Developmental and Line Editing

I am a developmental and line editor for fiction and non-fiction.

Beautiful Design

Lorem Ipsum et doloremque veritatis, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore.


Lorem Ipsum et doloremque veritatis, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore.

Essential Life Skill: Writing

Essential Life Skill: Writing

Life skills. Skills you need to function as a person in life. And no, I’m talking about making your bed. I’m talking about those things that are almost universally applicable to your life. Where knowledge and understanding of them make you a more functional human and keep your from tripping and falling into pits of despair, debt, or disarray.

This skill is near and dear to my heart, but my own fondness for it doesn’t change how necessary it actually is.

Especially in the 2020s.

Writing is an essential life skill. Writing well. Writing correctly.

Communicating clearly via written words, no matter what medium (or platform) you use.

Reading. Writing. Arithmetic.

The majority of people in the United States have a cell phone of some kind. That means they have a calculator in their pockets. More people than not don’t have to do most math on pen and paper or in their heads anymore.

We still learn math. Mostly, to learn to think systematically and logically – and to know how to formulate the math rpoblems we put into our calculators. Most real world math problems people run into are practical and tend to be more about using math the right way to get the right answer.

That, and knowing basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division is useful. Fractions help with cooking and decimals are all about money.

Yet, most of us have access to calculators. And google, which can answer math problems just by typing them into a search bar.

But math is still important. Reading and writing are, too. Maybe more important than they were even thirty years ago. My generation and the generations who followed statistically read fewer books – or so I’m told. But I’d put down good money I don’t have on a wager we read more words per day, more news, and consume more information via text than some scholars did when my Dad was a kid.

And we are communicating through writing more than ever.

We are even changing language to accomodate it.

Hieroglyphic Shorthand

Yeah, I don’t speak emoji. I wish I did, because it’s a complex language form and is incredibly high context and built around symbols. Entire paragraphs can be written in just a handful of symbols strung together.

Acronyms and shorthand are rampant, and many people frown at it. I don’t frown at it because I take issue with people using it – because I don’t. Language grows and changes and evolves with culture and society. There are words I use on a regular basis now that I didn’t know existed twenty years ago. In fact, some of them probably didn’t exist twenty or thirty years ago.

I frown at it because I have dyslexia and I don’t often understand what it means.

I will admit, also, I don’t like the ‘baby’ talk. ‘Choccy milk’ or ‘chicky nuggies’ – these do not amuse me and sound rather silly. Which is probably the point.

But it’s still writing. Still communication.

We write to each other more than ever now. Message apps, texting, social media, email , chatting with customer support – the list is pretty long.

So, since I’m arguing for the changes in language (especially sociolects), why am I trying to tell you that learning to write (relatively) well is an essential skill?

The Prevalence of the Pen

Knowing the ‘correct’ way to write things gives you near-universal readability. When you are chatting with a sales or service rep or are emailing your boss or teacher, you want to be understood and you don’t want their to be a language gap where they have to translate the way you said things.

You want to be clear, concise, and well understood. When you give your opinion on social media, you want to be able to back up what you say and to sound like who and what you want to sound like. Whether you’re trolling, calling to action, or just venting, you want to get your point across.

To say nothing of speaking to the research and/or knowledge you (hopefully) have on the subject.

Having the choice to sound a specific way is a powerful tool. Being able to code switch is valuable, because you can talk with a variety of audiences. And every time you write something someone else reads – you have an audience.

And with the preponderance of written communication growing, not shrinking, being a (relatively) good writer is more and more important. Whether you’re writing content, ad copy, directions, documentation, or just social media status updates, writing is central to our world.

We chat with customer service. We write emails and comments about the news. We express ourselves with the written word every day. Texting, messaging, blogging. We are watching more shows and movies. We are watching online videos and listening to podcasts – and I would bet my bottom dollar that a lot of those are scripted. At least, to some extent.

Learning to communicate in writing (hopefully, in more than one language) has become not just good policy and useful, but vital. Scientists and chefs have become celebrities, and are asked to write about their creations and discoveries.

Every field – from janitor to retail workers to CEOs – are finding the need to write something.

The better you can do it, the better off you will be.

Learning to write correctly – knowing the grammar, spelling, parts of speech – the mechanics of writing can only help you. Because while you can text and talk to certain people in certain ways, you might not always know what is appropriate or in appropriate.

Having the skill of writing to fall back on for those times when you need to communicate, but you don’t know what the sociolect is or when you can’t afford misunderstandings can mean the difference between success and failure.

Say What, Now?

Generation by generation, we have moved further and further away from the idea of universal conformity being a good thing. I hope I am long gone and decomposed when the pendulum swings back the other way, driving society towards conformity instead of individuality. I hope we never do swing back that direction.

Our identities are key, now. And I don’t just mean gender or sexual/romantic orientations. I mean – who you are. Self-expression is nothing more or less than communicating to others things you find important about yourself. Even if it’s just a geeky t-shirt or a sports jersey, you are telling people about yourself – on purpose!

Expressing ourselves through writing is everywhere. I’m sure some folks have others write it for them, use speech-to-text or rely on predictive algorithms to help them write – and that’s fine.

But having the practiced skill that allows you to write what you need and want to say to express yourself, whenever and wherever you need it? It’s a good thing. Whether you’re writing your boss about an idea you have, or writing a prospective date online, or just chatting with people you’re in game with – it’s all written communication. 

It’s all writing.

It also means you have the ability to do more with your life and your skills – whatever those may be – because you will be understood more often. It can let you influence arguments, debates, discussion, and discourse with purpose. It gives you a tool to approach any situation where you need your voice to count.

It Really Does Matter

We, as a society, have a lot to talk about, and most of the mediums we have for that discussion are in writing. (Even videos – writing what we want to say can make even videos better.) Our jobs require writers. Our personal lives are documented in picture and caption.

When we are able to be a part of those conversations with words that matter, that are chosen and crafted and used correctly, we can work to change the nature and direction of the discussion. Or contribute in a meaningful and impactful way.

Let’s make sure that we can document, discuss, and discover in a way that can be shared with the world in ways everyone can understand.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *