Friday, January 18, 2013

Welcome to Professional Writing 101...*snore*

Dry Grass     
     “There is no lake at Camp Green Lake” (Sachar 3). Humor, personality, voice—I love it!  And who doesn’t?  An engaging style is fun to read. Writers often strive to emulate this kind of tone. It's fun to inject personality into our own writings, too. (Guess why I enjoy blogging?) Fiction writers, let's be honest: in comparison, writing professionally (articles, papers, etc.) can be a snore. We have to be so serious and the subject matter is non-fiction and we can't tell jokes and use slang. Despite these downsides, all writers still need to learn how to write professionally. Why, you ask? Why, when it stifles my creativity? Why, when it's so boring? I've often wondered that and still do when I get knocked for my informal style. Let's examine the issue.
     Ever had anyone tap, tap, tap on your shoulder, over and over? Usually, it’s annoying, right? Scribblers, we don’t want to craft our writing in such a way that we annoy our readers. For instance, I’ve tried some unsuccessful ways to make my writing stick out.

     Like this. <--
     Unfortunately for my grades, this sort of gimmickry doesn’t play nicely with academia. It's important to know how to write professionally if we ever want to publish our fiction. Every magazine has its own tone and style, and we must be able to match it. We will also need to write professional sounding documents like query letters, book proposals, etc. Amateur writers often draw too much attention to their writing. Inappropriate informality in academic or professional writing is almost without fail a sign that the writer is an amateur--which, pfft, I am so over being. <---*being amateurish*
     A versatile writer, one who can switch from style to style, is highly coveted for jobs, as well as for posts and studies in universities and other places we want to be. Some readers evaluate style over story. Those people are often editors of magazines we want to write for. We need to know how to write for them, too. We can’t afford for our writing to stick out and become a distraction.
     We can also learn a lot from studying professional writing. In journals and newspapers, writing must be economical. Those writers are given small word counts and tall orders. If we studied the principles used for this kind of writing, we might be able to hone any clunky areas of our fiction into a smooth machine. Readers appreciate forcible writing.
     So, even though sometimes we may feel caged by certain rules of professional writing…they make sense. Writing with personality is good, but not if it’s the only kind we can do. Don't we want our writing to be taken seriously? Learning to write professionally can only help us.
Works Cited
Sachar, Louis. Holes. Dell Yearling, 2000. Print.
Photo Credit
By Zuhairali (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via
 Wikimedia Commons


  1. I agree 100%. But at work I am surrounded by corporate-speak, and it drives me crazy. Please combat that wherever you see it. Usually, people use 40 words where 10 will do, building roundabout sentence structures to make it sound more professional. A few years ago I realized that the more "professional sounding" the writing was, the less the writer believed in what they were saying, or they had something to hide. Often people try to hide bad news like schedule slips in professional-sounding prose. That way, they distance themselves from the content. But I prefer simpler voice and simpler language. Much more effective.

    1. Hey, Peter!
      Oh, wasted words! Well, that doesn't so much sound "professional" as "just plain bad." Thank you for speaking up about it. I find the same thing in school, at times, so it makes sense to find it in the corporate world.
      I like how you mentioned that “the more ‘professional sounding’ the writing was, the less the writer believed in what they were saying.”
      When I am able to choose my own style, rather than having my options dictated to me, I work harder at my presentation because it reveals more of my soul. In that way, I really respect self-pubbed authors. Everything you write is your own decision and “very yours.”


  2. agree with your point, a person must say what he/she feels like rather than focusing only on the word "professional". i am glad that you brought this up.

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