Friday, November 21, 2014

Does Being a Good Writer Make You More Successful?

Those of us who have struggled for years to sell our manuscripts might, on occasion, wonder why we do this at all. And we could be forgiven for wondering if the world simply doesn’t care about good writing.

Grammarly, a company that makes a grammar checking program, suggests otherwise. The company “conducted a study with over 400 freelancers to determine what impact writing skills have on your career opportunities.” Here’s what they found:

This is a small study, looking at a few hundred freelancers working through one online company. Still, it provides some food for thought (and maybe a little hope for those of us who care about good writing). Here’s some more detail on the study:

“We proofread 400+ freelancer profiles from all eight categories of the Elance platform for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors. To adjust for quality of work, we only selected freelancers with an average rating of four stars or above. We then looked at correlation between earnings and number of mistakes. We hope the direction the data is pointing in spurs some thought and conversation about the importance of good writing. Our goal is to raise awareness for the importance of good writing. Good writing is not only foundational to good communication, but it can also unlock knowledge, job opportunities, and access to education.” 

Writing is competitive, especially when it comes to fiction or trade nonfiction. No matter how good your spelling and grammar, you’ll have a hard time making a sale if you don’t also have great content. But this is a reminder that being a skilled writer in the technical sense, and carefully proofreading, is important, too!

Full disclosure: Grammarly provided a donation to Reading Is Fundamental, a charity that promotes literacy, in exchange for publicizing this graphic. Grammarly offers a proofreading program designed to catch more spelling and grammar mistakes than a word processing program does.

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