Why Your Writing Equals Your Opportunities
Now that I've either garnered applause, raised eyebrows, or just piqued curiosity, here we are together. I grew up knowing the Three R's were Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. Our education system is based on those fundamentals. College entrance exams are based on those three areas - even higher level standardized tests like the LSAT, MCAT, etc. are all rooted in the Three R's. With so much emphasis on those three, you would think we would get this right all of the time. But instead here we are together talking about the connection and the shortcomings in the Three R's.
The educational road map has not failed us. Most educators do not fail us. Our ability to translate those basics into real life application has failed us. I have lived long enough to see the successes and failures of the Three R's play out.
- The employee who cannot articulate well enough their position in a meeting;
- The defendant who cannot communicate with confidence their account of an incident;
- The parent fighting for custody of her children, but her words do not connect well with a judge;
- The athlete who imparts blind trust into an adviser who takes more money then agreed; or
- The customer who is given the wrong change and doesn't bother to mentally calculate to understand if they're being shorted.
Yes, the Three R's play out in a big way on a daily basis for even the smallest of circumstances. We meet the first milestone in the Third Grade. At this stage, students in the United States are expected to be able to read. Students who fail to meet the minimum standards are then placed in a Special Education track.
The next major milestone is Sixth Grade. By this grade, students are evaluated on their abilities in mathematics as well as reading and writing. The next milestone is the Eighth Grade which is primarily measuring students on their ability to succeed in higher level mathematics concepts, their ability to read complex passages and make assumptions, and a bit of logic is measured at this stage. Fast forward toward the end of high school and most states have an Exit Exam (aka Standardized Test) that must be passed to graduate high school. No matter the efficacy of the prior milestones, this one is the telltale sign of a student's level.
As a grad student in an education program, I had many fellow classmates who were K-12 teachers. Those teachers explained to me what was really happening with the Standardized testing and the preparation of those tests. No Child Left Behind meant in the real world that good teachers were being left behind. No matter the level of the teacher, the daily curriculum focused on passing the standardized tests. What? Good teachers who had amazing ideas to enhance the educational process were being told to stick to the curriculum (aka the script) and focus on the standardized test prep. It's deflating to know that, but it's disturbing to watch the impact of prepping for a test instead of prepping for life.
In my Master's program I had a group assignment in one of my courses. One of my classmates I had only corresponded with via email early in the course. His writing was difficult to read. The subject-verb agreement was not always there; dangling participles; missing punctuation; yes it was alphabet soup on a page. I figured English was his second language because of the way he formed sentences and conjugated verbs. The first time I spoke with him I was blown away. He was as American as apple pie - he just could't write. By now you're scrolling up thinking, "didn't she say her Masters program?". Yes I sure did. For one, I couldn't have imagined how he graduated from an undergraduate program. How much help did he receive along the way? Lastly, the course we were both in was one you take toward the end of your Masters program. How on earth did he make it this far?
The classmate I mentioned was able to hide behind group projects and other help to get to his level. The fact still remained he did not know how to write. At some point he would hit a brick wall and the opportunities would simply dry up.
Writing is a reflection of your intellect
In "real life" writing can make or break you. People see your writing and make assumptions about your level of intelligence - right or wrong as it may be. Writing tells people who you are and what you're about. I view writing as a way to maintain and even strengthen my own intelligence. It gives me an opportunity to collect and organize my thoughts. Once you know what you want to say, focusing on how to say it becomes much easier.
Writing is not what you see on the paper but what happens leading up to the page
I've chosen writing as a focus for The Thibeaux Company® because I want to encourage everyone to think beyond social media posts character limitations. I want people to think beyond emoji's, symbols, and abbreviations. Our brains are wired to live through experiences. Our writing and the process thereof allows us an opportunity to understand what we're experiencing and move us forward to the next levels. The Three R's all factor into the writing process. Logic (arithmetic) can only be understood unless you've received information (reading), and are able to actualize it.
No matter where you are in life, I would encourage you to write! People always encourage reading, but I will suggest that the writing process will lead you to increased reading. Writing is an exploration of what you know and where you're headed. Folks spend an entire year waiting on their vacation to go somewhere and experience something - to make memories. The process of writing is in front of you every single day and can do more for you than any vacation.
I Want to Write a Book
I get his request for consultation all of the time. People are told they have a story to tell and they continue to be encouraged by the people around them to write a book. Or they have something gnawing inside of them that tells them writing a book is an important step for them. The process of writing is your gift to yourself. The end result is the gift you give to others. If you want to write a book, start a blog. Begin getting your thoughts out there and dare I say - practice. Writing a book takes discipline - blog writing helps you develop that discipline. To be a writer is free - you have to want to do it. When I help people write their own books I'm merely helping them see that they don't need anyone's permission to write a book. We're so conditioned to wait for permission to change lanes. Just change lanes! Write more, live more, reflect more - it's a cycle that creates the coolest results.
We recently published a couple of free writing guides to help students write some common papers in both high school and college. I did this because I don't ever want to see a student get to their Master's program and be unable to articulate on paper. Opportunities in job applications, scholarship applications, standardized tests, and even daily correspondence happen all of the time. Once you write, it's on paper for the recipient to judge.
You will NOT be taken seriously if you fail to articulate. I have so many personal examples reading complaints (remember I started my career in insurance claims), and being more drawn to the articulate account. It's human nature to believe the people who speak and write the best. We judge political candidates on their ability to speak and write (most of the time). Those first impressions, they matter. You have the ability to be placed half way up the mountain, or forced to start climbing from the bottom. Writing and your ability to articulate keeps you in the running for opportunities of a lifetime. It takes practice and there's no way around it. The more you write, the more articulate you will become - it is a good side effect of writing.
The Writers Right
I'm pre-announcing (yes my totally made up word) a Writer's Club Part 2 that I will launch by May 2020. It will be designed to keep members engaged and encouraged as they work toward their writing goals (i.e. writing a book, polishing their writing, etc.). When we team up in writing - success stands a better chance. Be on the lookout for the actual Announcement about the writing club (aka "The Writers Right").
Until next time be sure to snag the FREE writer's guides (below) to help you or someone you may know. Just click on the products below, add them to your cart. When you check out, you will not be asked for payment information for those products. Just buy it at $0, and a link to the PDF will automatically appear on your screen and in your email.