Tuesday, December 9, 2014

How to avoid writing mistakes, save money and change the world

Today we're going to talk about a very important matter-- grammar! 

As a freelance journalist for American print media, I know firsthand the value of having a good command of the English language and the importance of presenting a “clean copy” (grammar error free) of your story to your editor. If you present copy that is filled with grammatical errors, a lazy lede (the opening sentences to your news story) and careless reporting then not only will you have to redo the article, you will disappoint your editor and maybe even make them doubtful of your skills as a writer.

Luckily for me, I trained with the best all throughout my years in school: Mrs. J was my Reading and Language Arts teacher in middle school and thanks to her, I gained a strong foundation in learning the ins and outs of producing good, grammatically correct writing. Ms. C was in my honest opinion, the best English teacher a high school student could have because she taught me the value of building my vocabulary and gave me an introduction into writing papers that were precise and concise. Finally, my Journalism Professor Stacy from my undergraduate college years put the final touches on my training as a writer. Stacy not only taught me how to write news and feature stories that were precise and concise, she taught me how to tighten my writing and make my stories captivating with the human interest hook.

Since graduating from college, working at a magazine (summer internship following graduation) and continuing my professional practice as a freelance writer for newspapers and magazines, I find myself exceedingly grateful for all these three teachers whose knowledge and how-to prepared me to shine as a professional writer. So when Nikolas Baron, head of SEO for Grammarly, asked me to write a relevant post about the importance of using good grammar and to promote his organization’s new infographic on this very topic, of course I agreed!

First, here’s a little bit of background information on Grammarly, as paraphrased and quoted from my e-mail correspondence with Nick:

The world’s leading writing enhancement app, commonly known as Grammarly, “checks for more than 250 types of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, enhances vocabulary usage, and suggests citations.” Recently this grammar-savvy organization conducted a writing and career-focused study in which they asked questions to over 400 freelancers in order to determine what impact writing skills have on the opportunities a person will have in their career. Grammarly published the results in an infographic which is already gaining notoriety–it has been picked up by The Huffington Post.

“Our goal is to raise awareness of the importance of good writing,” said Nikolas Baron, head of SEO for Grammarly. “Good writing is not only foundational to good communication, but it can also unlock knowledge, job opportunities, and access to education.”

Second, a little commercial from me: If you are an aspiring writer or just a student trying to get through years of schooling, I’d like to encourage you to take your Reading/Language Arts and English teachers seriously. The lessons they teach you will not only prepare you for academic success, those lessons will prepare you for life after college when you’re working in the real world. See, knowing how to write and speak flawlessly (like a Grammar King or Grammar Queen as they called it when I was in school) can help you in every aspect of life, especially in the workforce. When you can clearly communicate your thoughts, ideas, plans, goals and dreams not only are you more likely to accomplish those objectives because people understand what you’re saying and identify with you, but you just may inspire others to join you in pursuit of greatness. Words aptly spoken and career visions clearly communicated paired with a heart that cares for the welfare of others, married to actions of carrying out goodwill to humankind can change the world for the better.

So without further ado, why don’t you look at this infographic from Grammarly? Read it, study it and absorb the information then go apply it. You just may change your life, and the world, for the better.