Benchmark your writing

5 ways to cut to the chase

Writing is important.

That’s never been up for debate. It was and continues to be evident that writing is imperative. Grammarly CEO ran an experiment on 100 LinkedIn profiles and found that "those who failed to progress to a director-level position within the first 10 years of their careers made 2.5 times as many grammar mistakes as their director-level colleagues."

I'm not saying that grammar is the only benchmark for career success or writing success. Amongst several other factors, grammatical accuracy is a good predictor for academic and professional success.

Fifty years hence, if you want to convince someone who is a future kid that something catastrophic happened in 2020, the surest way of achieving that would be from what you document now. What you can write will depend on how much sharp attention you are paying now, and what records you keep.

I continue to be a proponent of using creative writing to push how we think about the world around us. It helps us stretch the dimensions of what is possible. To truss different ideas in the head into coherent, articulate points that connect with the reader, the writer has to juggle several neural pathways to achieve that. If you thought, "a novelist scrawling away in a notebook in seclusion may not seem to have much in common with an NBA player doing a reverse layup on a basketball court before a screaming crowd," think again. A study led by Martin Lotze of the University of Greifswald in Germany has some unique insights to offer.

During my writing workshops, whether with children or with adults, I use research-based strategies to stimulate different neural pathways based on the writer's ability. One shoe does not fit all. Writing is a long, arduous journey. Unlike other skills, writing takes time to master.

Here are some key points to remember as you write:

Show me the Money

  1. Learning to write under rigid, demanding conditions about things you don't particularly like or care about needs the skills of a specialist. Here's where timed writing activities always help. They give you a constraint, and like most things in life, constraints provide an impetus that helps provide focus and a creative challenge that motivates people to search for and connect with a variety of ideas to generate novel projects. Here's an example of what was written in a timed activity:

    1. Who's your daddy?

      It most certainly is your audience! "Content is King, Communication is key"— but how do you make these catchphrases work for you? Knowing your audience = language that resonates with your audience. Now apply this to your writing. Don't you need to know your audience? And how does creative writing help? It builds your 'buyer personas,' which, in turn, leads to the customisation of your every piece of writing that you do. Here's an example:

    2. Put your money where your mouth is

      Grammar matters. Seasoned writers never compromise on grammar. Concise and precise! Ain't no sunshine when the grammar is gone! Inaccuracies cloud the content, which then essentially means, you’ve lost your reader forever.

      Here’s an example:

    3. Learn to cut the mustard

      Success is key! Write, but do it to succeed. Success is never at the end of a bean pole. It's at the end of a—good copy, a press release, a blog, or an essay. Being able to juggle between ideas is key to writing well. During the workshop, we tussled through different types of writing and stretched the boundaries of storytelling. Here’s another example:

    4. Learn to separate the wheat from the chaff!

      Creative writing has a place in every walk of life. Creative writing builds confidence that helps you take on challenges and see it as an opportunity to grow. There’s so much about growth-mindset these days. Writing then becomes one tool that can help you achieve that mindset. The open-mindedness of a writer is an invaluable asset in an ever-evolving world. 

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