April 10th is “National Encourage a Young Writer Day” - a day that reminds us all to recognize and help sharpen the talent of young writers. As a “young” writer myself, I am always looking for advice to hone my voice and polish my work.
Why is it important to develop strong writing skills?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, to write is to form (words, characters, symbols, etc.) on a surface with an instrument. It is believed that human beings developed earliest writings c. 35000 BCE through cave paintings. Writing is considered a foundation of civilization, allowing us to communicate and document history, relationships, and our understanding of the world around us.
Growing up, the only time I wrote anything was for school assignments, and I had a love/hate relationship with it. I enjoyed writing but I never knew where to start, which drove me crazy. I would go back and forth on topics not sure exactly what I wanted to write about; but once I finally settled on a topic, the writing would just come naturally. As a finance major in college, when I fulfilled my core class requirements I thought that was the end of me as a writer. I had no idea I would have a future writing social copy, blog articles and other content for JVComms and our clients, yet here I am.
The JVComms team is comprised of both experienced writers who always had a gravitation to writing and a new member to the professional writing club: me.
In celebration of National Encourage a Young Writer Day, I asked the JVComms team to share advice that they would give to a young writer (like me), and how they found their stride in writing.
Advice from Lindsay
Vice President, Communications and Public Relations
It is important to encourage young writers today because diverse perspectives are extremely important. Everyone has a voice and a point of view, and we should motivate young writers to express themselves and the way they see the world. I always enjoyed writing and took many creative writing classes, but wasn’t sure what I wanted to do as a career. Originally, I thought I wanted to be a teacher but at my college in order to purse the field of education, you had to major in a different subject along with education. I chose English since I always enjoyed reading and writing. While selecting electives to fulfill my major, I took a class called “writing for magazines.” It was that class that gave me the realization that there are ways to write to address different audiences. I enjoyed my writing classes more than my education classes, and ultimately dropped my education major, continued with English and picked up a concentration in writing. My advice to young writers is to write something every day! It can be as simple as a journal entry. The routine will strengthen your writing over time.
Advice from Levy
Director, Strategy and Operations
Write about what you love. It is okay to make mistakes, and it is okay to experiment. Eventually you will find your voice. My advice for a young writer is to practice - writing is learned and skill can be achieved through repetition. If you want to tell stories, make good presentations, or get your point across well, you should write often. At my first professional tech job, I volunteered to communicate with a large audience regularly. Writing for business communication required a specific skillset, but writing about complex topics to a broader audience outside of technology was not popular among my peers. Stepping up into this role gave me the opportunity to strengthen my written communications, which serves me well in various capacities to this day.
Advice from Jen
President and Founder
Writing is a critical communication skill – whether someone aspires to be a novelist or to be a mathematician, the skill of being able to concisely make your points is critical to advancing your ideas. While young writers may feel overwhelmed by the task of writing, it’s an important skill to hone. I would tell young writers to just write. Write about things you like. Write for yourself, or write letters (emails?) to friends. Write a song. Write a poem. Just keep writing. And… the biggest lesson I can share is revise. Rewrite. Don’t write something once and consider it done. Review it, is it clear? Can you make it more clear? Would someone without any background on the subject understand what you are saying? Just keep doing it. That’s the best way to sharpen the skill.
For some, writing comes naturally while for others it takes more time. Some people have always known they wanted to be a writer and others just found themselves in this position. That’s the beauty of writing, it comes in many shapes, forms, and styles – it’s not one size fits all. Even if you’re not a writer, you are human, a member of evolved society and writing is what allows us to tell our stories, record our histories and interact with each other.
Whether you’re a young writer or an experienced one – keep it up! I know I will.
For resources to encourage the youngest writers, check out suggestions from Waterford.org. The national education nonprofit organization provides educational resources to young students and their families.
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