Joslyn Hillberg

photo of JoslynDear friend,

You are probably wondering why I am writing you a letter. It would be so much faster to send you a text message, or call you on the phone. Letter writing has slowly gone out of style, but it still is fun to receive a letter in the mail, isn’t it? What I love about a letter is that so much more can be expressed in it than through a text; and unlike a phone call, it is something you can read over and over again. It is also a good way to practice your writing skills.

Oh, I can hear you saying “But I can’t write! I’m not good at it.” “It’s too much like school.” “How is writing even a skill? It’s not like sports, or music, or painting.” You may not think of writing as a skill, but to be able to place your thoughts into an intricately woven essay, poem, or story IS a work of art. It takes just as much practice, and just as much heart.

When you write, you are able to pour onto paper whatever is on your mind, and then share it with the world. Anyone can write, of course. But, a piece is most effective when it is written well. Writing takes just as much practice and studying as any other talent that you could acquire. How does one study the art of writing? Well, by reading the works of others! Read the writing of great authors, such as Mark Twain or C.S. Lewis. Read novels, biographies, and magazine articles. By reading the works of others, you will begin to see similarities and differences in writing styles. Reading will also condition your brain to identify how a good sentence and paragraph should be structured. You will learn new vocabulary and start to develop a writing style of your own.

Good writing skills will be of benefit to you for the rest of your life. In high school and college, being able to write proficiently can help you get good grades and scholarships. When you are older, you will find that most employers are looking for someone who is articulate. It starts with your resume. Do you present all of the necessary information in a clear and interesting way? Do you use a range of vocabulary, and are all of your sentences grammatically correct? An employer will notice if your resume is written well, and it will help you stand out from your peers who did not practice their writing skills. Writing will be a part of any career that you want to pursue, whether you want to become a doctor, a teacher, or a police officer, etc. The content of your writing will be different, but the skill of making it sound good in written form will be the same. Good writing is also helpful for other things, such as impressing your crush with a sweet love letter, or typing an eloquent Facebook post.

I want to encourage you to start practicing good writing skills now. Writing will be intertwined with the rest of your life. Possessing good writing skills will provide an advantage in whatever you desire to accomplish. When you do anything in life, you should do it to the best of your ability – this includes writing. Write with knowledge, write with passion…and do it well.