This last week, I found myself having to evaluate entries for a fellowship in publishing. There were five of them from students in a prestigious master’s program at a well known university. Sadly, I was shocked not only at the lack of creativity exhibited in these entries but (more importantly) by the level of the writing.
Over the last several years, I have noticed that even young people who have PhD degrees have writing skills that are poor and ineffective. It seems that communicating clearly and effectively has become a lost art.
It is one thing to write “pretty” sentences in a novel, for example, but I am discovering today that good technical business writing is extremely hard to find. We need to do better; and the people I am talking about are all intelligent.
I wonder why this is happening. One of my dear publishing friends has suggested it’s due to the internet, and I suspect that has something to do with it, of course.
But I think there is something else — a lack of focus on the actual process of communicating by the written word. Young people especially, I think, have to be aware of what they are doing in this regard and how they are doing it. With so much competition for jobs today, their writing skills are going to become an increasingly important factor in the kind of job and maybe ultimate career they can have.
I would love to hear what you think about all of this — whether you have noticed what I have, why it is happening increasingly now, and what can be done about it.