Blog | Jan 25, 2013 | 2 Comments

Resources for Better Writing

I can’t tell you how many times people have said to me, “I hate writing. I don’t see how you can do it for a living.” I sympathize, but like it or not, we are ALL writers now. Here are some ways to make writing a little easier.

Writing is one of your top business skills.

I’ve said before on this blog: writing is damn hard. But complaining is a waste of time. As the site Daily Writing Tips says,

Writing skills are essential to your success. The rise of the information age – with the proliferation of e-mails, blogs and social networks – makes the ability to write clear, correct English more important than ever.

Even if you never write a presentation, report, grant application, or newsletter article–which is highly unlikely–you must at least know how to communicate well in short-form communications. You can’t afford to have your ideas discounted just because of poor sentence construction or organization.

Writing isn’t necessarily a lost art.

Some people say our nation’s writing skills are continually deteriorating. They blame everything from our educational system to television to social media. But I see a lot of forces combatting a decline. There are more resources than ever dedicated to helping people with all aspects of writing. For example:

Grammarly calls itself “an automated proofreader and your personal grammar coach.” It’s also the source of some of the most popular memes that appear on both my personal and business Facebook pages. And who ever thought grammar could be fun?

Dailywritingtips.com is full of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and vocabulary tips, which you can receive via email every day. It also maintains a huge collection of articles about business writing, fiction, and other topics.

Writing prompts: A writing prompt is an idea you can use to kickstart a writing project. You might remember them from creative writing exercises in English class. They are especially helpful for blogs, newsletter articles, and Facebook posts. You can find them all over the Internet but if you write for the nonprofit sector, subscribe to emails from Kivi Leroux Miller. Each month she sends out a handy list of writing prompts to help you engage or entertain donors.

Writing coaches and tutors: Many of these professionals help people who want to publish, but some provide help for any type of writing problem or project. Here is a good service description from one coach (not an endorsement). A Google search is bound to turn up someone in your area.

Great books on writing: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. Resonate by Nancy Duarte, or the shorter version, the “HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations.” On Writing Well by William Zinsser.

My humble advice: Check out these blog posts–Six Rules of Writing, 7 Steps to Better Writing, On Writing: Cut it Out!, and Stop Writing and Say What You Mean.

Please share your favorite writing tips, advice, and sites in the comments. I’ll post them on the WagnerWrites Facebook page.

photo credit: madamepsychosis via photopin cc

Author: Claire Wagner

I'm a seasoned freelance writer/editor and an enthusiastic community manager. I'm passionate about developing and sharing good content.

2 Comments

I have joined two writing groups – one is a Round Robin, where one must write for 10 minutes every day, and read something from one’s partner and remark upon it – the other meets every two weeks and critiques longer pieces from three members – just participating has loosened up the block. Business writing must be succinct – prose is much more demanding – I have spent twenty years summarizing, and now must expand! And yes, it is damn hard.

[Reply]

Claire Wagner Reply:

@Catherine G. Tripp, Catherine, this is fantastic news. You know I am anxiously awaiting the development of your book. But shorter is actually harder in the kind of marketing and fundraising communications I do. It is harder to be succinct when selling ideas/products/services.

[Reply]

Catherine G. Tripp

1/29/2013

Leave a Reply