Writing: Choose Your Weapon by Catharine Bramkamp
Let’s welcome back monthly columnist Catharine Bramkamp as she shares with us about “Writing: Choose your Weapon.”
Writing: Choose your Weapon
Sometimes it seems that the only cheerleaders for writing are writers.
Billions of friends on Facebook and viewers on YouTube privilege video both in organic views and ads.
Google search also prefers video. When we search, those moving pictures pop up first. Printed word? Meh.
I know, I should make a video, except I believe in writing.
You should too and here is why:
Writing is still the main way we communicate. Yes, there is Skype, great for facial recognition and wondrous for manufacturing. Hold up the prototype to the camera and SHOW the staff at the factory in Shandong exactly what you’re talking about. That’s great. But the steps, the process, the specs, and of course, the contract, all need to be in writing.
Writing Still Connects Us
We connect through words, we connect through writing. It’s the most direct way to build trust both personally and in business.
Poor or careless writing can sink a relationship as quickly as it can promote it.
If you fire off a tone-deaf email, you’ll be explaining yourself for days.
I’ve had my work criticized in emails riddled with spelling errors and grammar flaws.
Writing demands we be specific, clear, and read over everything you write before hitting send.
If you work internationally, make sure your communication follows some of the precepts of the native language of your reader.
Spell out nouns, don’t say, “Remember it goes into slot B.”
Name it, make sure you are clear.
We need those written follow ups to the easy video or Skype chat. And we need them clear.
Business Needs Writers
Most jobs require writing, either because you are creating contracts for your handyman business, or because you are filing patents with the US Government. You need to write it down.
The trend for business writing, opposed to flamboyant fiction, is short, clear. And the cult of the bullet point is still thriving.
Writing for business is not like slaving over the great American novel, nor is it even the careful essay construction you learned in college.
Still, it is writing, and there is a distinct creativity as well as necessary education required to produce that excellent annual report, social media post, or presentation.
Before those VCs give you money, they will ask for a written breakdown of your business plan, plus in the event your business goes public, a Faustian contract for most of your soul. All in writing.
Writing Makes You Smarter
The act of writing will actually make you smarter.
Writing is not easy. (Aren’t you glad you read that here?)
Writers must learn how to spread out all the ideas, create images, wrangle metaphors, and make it all connect in a cohesive whole.
If you can write well, and later, speak well, you will likely win the game, maybe score an office with a door.
We encouraged our science-based son to practice speaking to and writing for humans. He took creative writing classes in college as well as public speaking classes. Even if the only thing his writing experiences accomplishes is that he does well in interviews, it’s time and talent well cultivated. In other words, the kid has a job.
Writing Is Always With Us
If you think that you will avoid writing by pledging yourself to science or engineering or date analysis, think again. You’ll need to explain your findings to people who do not have your expertise, but do hold all your funding.
The mark of an intelligent person is the ability to explain what they do, so others who do not have the same background, understand.
Popular metaphor are your friends. The ability to explain and write and create in your field so others get it, will help you rise to the top fast, maybe furiously.
Writers Are In Demand
For many of us clutching our English degrees, spending four to six years explaining why no, we do not want to earn an MBA, we want to earn an MFA, the tide has turned.
Editor’s note: Thanks for your post, Catharine!
If you want to be a guest columnist like Catharine, check out the writer’s guidelines here: https://writersfunzone.com/blog/guest-columnists-welcome/.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When she’s not pulling her mother out of traffic, Catharine coaches and teaches fiction, non-fiction, and journal writing.
Catharine Bramkamp is a successful writing coach bringing her clients from idea to published book and beyond. She has written 17 novels and 3 books on writing. Her poetry appears in over a dozen anthologies including And The Beats Go On (she was editor as well) and the chapbook Ammonia Sunrise (Finishing Line Press). Her current book, Don’t Write Like We Talk, is based on her co-producer experience creating 200-plus episodes of the Newbie Writers Podcast. She is the Chief Storytelling Officer for technical companies because everyone has a story.