Writing is imperative; I cannot say that enough. From the tweets and emails you read on your screens, to the books and letters you read on paper, writing touches lives in many forms every day. Being an aspiring public relations professional, I cannot count the numerous time I have been told to “keep writing.” Through working with our Chapter, Red Brick Communications — the student-run firm —and various non-profits, I have discovered that writing is one of the most important skills someone in the field can have. Though many different styles of writing exist, there are basic skills every good writer should regularly practice. Here are my top five ways to keep improving your writing:
- Practice, practice, practice
I cannot reiterate this enough – even if you feel you are an “expert” at a particular style, still continue practicing. The world of grammar, AP style and formatting is constantly changing and you need to stay up-to-date on trends if you are going to be a master at your skill. The old saying “practice makes perfect” is true, and practice can only make you stronger and more marketable.
- Read as much as you can
By reading the work of others you are expanding your knowledge of grammar, wording and style. I personally read one article from prdaily.com when I wake up in the morning because I am confident that this is helping to prepare me for post-grad life. Read books, articles, magazines and social media posts; anything that interests you. This small task will expand your knowledge and help hone your skill.
- Edit your work brutally, and find an editor that will do the same
Whether this person is a friend, colleague or mentor, find someone who will be brutally honest about your work. It is often difficult to be critical toward your own work because you spent so much time composing it. I am a strong believer that you should never post or submit anything that has not been edited by at least two different sets of eyes – three is preferred. Just because you understand the focal point of what you wrote does not mean that your target audience will. By having others edit your work, you can eliminate errors and confusion.
- Always research your topic
Knowing every detail of your intended topic is an absolutely necessity. You want to make sure you provide your target audience with complete and accurate details; this way there will be no confusion. By taking the necessary time to complete the research on your intended topic, you can guarantee your message will be a lot clearer.
- Find a mentor or writer you enjoy and use them as inspiration
Having examples is always helpful, especially ones from other writers that you enjoy. Finding a specific author, blogger or mentor that has a style of writing that intrigues you is an excellent way to improve your own writing. Mirroring their style can often help you develop your own and help solidify your skill. Do not be afraid to reach out to them either, as they may provide you with advice or feedback that would be beneficial, and you never know how far your networking could go.
From public relations to just texting our friends, writing is the basis of how we communicate. By improving this basic skill, we can make ourselves more efficient in the workplace and more educated individuals. Keep writing.
Natalie Gloady is a current junior at Waynesburg University, where she is majoring in Public Relations and Sports Information, while minoring in Spanish. She serves as the Public Relations Director for WUPRSSA, and is active in other campus activities. You can typically find her looking at social media, getting coffee, or on the softball field. She hopes to pursue a job in the sports industry after graduation.