Often, writing is considered a natural talent—something that people are either born with or without. This is only partly true: while some individuals do have an innate ability to weave words beautifully and effectively, writing is fundamentally a skill that anyone can develop and refine over time with enough practice and training.
Years of research and studies show that a variety of interventions aimed at improving writing can strengthen writing ability and quality of writing output – including workshops, computer-based learning environments, strategy instruction (learning how to think critically and strategically about writing projects) and more.
In fact, writing can often be improved simply through daily self-practice. “The logic behind this is that nothing is more important for writing development than putting in the hours defining and refining one’s voice, organizing and reorganizing one’s thoughts, and learning how words spill out of one’s head and onto the page,” says English teacher Matthew Johnson writes.
That said, maximizing writing skills development relies on instruction and feedback from expert professionals who can help individuals understand their strengths and weaknesses and work on improving specific areas. Enrolling in professional writing workshops and courses can provide individuals with the tools and knowledge they need to exponentially improve their writing skills.
It’s not just writing skills, either. The processes and systems that support good writing can be taught as well.
In fact, organizations are often their own worst enemy when it comes to the writing output of their teams. In other words, often the question isn’t “Can writing be taught?” Instead, it’s “Can the organization facilitate good writing in the first place?” That’s because companies often lack effective writing processes and systems to support writing activity within the organization. For example, if there isn't a clear process for reviewing and providing feedback on writing, employees might not know how to improve or where they went wrong. Similarly, if the approval process for documents is unclear or overly complicated, delays, frustration, and eroded quality can result.
The good news is that professional training can help organizations develop the kinds of writing-related processes that can significantly improve writing output. For instance, at Hurley Write, we invented the PROS™ framework to help our clients develop effective writing processes like the following:
- Review Processes: Establishing a clear and systematic review process can help ensure that writing is accurate, clear, and concise.
- Feedback Systems: A structured feedback system is essential for improving writing skills; too often, feedback is not standardized so writers often don’t know what to expect.
- Standardized Reviewing Guidelines: Having clear reviewing guidelines can help streamline the process and ensure that writing meets the organization's standards.
In the end, while some individuals may have a natural talent for writing, writing is fundamentally a skill that can be developed and improved over time. Similarly, although some organizations have naturally productive teams, most can dramatically improve their writing and review processes with the right guidance.
For a proven partner in training teams to write more effectively and organizations to build better writing processes, Contact Hurley Write for a consultation to assess, diagnose, and resolve your writing and review challenges.