Writing Tip: #18 Text Like You Write

I have had dozens of hopeful writers ask me, “y dont ppl take me serious when i say im a writter?”

I don’t need to point out the irony.

When you text, email, post in a message board, blog, instant message, or tweet, use the opportunity to hone your skills.

Use email correspondences to enhance your vocabulary. Use Twitter to perfect your pithy anecdotes. Use text messages to practice word economy. Use message boards to test the most powerful ways to structure a sentence.

Honing your skills is enough of a reason to change your daily writing habits, but there’s an even more important reason: you need to look professional.

Writers have very little expectations when it comes to social and professional expectations. Lawyers need to wear suits and ties to assure potential clients that their own life is in order. Therapists need to refrain from gossiping. Photographers need to scrutinize their Instagram pictures before posting. But writers are lucky! We can wear whatever we want. We can refuse to shave. We can talk to ourselves on the subway or ask random people odd questions. We can get away with these things because they’re expected from creative minds. But there is one major exception: writers need to write well.

If you want to be a professional writer, then present yourself as a professional writer.

This is a simple tip, but the impact can be huge.

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5 comments

  1. Kallie

    Thank you for putting this up! Seriously. I see this so much on Wattpad. I’m guilty of adding in ‘lol’ and smiley faces, but I at least try to write everything else correctly. Now if only non-writers would text in full sentences too. I have some friends that write in full sentences, commas and everything, but then I have friends who I have to ask what they mean because I can’t understand it. This is starting to turn into a rant, but I like this tip. A lot. :)

  2. jakevanderark

    Hahaha. First of all, “lol” and smiley faces aren’t bad at all. Sometimes, they really DO help convey your feelings. But proper punctuation and grammar is pretty important, I think. And I don’t really care if non-writers write gibberish… as long as they get the message across, it doesn’t really matter.

    Glad you liked the tip : )

    • Kallie

      I don’t think they need to write perfectly, but some of them could definitely make what they’re saying a little clearer. I’ve definitely had multiple occasions where I have to stare at the screen for a minute before I know what they’re saying. Lol.

  3. Laura

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’ve been preaching to many would-be writers for years that they have to practice writing well if they want to write well. Every opportunity to write is an opportunity to improve their skills.

    • jakevanderark

      I completely agree. Ultimately, I don’t have a huge problem with modern text language, emoticons, etc… but if you claim to be a writer, you need to act like one!

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