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Posted on 02.10.2015

Eat, Pray, Write

My stepson, a college junior, recently called to share the news he was changing his major to communications. I’m thankful he has knowledgeable professors and generous advisors at his disposal to shepherd him through the transition of his major.

One of their first suggestions was to secure an internship as soon as possible, and he has already received viable leads. (Check out Jacqueline Miller’s recent blog, “Want a Job? Five Reasons Internships are Essential.”

After I got over the initial shock and subsequent flattery that he wanted to follow in my career footsteps, I started thinking about how I might guide him in his newly chosen field of study.  Sure, I could tell him about the places I’ve been employed, the people I’ve been blessed to meet and work with, and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities I have experienced.

I could also share embarrassing war stories of being knee-deep in newspaper clippings (yes, I’m giving away my age!), going toe-to-toe with the Secret Service (maybe a topic for a future blog), and accidentally knocking down a kid to get just the right event photo (a beginner’s career low).

In homage to Elizabeth Gilbert’s book of a similar title, I prescribed that he Eat, Pray, then Write –the most important aspect of the profession. He was surprised to hear how much of what we do involves the development of written content, from news releases and op-ed columns to websites and social media. According to him, the list seemed endless and just a little intimidating.

I also scheduled him to meet and network with former colleagues who work in his specific area of interest, to hear firsthand what to expect, what skills he needs to hone and how to lay a solid foundation for his future success. In his first networking luncheon, my son heard  from a communications senior statesman who co-signed my advice –  if you learn to write well, you will be assured of career opportunities aplenty.

I compiled some of my favorite writing resources. I also polled a few others to get their go-to communications writing resources.

Here are my favorite eight:

  • Associated Press Stylebook @APStylebook  – This book is the communication writer’s Bible. To be without a copy or at least a subscription to AP Stylebook Online would be blasphemous. 
  • Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style – This is a classic must-have reference to understand the rules of the writing game. Once you learn their rules, you can follow dutifully or make an educated decision to break them all!
  • Gregg Reference Manual: A Manual of Style, Grammar, Usage and Formatting – I always keep my trusted business writer’s manual handy. It’s an oldie, but definitely a goodie.
  • Grammar Girl @quickdirtytips – Created by Mignon Fogarty, this website is a self-described guide on all things grammar, punctuation, and usage. The site offers a light, whimsical approach sure to be fun for communication neophytes and seasoned pros.
  • Grammarly @grammarly – This site offers a nifty grammar and spell-checker for “mistake-free writing every time you write.”
  • Amherst College Online Writing Center – Find writing guides culled from universities like Harvard, UNC and Dartmouth, to name a few.
  • The Perdue Online Writing Lab – This website boasts more that 200 free resources, including  one of my favorites the APA Formatting and Style Guide.
  • Google – If all else fails, just Google to get a quick answer for your writing related dilemma.

What are some of your favorite go-to writing resources?

 

Andrea Ewin Turner is a Senior Account Supervisor at Lovell Communications. You can view more of Andrea’s blogs here.  Connect with Andrea at Andrea@lovell.com  or @aewinturner

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