OK, so most of what you write at work won't win a Pulitzer, Booker, or comparable prize for literary genius. And maybe you reserve your passion for what you write during late nights and weekends at home.
But it is possible to bring your passion for a well-written word to your assignments at the office. And in the process, you'll likely find your tasks to be more enjoyable, and your text more engaging and effective.
Here are several ideas for bringing your writing passion into the often dull and stifling realm of corporate prose:
- Regularly write in other forms and media: Novels, pro bono community projects, kids books, film or multimedia, etc.
- Try a new type of writing at least once a year
- Attend a writer's conference or class where you can learn new techniques
- Read the work of really good writers. Analyze and learn from their techniques, word choices, and writing style
- Become a language sponge:
- Listen to the "Word for the Wise" radio program
- Read the language columnists such as William Safire in The New York Times and James Kilpatrick (syndicated in many US newspapers)
- Subscribe to BuzzWhack for a daily laugh at the latest buzz words to avoid in your work
- Get a good collection of word books, usage manuals, and Web sites. Here are a few of my favorite books:
- Richard Bayan: Words That Sell: The Thesaurus to Help You Promote Your Products, Services, and Ideas. The most-used reference on my bookshelf. Presents word lists to describe product characteristics and phrases for openers, closers, and other types of promotional text.
- Theodore A. Rees Cheney: Writing Creative Nonfiction: Fiction Techniques for Crafting Great Nonfiction. Full of techniques for writing feature articles for general-interest publications, but also useful for corporate magazines.
- Stephen Glazier: Random House Word Menu. A cross between a thesaurus and a dictionary, with words arranged by topic. Very useful for text that incorporates a metaphor or imagery, because you can easily find all related words in one place.
Develop these habits and you'll find yourself naturally writing with more creativity and a broader vocabulary; enough to revitalize your overall enthusiasm for writing. And as you see this new energy reflected in your work, you'll be able to sustain a natural passion for crafting well-chosen words in every new project, no matter how seemingly dull.
What are the ways you sustain passion for your writing work?