What is one of the most important skills you can learn on your own, within your time and at no cost?
The answer is simple.
It is writing.
I write blogs for nineteen years now. It was never close to being popular, yet I reckon it as one of the most essential factors in my career.
If you look at the current world, it seems that video is eating everything.
People consume in visual form. The attention timespan is shorter. Yet, the most essential thoughts and discussions still take place in writing. Blogs, articles, books - we produce them and read them.
Writing is a process of putting thoughts together to communicate. It removes the immediate emotions (the way you express it when you speak). At the same time, it lets us deliver and generate feelings in the reader.
Writing requires from your thinking about the recipient. What you want to communicate, what you want to achieve with it. It needs to be precise, to think about the subject you write on, and express your thoughts on your own pace. It gives time to research the topic and organize your thoughts.
I read it on Twitter, and I can't attribute it to anyone. I agree with this statement.
At some point in your career there are three, most essential skills:
It is better to learn them early.
I couldn't agree more. If there is time to start something new, start to write!
Clear and precise writing will make you stand out from others. It is a way to make an impression on someone you are communicating with.
Same as there is a pleasure in writing well, there is a pleasure in reading well written and clear text.
Will technology make writing to go away?
Will video make writing go away? Will we stop to do it as it takes too much time compared to calling someone?
My view here is like the one on translation technology. It is one of the best use of technology we can have. To translate between languages and let people communicate.
Having tools does not remove the advantage for people knowing languages. They will be able to communicate without a tool. They will be able to control and express thoughts and in the recipient language. There will be no intermediate tool for them.
It will give them an advantage in crucial conversations and moments. It is not required when doing grocery shopping, but even then, having a friendly chat in local language help.
Same with writing. People who will be able to write will have it work for their advantage. Technology will be there to support us. It will not replace the process of writing going in our head.
How to write?
There is a simple way to learn how to write and get better at it.
Even if you will not publish it.
Write, then read what you wrote, and re-write it. Think about your intent. The reader. The goal of your writing and re-write what you wrote to match it.
It is pure joy to make your text 1/3 shorter and deliver the message in a more transparent and precise way.
Here are my current writing process and workshop for writing.
I write in the simplest possible way. Using markdown or simple text and distraction-free editor. I've found that writing on an iPad with AI Writer works best. You don't need a fancy editor to write text. It is you, paper or screen, and words you type. That's it.
I leave the text for at least a day. Then I get back to it and I re-write it. I read it, cut, change, throw away the pieces of text, or add them.
When I'm done with editing on my own, I go for tools. I use a few tools to make my text better:
- Grammarly; here is where I do my extra grammar and spell-check.
- Once I'm done with Grammarly, I paste the text into Hemingway app. I remove, re-write, and change sentences based on its suggestion.
- After Hemingway, I paste it into Rewordify to see if there are some suggestions for wording.
- After all this, I reread the text and do my own re-writing.
In the end, you get blog entry as this one, document, or e-mail from me.
I use a similar process when writing e-mail or documents at work. The process is different depending on the medium (paper or e-mail).
Where to start
If you want to start writing, I recommend this book - On writing well.
Besides the book, start writing.
Write for yourself.
Write every day.
Do not try to be someone else. Write as you speak. It will be much easier. Read what you wrote aloud. Listen, if it sounds like you. Paul Graham has a great essay about it Write like you talk.
Photo on VisualHunt.com