Although freelance writing has not yet gained popularity at par with mainstream journalism, it has definitely grown from writing a couple of hand written articles every now and then to a booming online business which is providing opportunities to many people around the world who find it an extremely rewarding and satisfying field to be in.
Good writers treat writing as serious business and not just an extended hobby. The competition is as fierce and the professionalism is as intense as in any other job. Various kinds writing courses are now mushrooming all over which help writers to polish their skills and learn the nuances of writing as a serious profession.
For the sake of convenience, professional writing can be divided into various sub-types like creative writing, literary writing, academic writing and technical writing. A freelance writer may choose to explore all of these in the course of his/her career or may chose to stick to one particular area of writing and specialize in it.
Business writing is one such sub-category which differs from all others in many aspects. As opposed to the lofty expressions in literary writing and the explanatory tone in academic writing; Writing for business demands precision, concision and economy of words. This involves writing letters, reports, official documents, resumes, memos, proposals, covering letters etc. Since the scope of such writing is strictly professional, the style should be ultra-formal, neat and follow certain rules. For example; “u r 2 gud” may be fine if you are chatting with a friend but if it is a part of a , it could cost you your professional reputation and even your job. Business writing cannot afford leisurely use of words and a beating-around-the-bush style. After a brief formal pleasantry, the opening line should quickly introduce the subject and narrow it down to the point that is to be conveyed. The use of words and sentence structure should be carefully calculated to achieve the desired effect. If the message it too long, it would be preferable to arrange it in bulleted points instead of paragraphs.
In a way, business writing is actually the kind of writing we learn in school- remember how our teachers insisted that a letter should begin with a “Dear/Respected So-and-So” rather than a “Hey” or without a acknowledgement at all and be signed off with a “yours sincerely/faithfully” instead of “Hugs” and “Cheers”? Well, high school education does come in handy at some point in life!
Since business writing is earning its importance with the fast growth of the corporate sector, so is the trend of business writing courses. In today’s competitive scenario, a self-written resume (however good it may be) is simply not enough to attract a prospective employer’s attention until it is peppered with a professional touch. Writers are making full use (and money) out of this new opportunity by specializing in this particular field.
Many regular and online courses are available for writers who want to branch into the field of professional writing. Syracuse University and University of North Carolina offer undergraduate distance learning programs on composition and work-place writing which can be studied online. In addition to that, details of many more specialized business writing courses can be obtained from the PrimeLearning.com website. Gotham Writer’s Workshop, CBT Direct and Corpedia are other acclaimed schools that offer a range of online courses related to business writing.
The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue is the Bible for professional business writers. The lab offers classes and courses on correct grammar and vocabulary usage, guidelines for writing a good thesis, and tips on avoiding plagiarism. Students and writers, especially academic writers can find resources on different academic formats like MLA, APA, Chicago and Harvard for formatting and referencing academic papers. Most academic assistance websites ask writers to refer to OWL guidelines to improve upon the quality of their work. There is also a tutorial on “Writing the Basic Business Letter” and “Developing an Outline” on the website.
Apart from an endless number and variety of online courses, the internet is an untapped resource tool for writers. A smart online search will provide thousands of job opportunities (full time/part time/freelance) from all over the world. Owing to the growing needs of clients and professionals from all fields, there is enough opportunity for all business writers to keep their kitty full of assignments. Therefore, the internet is a great “earning and learning” source for writers.