All Writing

Most people think of writing as a skill you’re taught in high school. After that, unless you plan to be the next Stephen King, you’re done with learning about it forever.​Research shows, however, that most employers find oral and written communication skills to be even more important than technical knowledge. Whether trying to coordinate your efforts with that of your colleagues or projecting a professional image to the outside world, good writing is about more than understanding grammar and knowing when to throw in a comma.​There are also different kinds of writing, each used to achieve a specific kind of result. An email outlining a new company policy just doesn’t look like advertising copy, which isn’t anything like a technical manual, which doesn’t resemble a short story, which is different from a persuasive argument.​A bachelor’s degree in writing teaches you how to string words together in order to best achieve your goals. In any given case, you may wish to entertain, inform, influence, educate, or inspire your readers. These readers may be from different cultural backgrounds, have varying levels of education, and divergent priorities in life. Good writers take all of this into account and apply appropriate techniques in order to make their text do what it’s supposed to.​An undergraduate degree in writing may include subjects like English (or whatever language; many good writers are bilingual) and literature, but these are separate majors. Writing students are primarily taught how to write, and they have to write a great deal during their studies. Be prepared to spend a lot of time in front of your computer and accept criticism when it’s warranted.​Most writing majors concentrate on a specific kind of writing, perhaps creative storytelling, screenwriting, advertising copy, or technical documentation. It’s worth noting that only a very, very small proportion of authors make a living from writing fiction. If becoming a novelist is your dream, it’s best to prepare some kind of fall-back position. Learning something about a field like editing, digital publishing, marketing, or teaching will make your professional future that much more secure.