The ancients put stylus to clay tablet, the Victorians pen to parchment, and the moderns, fingers to keyboard. Through out the ages, the power of the written word has been recognised and respected; to invoke that hoary chestnut from Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839 – the pen is mightier than the sword! Interesting and informative content is required everywhere – in textbooks, instructional manuals, magazines, newspapers, radio, TV, software companies and even for the flyers of the local grocery store. With the explosion of the internet, content is now required for websites of all types. Beyond this, quality writing is what sets apart great authors and poets, without whose works the world would be a very dull place indeed. Thus writers are always in demand – and there are a variety of career options open for those with a flair for writing. Among the exciting careers are journalism, publishing, technical writing, corporate communications, public relations, script writing and many more.
What are some of the qualities of a good writer?
Love for the language, a good vocabulary and a detailed understanding of grammar and syntax are essential. Writers are a curious lot – they always want to know more about people, ideas and the world. They must have the ability to research and assimilate diverse topics. Most good writers are also voracious readers. Good interpersonal skills will also help greatly.
What can high-schoolers do to prepare themselves?
Contributing to the school magazine or newsletter, to local newspapers, and creating community newsletters are great places to start. Students can learn how to make pitches, and research and refine their stories. Blogs are a great medium for feature writing and students will have the additional advantage of getting feedback in the form of comments. There are some good online forums that can be of great help for a budding writer. To improve language skills and to get an idea about tone and cadence, high-schoolers should read widely – fiction, non-fiction, biographies, poetry – try to cover all genres. One way to make this a fun activityis to start or join a book club. Try to attend writing workshops. Many media organisations also offer summer internships for students. Those at the top usually have valuable advice for beginners and can prove to be excellent mentors to budding authors. Accordingly, students should take every opportunity to meet the best in their chosen field – authors at workshops or events, corporate communications staff, public relations officials, television or radio journalists and editors.