Summer is nearly over. Many of you have already helped your children face their first day of school. I bet some of you coaxed them into a positive mindset by enthusiastically endorsing the joys and rewards of education. (I know I did!)
One of the most important foundational things we learn in our school years is how to communicate in writing. But over time, that critical skill can decline if we get lazy and adopt bad habits.
Here are four ways to reinvigorate your writing skills:
Nail the basics. Be sure you have a rudimentary knowledge of those pesky grammar rules. Remember to write in complete sentences and use spell-check. Carefully review same-sound words as you proofread. And avoid overusing exclamation points or messages in all-caps, which readers interpret as shouts. Bonus tip: If you double space after end punctuation, you can stop. Most content programs automatically place an extra space between end punctuation and a new word.
Do your homework. Read nonfiction, opinion pieces and editorials. Pay particular attention to the essentials of good writing, which include flow, mood and tense. Note stylistic devices such as one-word sentences.
Stretch yourself. Take a creative writing course. You’ll discover how to develop the nuances of a personal style or voice. Who knows? You might even decide to fulfill a long-held desire to write poetry, a memoir or a novel.
Earn extra credit. Mentor an intern or new-hire in effective business writing. Proofread their work. Offer notes and suggestions. Or volunteer to teach English as a second language through a community service or church. You’ll benefit just as much as the people you help.
Technology continues to dramatically affect nearly every aspect of our lives. But no app can replicate the power of being able to express our thoughts and feelings with the right words.
Before you act . . .
A robust vocabulary can put you at the head of the class. Resources such as Dictionary.com provide easy ways to get in the habit of learning a new word every day.