Are you a great writer? Do you think it matters? Pop quiz. I want you to grade yourself on writing. There is no need to over analyze. Give yourself the first grade that pops into your mind.
I would give myself a D+. I’ve always known I was a poor writer and I never did anything about it. Actually, that’s not true. Over the years I hired writers to work on the important things. What a huge mistake.
Here’s the thing. We live in the knowledge economy. A market where growth is a result of the amount and quality of information consumed. Knowledge is the currency, but communication is the vehicle.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. This all started a few months ago. My kids are doing a lot of online learning and I realized I should experience this for myself.
I stumbled across Udemy. They are the world’s largest destination for online courses. As they say, you can learn anytime and anywhere. It’s true.
I could have chosen any course, but I picked writing. Shani Raja, a renowned journalist, delivers the course. “Writing with Flair: How to Become an Exceptional Writer” is 3.5 hours of terrific content.
Pro Tip: You can speed up the video playback. I found 2x speed easy to understand and I got through the course twice as fast.
Now I know the following:
- Online learning is awesome! Everyone should start taking a course today. The investment you make will pay off for years to come.
- D+ was a bit generous. I had no idea everything I was screwing up in my writing.
- I wish someone would have pointed this out sooner and pushed me to get better.
The importance of writing is only going to increase. Why? Because it isn’t about writing, it’s about communicating. In our flattened, digital world, communication is everything.
Don’t believe me? Here are a few common jobs and the how communication gets used.
- Sales: you need to convince a prospect that you can solve their problem.
- Recruiting: you need the recruit to feel the passion and opportunity your company offers.
- CEO: all you do is communicate – to employees, investors, customers, partners and the press.
- Product Managers: you have responsibility, but little authority. Your weapon is communication.
- Marketing: no comment. This one is obvious.
You get the picture. Clear and concise communication is critical in every role. Regardless of what you are creating, writing is key to success.
After completing your first course, I recommend the following:
- Take another one. My second choice was Writing With Impact: Writing That Persuades. This one is a nice complement to Writing with Flair.
- Buy the Hemingway App and use it for everything you write. You can also use the web version for free. The app will yell at you every time you violate a writing rule. I love it.
- Write, write and write some more. You won’t improve if you don’t practice.
Everyone can be a great writer, but we need to get out of our own way. Make the choice that this is a priority. Do the work to get better. Enjoy the journey and the benefits.
Do you have any other tips or tools? Please comment below and pass them along.