Learning to write, speak, express, and socialize well are some of the most valuable items a person can conquer. They aren’t easily learned, oftentimes taking lots of time and pain to master, but once properly accomplished, they can benefit both your personal and professional life in so many ways.
Let’s start with writing. Since I began learning the art of creating stories, I’ve been enduring a crash course in grammar, language, punctuation, and dialogue. Anytime I sit down to place together a series of words, I make a repetitive, conscious effort to spell check, re-read, re-examine, and hear out loud the expressions I see. Almost everything I write, including these articles, are probably evaluated several times before hitting the publish button. I’ve become extremely meticulous with what I let others view, knowing full well how competitive the literary community has become. And although, believe me, I still make plenty of mistakes, I’m continually trying to become better in order to give readers the best I can produce. So, do I place the same standards on the e-mails, texts, social media posts, and correspondence I write? Absolutely, mainly because I want to make my practice of writing well an ongoing education.
I remember when I gave the rough draft of, Sons In The Clouds to my editor. I knew that corrections would be needed and a re-write definitely necessary. But, oh my, did it ever come back with a long to-do list. Those 400+ pages looked like they’d been through a war. At first, I was pretty amazed at what a true professional could point out, seeing as though I’d never attempted writing a book to begin with. But, after much time, work, and careful examination, everything made sense: the grammar, word placement on the page, flow of dialect, deleting non-relevant text, ability to say with two words what I would’ve normally said with five or more. In other words, in my mind, the pieces of the literary puzzle slowly started coming together. It all made sense. And that first draft is really where my literary education began. It’s served me well, opening up an entirely new way of seeing the art of communication.
Speaking well with others also requires lots of practice. And even though we all like to kick back at times and let the slang commence, if you’re in a professional field, you just never know who could be listening, therefore judging. It can make the difference between getting that next promotion, contact, business deal, or personal relationship. Everyone wants to be seen in the best light possible, and it all begins with how effectively we deliver our words.
I remember having a relationship with a certain lady years ago. She and I had our ups and downs and I wish her well, but one positive area she always pointed out was my oftentimes, unsharpened verbal communication skills. As examples, often I would say, “She and me,” instead of “She and I” or “I don’t have no,” instead of, “I don’t have any,” or “I haven’t any.” Some simple corrections brought to my attention. Back then, I didn’t think of this as any big deal, but I now realize the value of speaking words correctly therefore improving your image among those around you.
Proper communication, both written and spoken, helps us to appear professional, educated, well-rounded, and seasoned. It makes others take us more seriously, and places us ahead in the super-competitive world we live in.
During my youth, I was a tennis player. And something I was coached on was to always practice with better competitors. The process made sense, because by doing so you could only improve your skills while learning from superior talent. The same can be said for writing, which is why I always read the best. I enjoy studying their different styles and receiving answers as to why they’re at the top of their game. It has helped me tremendously. After all, publishers are more selective than ever, and learning that certain quality they cherish is something every writer should take notice of.
Not many of us will receive an English degree from Harvard, the benefits of a one-on-one writing session with James Patterson or Nicholas Sparks, or some social etiquette lessons with many of New York’s finest, but presenting ourselves in the highest image possible can propel us to wonderful new heights.