The Economy of Language – A Guide for New Writers

What’s Going On?

News headlines from the past decade show a worrying outlook for professional copy editors and writers. As this article from The Washington Post illustrates, copy editing jobs have fallen by the wayside, and there is little media companies are doing to fill the gap.

But as the appreciation for writing professionals falls, the need for journalistic writing may be on the rise. Modern digital media are driven by constant updates, encouraged by “sharing” platforms and the way search engines prioritize fresh content. This is also the environment where e-commerce needs to survive.

It seems that before professional writers reinvent themselves and re-enter the market, the job of maintaining high standards of quality for writing will be left to people with very little training. No matter what your trade is, you may soon be asked to write content for your company’s online portal.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you are writing for an online audience.

Keep Your Writing Factual

Writing about your original thoughts or sharing your personal experience is not often called for, so it pays to familiarize yourself with the topic at hand. Not only will writing about it come more naturally, but also, your writing will become more engaging.

It’s safe to assume the reader came for the information about your industry and not to read your diary or opinion.

Always spend time on research. It’s what this type of writing is all about.

Stick to a Consistent Style

Different organizations have preferred style guides; however, in the US, The AP Stylebook is most often referenced. And while you may not need the comprehensive guide, you would do well to find a copy of The Elements of Style, the book it was based on.

These guides resolve all manner of questions regarding how text is put together: questions about punctuation, common spelling mistakes, how titles and names are written, etc. For example, do you write “Dr. Van Nostrand” or “Dr. van Nostrand?” Does that question mark go inside the quotes? Do I need a period after?

They also outline topics to do with grammar and usage. Understanding a language’s structure and conventions takes years of reading and in-depth study; nevertheless, a survey of the essentials can set you on the right path. Once you begin to think about language differently, you can begin to grow with every piece you read.

Haste Makes Waste

Applying the economy principle of language does not mean laying off copy editors or outsourcing your content writing to contingent resources to save money. It simply means avoiding redundancies and streamlining text for readability; getting the maximum effect from the least effort.

A writer’s attitude toward his work has a lot to do with how effective his writing will be. A careful writer, a writer who fulfills his duty as a conveyor of information will write light and airy passages through which meaning can flow unhindered. In contrast, a writer who is in a hurry to fill a page with #whatever, will probably lose the reader half-way through.

To put it simply, if reading your writing were a walk, would it be a trudge or a saunter?

Keeping Watch above His Own

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Call our sales staff today for a fast quote on your translation needs.