Writing Tips from Real Writers:<Coming soon!>
These are awesome authors, of course, so their advice really makes sense. But not all of you are going to be authors. Some of you want to do things like business, or technology, or medicine, or fashion. So how does writing matter for you? Check out these tips from friends of mine in ALL of these fields and more. I included the letter I sent them just so you know I didn't ask them to lie for the sake of our class:
From: Brittany Carlino
date: Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 2:32 PM
subject: a request
I’m asking a favor from you, if you don’t mind. My junior students have been asking how analytical writing will benefit them in the real world (a valid question). So, knowing you are all in various industries, I’m hoping you can tell me how you’ve used writing in your lives and professions (previous or current). If you don't have time, that's okay. If you don’t use it at all now, you can be honest and say so. Either way, your responses will remain anonymous, I promise!
For quick clarification, by "analytical writing" I’m not just talking about literature, but for example, pulling information from a text (article, email, case study, etc.) to support/argue a point in your own writing.
I thank you immensely for helping to make my classroom more authentic and effective. If you know of anyone else who could provide good feedback, pass it along. I hope you’re all well.
Lots of love.
Life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning, and laughter is life’s sweetest creation.
Other gems of wisdom to pass on...
· Writing only improves with practice. And don't forget to revise!
· Unless you’re writing a fantasy, all writing is analytical. Points are useless without substantiation. Learn how to uncover the "why" and drop the "because!!!"
Maximize your utilization of people. Step out from behind the screen and you will get better information, more succinct key points and have more fun in the process.
· Feel free to snooze on Analytical Writing. There is always a career in Waste Management to fall back on, if you knowwhaddimean ;)
· It gets better.
· When making an argument in the business world, my un-scientific assessment is that success is:
o 40% how well you make your argument
o 40% credibility in presentation technique
o 20% quality of information (i.e. whether you are "right")
· Learn grammar; use it correctly.
· Some might use a lot of analytical writing, some not at all. But it is important none the less. Even if you are not in a profession that requires it, the ability to analytically think properly gives balance to a person's rationale. Meaning whether its politics, sports, cooking, or medicine, it provides a person with the ability to make comprehensive, well thought out decisions.
· I have four overall goals for my career which being analytical has helped me achieve:
o 1) Variety of choices for "next career step"
o 2) Making hella Money
o 3) Consistently retaining Upward Mobility and
o 4) Flexibility for work/life balance.
Simply put, the "Analyst" skill set in the current professional climate primely places one to take advantage of the widest possible range of "next" steps career wise (variety). Not to mention IT, Government (NSA, FBI, CIA) Analysts, Financial and Business (consulting) Analysts collectively comprise some of the highest salaries both out of college and in the mid-level of their careers, outside of specific engineering fields (hella money). Furthermore, starting at 55k and moving to 70k in an average of four years sounds like a plus to me (upward mobility). So if aerospace engineering isn't your thing - and making cash is - probably a good idea to look into being an analyst. If working from anywhere, for any size company, public or private sector, also sound good (flexibility in the work/life balance) - probably want to dig still deeper. But then again - if you don't have the time to learn how to write your thoughts down with clear and concise articulation - you don't need to ponder any of the things above as career paths for yourself anyway. All these companies and government jobs are looking for, is someone who can not only think about a problem or process clearly and creatively (analytically!) - but to be able to write it down so everyone else will understand it as well!
· "...the power of the written word [is], to make you hear, to make you feel - It is before all, to make you see. That - and no more, and it is everything." Conrad.
· Keep it simple! Do not try to overstate the obvious or include words from a thesaurus without understanding the context. Brainstorm, use a graphic organizer of your choice to help organize your thoughts, write to the prompt, and proofread your own work or have someone else read it even after you do spell and grammar checks on the computer.
· It's perfectly alright to have the perspective of a 16/17 year old when you are 16/17: I was completely overwhelmed by my life then, in school, sports, music and girls. I can say to you, though, as someone who has wandered a good bit past that age both literally and metaphorically, that life only gets more interesting and more intense.
· Anyone can become a persuasive and accomplished writer. It just takes belief and practice. And it is totally worth it. Good writing skills are an effective way to demonstrate your ability and aptitude when doing so matters most.
· If you do not have a point to make, be quiet and listen until you do. Don't talk and use fillers as a method to buy time to think. Attention spans as short. When you get the floor be ready and make your point in the easiest way possible to digest and cut into. Practice being profound in the absolutely fewest words possible. Don't be redundant.
· If entering into a technical field, be aware that writing and good communication skills are essential. The writing is more factual and analytical than theme writing. Shorter is always better than longer.
· Read the news! Make sure they read reliable news sources on a regular basis so they can begin to keep up with the world. In particular world issues as we are all global citizens and I don't need to explain to you how interconnected everything is these days. I know you teach English and not World Studies, but you could incorporate that into assignments relatively easily.
· Writing can often be seen as tedious and editing is time-consuming, but it is SOOO important to learn these skills and be able to apply them later. Good writing will apply to everything from this point on....SATs, college exams, graduate exams, resumes! Good job candidates are dismissed when their resume is not well written. Any and every job requires professional communication and this is often through the written word....emails, letters, dictations, memos. Pay attention and work on the skills! They truly are valuable.
· In the business world no one speaks for you therefore you need to be able to speak/write well about yourself. Being a good writer and speaker is a requirement in being successful. It is important to begin mastering writing skills now so it become second nature in the real world. Once you're a grown up you have more important things to think about besides "Should I have added a comma there?" Learn how to write well now so success can come that much more easily.