Writing is everywhere. May not be handwriting, but digitized, certainly, though the joy of receiving a handwritten letter nowadays is unbelievable. Either way, the importance of writing nevertheless will never diminish.
In every field of endeavor, writing skills are important – from the government to private corporations, from the police to judiciary to science to academics, from exams to contests, from professional life to our love life, and just for fun!
Definition of writing skills
Writing skills are the abilities and knowledge to express one’s thoughts or ideas proficiently in written form. Writing skills fall into hard and current skills. It becomes a hard skill when it is the basic skill for a job. For instance, writing is a prerequisite skill for journalism and content writing. These types of jobs require that you possess an advanced level of expertise in writing. On the other hand, writing as a soft skill is a subset of communication skills. Writing is a regular function in the workplace, academics, and institutions, where it is used for reports, emails, proposals etc.
Effective Writing – What does it depend on?
The effectiveness of our writing depends on our thought processes and vocabulary and how we relate the two. This depends upon our intellectual prowess. All three combined, provide for effective writing.
Verbal and Non-Verbal communication combine to influence our written communication. Like speaking, writing can be both formal and informal, depending on its purpose. For example, the language of a formal invitation to a party is very different from that of an invitation through a text message from a mobile phone and we all know how that is written!
Why effective writing in English is important
While writing can be learnt in any language, and most people write more effectively in their native language or mother tongue, writing effectively in English is the need of the hour! It is the link language in India, the language of corporates and scientific institutions and the higher judiciary. It may not be our own, but it is what can get us to where we want to be. It is a known fact that the CEOs of many MNCs, mostly tech, but also those in the food and FMCG sectors are of Indian origin and have risen to the corporate ladders quickly because of their ability to communicate well in English.
But for most Indians, writing in English is an altogether different kettle of fish, even those who have studied in the English Medium of Instruction. Most of us think in our native languages and write or speak in English to get ahead in the Corporate world, which gets its multinational ability from the language that the British spread across the world for centuries. This has its pitfalls as like all other communication, for authenticity, we must write what we mean and mean what we write and if there is divergence in our thought process and our writing, it is a recipe for disaster. After all language’s baggage is culture and culture shapes the thought process. So, the dichotomy of thought and expression is a big challenge. Then there is grammar, punctuation, and context.
It’s difficult but possible with the right courses
Despite all of these obstacles, writing effectively in English can be learnt through short-term courses conducted by various institutions and from people who have vast experience in writing – all kinds – business, creative, academic, and scientific reports. Once you learn the tips and tricks the rest is easy. It comes with practice! These courses teach writing in English using the student’s own experiences, using controlled and guided activities to activate innate skills and promote creative writing all of which are needed to tell your story persuasively!
Effective writing is readable — that is, clear, accurate, and concise. Its features are focus, organization, support and elaboration, grammatical conventions, and style. All of this can be learnt.
Some simple tips to improve your writing in English
The more you write, the simpler and more effective your writing will get. It is easy to delegate or pass on the responsibility to a professional / ghost-writer, but you will still need the skill for they will not always be available, especially when you climb the corporate ladder or become an entrepreneur. So, practice a lot.
To write, you need to read more, and more – in English. It’s the answer to thinking in English and writing well in English. It improves vocabulary, setting and descriptive ability.
Communicate with others as much as possible in the language you want to effectively write in. You will learn nuances that you didn’t know existed and enhance your ability to diversity your thought process. So many different stories, and so many different viewpoints, all make for great learning.
Practice alone will not help if you do not do it right. You will need expert help in the beginning to build or strengthen your foundation. Then you will be able to build on what you have learnt with practice. Short-term courses that teach the basics of effective writing are the best way forward.