StoryStudio has lots of new winter term classes coming up, which naturally means the SSC inbox is filling up fast with questions about new classes. There seems to be an extra heaping of questions about our new Business Writing Certificate program, which means it’s time for another edition of Dear Jill, this time with a special guest: Business Writing Certificate program instructor, Erin O’Neill.
I’m not a writer. Never have been. In fact, my writing just – sucks. I’ve barely written anything longer than a four line email since high school, but I can get a point across, so who cares? Will I get anything out of this class? ~Signed, So Not A Budding Author
Dear Not An Author,
One of my biggest pet peeves is hearing smart, eloquent people talk about what bad writers they are…and how they just accept that as their fate. I’m sorry, but that is not acceptable. I mean, I’m no numbers guru (my high school math teacher seriously made me sign a contract to never work in a profession in which my mathematics ability could jeopardize the lives of my fellow citizens) but I still have to file taxes and balance my checkbook. Writing is an essential skill that absolutely everyone can improve at—with just a little time and practice.
At it’s most basic level, writing is about communicating. Being a great writer isn’t necessarily about writing the great American novel. It’s about being the most effective communicator that you possibly can be, in any given situation.
In fact, this isn’t really a class for “writers,” at all. It’s a class that’s designed for business professionals who know the value of good writing, want to communicate more effectively, and recognize the potential impact that improving their writing could have on their long-term career trajectory.
Business writing sounds like – well, like business, not writing! Can professional writing even be fun? ~Signed, Bored Businessman
If you’re asking this question, this is definitely the class for you. At the end of the day, writing is writing is writing is writing. Write? (cue the rim-shot; I’ll be here all week, folks.) The point of this class is to get over that attitude. To unclog your blocks, and to free yourself to enjoy putting your ideas into words, while improving the way you communicate with your colleagues. We’ll make plenty of time to do lots of in-class writing exercises that get both sides of that beautiful brain working, and writing.
Will the Business Writing program address new trends in professional communication, like social media? Half of my work writing is in the form of emails, texts and blog posts. Can I improve this kind of writing, too? ~Tweeting and Loving It
OMG! Ths Cls will be GRT!!!
There, I did it. I texted right here in a blog that is used to seeing actual words. Texting and Tweeting and Facebooking and being LinkedIn are all vitally important in today’s work world. But are you writing the right message to the right audience using the right medium?
We’ll definitely talk about these questions and more as they can impact almost every communications we make at work.
Is this like an English class, with textbooks and tests? Should I bring a magazine to hide in my book during long lectures? ~Slept Through Class
Think of StoryStudio as the anti-university. No grades, no tests. Instead, we’ll open the door of creativity wide enough for you to walk through and learn to enjoy writing and certainly enjoy being here at the studio.
My boss is obsessed with the semi-colon, but I’m completely clueless about how to use it. What should I do? Please help! ~Signed, Drowning in Semi-Colons
Well, I can see I have a kindred spirit in your boss. But, I can pretty much assure you that your boss has nothing on my obsession with the semi-colon…and the em dash, en dash, serial comma, and…ok, I’ll stop there.
While it’s true I’m epically nerdy in all things grammatical, I’m also otherwise normal and equally obsessed with Anthony Bourdain, Martha Stewart Living, and the Real Housewives franchise.
What I’m getting at is this: The last thing either of us wants to do at the end of a long workday is to meet in a classroom to wax whimsically about the merits of the colon varieties. When it comes to grammar and punctuation, I believe in the sage words of Larry the Cable Guy, “Get ‘er done.” (How would your boss like that one?)
The point of grammar and punctuation is actually to simplify, emphasize, and clarify our language. I don’t like to dwell on the historical roots of each individual rule (at least not on the first date). Instead, I like to keep it short and sweet—with lots of crisp, clear, and painless, well-punctuated sentences. We’ll definitely cover the topic and find time to answer your questions, but this won’t be a refresher in high school sentence diagrams. And in six short weeks, you just might find that you share my passion for punctuation…and maybe Bravo, as well.