Is writing part of your job? The answer is probably yes. From a compelling email to a visionary business plan to the shareable content that will help your website earn high search rankings, the things you write will directly affect the course of your career.
If you want to broaden your writing ability and stretch your creative wings, take a look at these TED Talks about the power of good writing and how to create it. They may not teach you how to parse a sentence, but they will teach you about the power of the written word.
1. Discover the magic of Twitterature.
Writer and editor Andrew Fitzgerald is a member of the News and Journalism Partnerships team at Twitter, where he first launched the platform's first Twitter Fiction Festival. Yes, Twitter fiction is a thing and as someone who took to Twitter every night for a week to read Jennifer Egan's compelling episodic Twitter piece "Black Box," I can attest to its power. In his talk, Fitzgerald takes us inside the world of Twitterature and helps us explore new forms of storytelling.
2. Be careful how you use the word 'awesome.'
Comedian Jill Shargaa is on a mission to get people to really think about the word "awesome." It's come to mean "Great!" or "Thanks!" but its original meaning is for things that actually inspire awe, and Shargaa wants us all to think about that meaning. In her laugh-out-loud talk, she makes a compelling case for putting the awe back in "awesome." You'll never think about the word the same way again.
3. Metaphor is an amazing tool.
The heading above is a metaphor, in case you're wondering. Describing something by calling it something else is a time-honored writer's practice and a powerful one that can actually affect how we see the world. In this thoughtful talk, writer (and self-proclaimed aphorist) James Geary explores metaphors and their power to shake things up.
4. Writing should be simple.
The best writing is succinct, straightforward, and easily understood by anyone. That's what you should strive for in your written communications, and it certainly should apply to words that tell people their rights and obligations. So why are legal documents so tough to understand? They shouldn't be, argues branding expert Alan Siegel in this brief but compelling talk, and he demonstrates how even contracts and tax forms can be written so everyone can read them.
5. Poetry can make you think in new ways.
You don't have to love every poem you ever read. But if you've never cared much about poetry this talk by poetry critic Stephen Burt may make you see it in a new light. From classical to contemporary he helps the audience explore the meaning in poems and even how they can help us cope with our own mortality. That's powerful writing indeed.