The Writing Problem

Everybody knows how to write, not everybody knows how to write efficiently. I decided to become a writing minor because I wanted to communicate efficiently and later apply this skill in the workplace. However what many professionals understand as “good writing” is just basic writing: proper grammar and spelling; undervaluing other characteristics, like rhetorical devices. This is why many students also undervalue writing in college and so colleges have to face the “writing problem ”.

Although it has a self-explanatory name, the “writing problem” focuses on how to avoid “bad writing” -grammar and spelling mistakes – situations but also on the complexity of writing and later apply it in the workplace. The “current” solution is adding to the college curriculum a requirement called “writing in the disciplines”. I say “current” because when the problem first appeared, around 1870, it was decided that just an introductory course would be enough. In this “writing 101” course, many academics had tried to establish what “good writing” is.

However, instead of establishing “good writing”, academics should have focused more on the complexity of writing. Writing can never be established due to the fact that language evolves through time, and so writing evolves along. It goes without mention that jargon is learned through the courses of the field. Rather academics should have focused on the rhetoric effects of composition and vocabulary or contemporary speech patterns that they can latter apply in the workplace.

On the same line, applying writing in the workplace is not really hard. For instance, as the sponsorship of SHPE -Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers- I had to write grant proposals that help finance the organization’s event. In my writing, I try to use as many rhetorical devices as I can. For example, I try to write my ideas thinking about my audience: in an ambitious yet humble manner and always being professional. Although it is not the workplace I believe it is a good example.

Aside from the previously mentioned,  written communication plays, to some extent, an important role in almost every job. In the class “writing for your profession” that I took, every student had to analyze a written genre related to their field. Not to mention that written communication it is, in some aspects, more important than spoken communication. Anything that it is written, is recorded. Anything that is recorded, is important. Anything that is important has a significant purpose. In other words, the information that it is written in a document will later be useful -or not- to you.

Although the gap between academic writing and professional writing is really big, I feel that more and more students are trying to save it. From the writing courses I take, and as I write more, I feel that I learn how to express myself better. As a result, it helps me succeed in my goals faster and easily. Similarly, I believe that writing will give me the advantage in the job hunt because my cover letters are written more efficiently and so I can convince the recruiter easily. Writing, is indeed a hard subject to teach, and even harder to learn, it also has considerable benefits.


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