write thoughtfully but directly. Keep it short and right to the point (this one isn’t always possible).
Like all types of writing, we can get burned-out on email. If you find yourself struggling for words or rewriting the same sentence multiple times, take a break. Sometimes the best way to get more productive is to go do something else. You’ll be processing what you want to say while you’re working on another task anyway and when you come back – you’ll be ready to write an amazing reply.
Resource to check out: these ridiculously good tips from Forbes.
Resumes are tricky because they’re so subjective. You want to let your personality shine through, but you also need to cover the bases.
The most important thing to understand when writing a resume is that the red flags have changed. We used to worry that a resume would be automatically excluded if employers saw gaps in employment or hopping from one job to the next, but as more millennials actually step into HR and recruiting roles, the rules are changing. So don’t be embarrassed about your year-off or your quick stint at the job you hated. Be honest on your resume, it often shows a well-rounded individual.
This one is daunting but important. Good proposal writing skills can help you in all your other writing because it must be informative and persuasive. You need to define your goals, explain how you’ll achieve them and predict the results you’ll get (all in plain language). The most important step here is forecasting results. You want to explain to your audience exactly why they should follow your proposal. It’s very important to keep revising your proposal to ensure its accuracy and impact.
Resource to check out: wikiHow has a great practical guide. Follow the link in the paragraph above to help you add some ‘teeth’ to your work.
Blogging and article writing
This one isn’t just for professional writers. Contributing a piece of writing to a blog or magazine is a great way to get recognized in your industry. Even if it’s contributing a guest post on a hobby, writing articles or shorter blog posts can be a rewarding exercise. The trick is to share something meaningful. Offer readers a take-away or something memorable they can use later.
When asked to contribute and article or blog post, it’s important to consider your audience. Is it a professional reader who will understand technical terms or is this a more casual group, better served with a more causal tone? Once you’ve established your audience and your topic, it’s time to write.
Resource to check out: no secret here, read other blogs on your topic and research your audience. Google is your friend.
Writing projects require special attention when they start to reach targets of more than a few thousand words. Particularly, you should be evaluating how you hold your reader’s interest. Does the piece need to be as long as it is? Whether you’re writing fiction or non-fiction, the challenge with long-form writing isn’t necessarily the word-count, it’s cutting out all the filler.
Here’s the trouble: when we’ve put the time and effort into completing these longer projects we’re usually too close to the work to be objective about it. One of the best ways to make your long-form projects shine is to have multiple rounds of third-party editing — whether it’s by a professional or a friend with keen eyes — getting a few other people to read and give you honest feedback is the best route to follow.
Resource to check out: the NaNoWriMo blog.
Do you have other great writing tips or resources we missed? Share it in the comments below.