OER Module 9 Writing Strategies.docx - Module Nine: Writing...

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Module Nine:Writing StrategiesCollege SuccessLumen LearningA project created by ISKME. Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensedunder a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 License.1
Writing StrategiesIt ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it. —Jack Kerouac,authorWhy Do Writing Skills Matter?Obviously you can write. And in the age of Facebook and smartphones, youmay be writing all the time—perhaps more often than speaking. Manystudents today are awash in text like no other generation before.So why spend yet more time and attention on writing skills? Research showsthatdeliberate practice—that is, close focus on improving one’s skills—makes all the difference in how one performs. Revisiting the craft of writing—especially early incollege—will improve your writing much more than simplyproducing page after page in the same old way. Becoming an excellentcommunicator will save you a lot of time and hassle in your studies, advanceyour career, and promote better relationships and a higher quality of life offthe job. Honing your writing is a good use of your scarce time.Also, consider this: a recent survey of employers conducted by theAssociation of American Colleges and Universities found that 89 percent of2
employers say that colleges and universities should place more emphasis on“the ability to effectively communicate orally and in writing.”[1]It was thesingle-most favored skill in this survey. In addition, several of the othervalued skills are grounded in written communication: “Critical thinking andanalytical reasoning skills” (81 percent); “The ability to analyze and solvecomplex problems” (75 percent); and “The ability to locate, organize, andevaluate information from multiple sources” (68 percent). This emphasis oncommunication probably reflects the changing reality of work in theprofessions. Employers also reported that employees will have to“take onmore responsibilities,” “use a broader set of skills,” “work harder tocoordinate with other departments,” face “more complex” challenges, andmobilize “higher levels of learning and knowledge.”[2]If you want to be a professional who interacts frequently with others, youhave to be someone who can anticipate and solve complex problems andcoordinate your work with others,[3]all of which depend on effectivecommunication.The pay-off from improving your writing comes much sooner thangraduation. Suppose you complete about 40 classes for a 120-creditbachelors’ degree, and—averaging across writing-intensive and non-writing-intensive courses—you produce about 2,500 words of formal writing perclass. Even with that low estimate, you’ll write 100,000 words duringyourcollege career. That’s roughlyequivalent to a 330-page book.

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