Why Write?

Why should I care about learning to write well?  I'm not going to be a writer or write for a living.
Being able to write clearly and powerfully will help you advance in nearly all careers.  In most fields, the higher you want to go, the more you'll have to write as part of your job.  And if you have your own business, you'll need to write as well.  Most employers prize good communication skills, especially written communication skills.  In addition, all of us have to write for personal reasons now and then -- to answer a letter from the IRS, or to write a resume and cover letter in order to apply for a job, or to send an email to a friend.  And of course, being able to write clearly and knowledgeably is a necessary skill in many college classes.

This class is built on four assumptions about writing:

bullet Writing is thinking -- thinking that leaves a paper trail.  An essay, in particular, is a form of nonfiction writing that makes the writer's thinking clear to the reader.  And in essay writing, good thinking makes good writing.
bullet Writing is learning.  In the process of writing, you will discover just how much you know about your subject.  In making ideas clear to your readers, you may find that you are making those ideas clearer to yourself.
bullet Writing is communicating.  Writing allows us to connect with others.  If writing doesn't communicate, it's a waste of the writer's and the reader's time.  The readers of your essay attempt to understand your thinking as they read.  How well they are able to do so depends in part on how clearly you have written.
bullet Writing is doing.  Words do more than say things; they do things.  They can change people in subtle and world-altering ways.  They can make readers see and understand what they didn't see or understand before.  Such changes in readers' ideas or attitudes sometimes lead to changes in the way they behave, act, do certain things.  Writing has effects on readers and is judged by the effects it has on the hearts, minds, and actions of its readers.

Learning to write well means learning to use writing as a tool to think better, to understand more, to communicate effectively, and to affect and change others.  That's what this course is about.

$$$:  But if you're still not motivated to improve your writing skills, think of this:  Most employers want employees who can write clearly and correctly.  And if you want to advance in your career, you'll probably need good writing skills.  In many careers, the better you can express yourself in writing, the higher you can advance.  So the bottom line is that learning to write well can mean more money and a better position on the job.


This was a section from Nancy King's syllabus for English 100 on the web.  Copied here July 18, 2006.


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