At some point, everyone learns how to write. It has to happen, just like with math. And also like math, some people despise it while others love it. Some may decide they never want a career that touches writing; others may decide they want their career to be nothing but writing.
It’s completely fine to not want a writing-based career, but it’s still a vital skill. Math has calculators to help us number-impaired people get through life—English has no real equivalent. Auto-correct, Grammarly, and spell check can only go so far, and sometimes it leads people in the wrong direction.
I’ll be writing a whole other article about the ways our English-checkers can actually mess us up, so keep an eye out for that.
As a tutor on a college campus, I can confidently say that the American public school system (or at least the Texas public school system) doesn’t do students justice when learning to write well. While I’m not striving for a point where everyone will be able to write A-worthy papers, I do think we should already be at a point where people can easily write an email.
Emails are pretty important, especially once you’re in the “real world” because it’s likely going to be your primary way of communicating with people, both in and out of work. The other primary method of communication is making phone calls, but I won’t be touching on that. It has nothing to do with being able to write, and phone calls also terrify me.
Regardless of your preference, you’re going to have to do both. If I could get away with writing emails for everything, I would be much happier. Alas, I can’t email my doctor when I need to make an appointment.
Similarly, you can’t call your boss or co-workers when there’s a team-wide announcement to make.
Just a few years ago, I had to call my mom every time I wrote an email to ensure it made sense. Now I check Zach’s emails. I mostly practiced through applying for internships and participating in professional group chats, but I started by looking up templates.
From the templates I used, I came up with my own. I don’t use it anymore and don’t fully remember what it was, but it went a little something like this:
[Sentence explaining who I am, if necessary.] [Sentence or two (maybe three?) for why I’m emailing. Don’t be long-winded!] [Sentence for my availabilities, if necessary.]
Thank you for your time,
[Relevant titles or contact info.]
It may not look long, and that’s because most of the emails I was writing weren’t supposed to be long. They were introductions to who I am, why I was emailing, and—usually—when I could meet or work.
I made my template after looking at examples, so I strongly recommend starting there, too.
From there, you’ll hopefully gain the confidence and ability to write proper emails. Always ask someone if you’re uncertain, but make sure they have more experience. Alternatively, take to your favorite search engine! Learn something new about the language!
What other reasons are there to be good at writing?