Learn to Write

Everyone should write.

That might be an unpopular opinion, but I’m sticking by it. I do my best to NOT make sweeping, universal declarations. They are rarely, if ever, accurate. 

But I have yet to meet someone who would not benefit from being a better writer.

One of my roommates from college used to be terrible at spelling back. I mean, he would send people cringe-y texts all the time like, “nice to meat you.”

He is not a dumb guy. He's actually very smart and a hard worker, but he was clueless when it came to spelling. It had never been important to him. He wasn’t a writer and didn’t depend on those abilities for his income so he made no effort to improve in that area. 

He was crushing it at the companies he worked for in the first few years out of college.

When he changed companies he suddenly felt his growth potential slow down.

One day his boss had an honest conversation with him and told him that he wouldn’t go much further if he didn't learn how to present himself better.

On business trips he’d wear shorts and old t-shirts with a worn out hat. His emails were full of spelling errors and coworkers often had a hard time understanding his written communication.

So his boss pulled him aside and told him that he had to act the part before he could move much further in the business world.

As a representative of the company for which you work, this is a reasonable request. Every time you communicate or go out for work you are representing your employer.

What my friend was finally able to understand was that he could take massive steps forward in his career just by caring about something that had never been important to him.

So he doubled down on his efforts to become a better dresser, writer, and speller.

As a result, he’s now a much stronger communicator and leader, not to mention he looks sharper than ever because he cares about the messages he is conveying.

Can you guess what happened?

His bosses saw the change and the effort put in to getting better. They've rewarded him with multiple promotions and raises.

Most of that can be directly attributed to him learning to write (and spell and dress), but ultimately improving his writing has made the biggest difference in how he communicates and represents himself and his company.

This is just one example and there are hundreds of other stories out there like this one.

The more clear and effective you are as a communicator, the further you can go.

Start writing more. Just like baseball players field ground balls repetitively and obsessively in practice, most people should take a few minutes to write every single day.

Learn the fundamentals (spelling, grammar, and storytelling) and then practice those things consistently.

People will notice the difference.

I can't help but wonder how much sales might increase if every sales person spent as much time improving their writing skills as they do trying to close a deal.