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Employee Development

How to Engage Writers at Work 

When people think of “writing” they often see someone holed up in their dark little office slaving away with a bunch of crumpled up paper. While this may be the case for some people, writing comes in many different forms. Not every writer is working on a book, sometimes it’s a big part of their job. 

Whether it’s journalism or grants, writing has a huge place in the professional world. Just like any other job, employees can become disengaged and/or burnt out and they need a solid reason to get engaged again. Here are a few sure-fire ways to get writers engaged at work: 

Focus on the Audience 

Whether it’s the entire company or a single department, every piece of writing has an intended audience. When a writer can zero in on their specific audience, their work becomes clearer and easier to navigate. When they know exactly who they’re writing for, the work will feel more meaningful. 

If a writer is feeling down or disengaged, it may be because they’ve lost their sense of purpose. Remind them of who they’re writing for and why those people need their work to be done well. This may be enough to reinvigorate them and put them back on track. 

Use Writing Exercises 

If writers are no longer engaged in their work and can’t find the purpose, try facilitating some writing exercises that are outside their realm of responsibility. It may seem like a waste of time, but if it gets the writers engaged and passionate about their work again, then it was a worthy investment. 

There are many quick, fun writing exercises that they can try such as stream of consciousness writing and letters to their future self. You can also have them write short stories – perhaps based on abnormal experiences from the workplace. You can also have them learn something a little more challenging, like how to write a screenplay

Writing a screenplay – even a short one – teaches a unique set of skills that they won’t develop anywhere else. It teaches them to be more succinct and write without fluff, most importantly. 

Whichever exercises you try, make it fun and lighthearted. Ensure it’s taking the pressure off rather than putting more on. If there are enough writers to work with, you can even consider making it into a game or contest with prizes for the fastest writing or highest word count. 

Encourage Conversation

Especially in the workplace, correspondence can quickly become cold and impersonal. Statements like “management asks that employees have their reports in by the end of the day” feel uninspired and directed at everyone but no one in particular at the same time. Writing like this can begin to feel dreary and meaningless. 

Encourage writers to be more personable in their writing, using terms like “I”, “you” and “we.” This will help them feel more connected to the people they’re writing to and it might even encourage the recipients to begin a conversation. They will feel like the writer is more approachable and they’ll feel comfortable starting a dialogue if they have something to say about it. 

Use Tools and Software 

With the amount of technology at our fingertips these days, it only makes sense to take advantage of it whenever we can. There are plenty of software options out there that are geared towards writers of all kinds. 

There is software for those looking to write a novel, short story, or even an essay. The benefits do extend to business writers. There is software for everything from note-taking, researching, and the bulk of the writing itself. These tools can help writers stay organized and productive. 

If you’re using the screenplay writing challenge as a way to get writers more engaged, encourage them to check out this free screenwriting software. Even if they’re only doing it for fun, it will make the process easier and more efficient. 

Incorporating certain organizational tools and software into their jobs will keep them engaged as it will make things easier and less tedious. Small details will be easier to manage and certain things can even be automated. Many software is free, but even the paid ones can be a good investment if they keep your writers happy and engaged. 

Encourage Personal Writing

Like the writing exercises, doing a little bit of personal writing will bring pleasure and enjoyment back into writing while taking the pressure off. This can look a little different for everyone. Some may enjoy dabbling in fiction while others may benefit significantly from journaling. 

Whatever they like to do, encourage them to do it on a regular basis. You can do this by offering a small window of work time for this purpose. You can also provide them with supplies to take home. Nice notebooks and pens can go a long way for someone who truly loves to write. Another option is a book or magazine on writing. 

By offering these things to them, you encourage them to pursue their personal passion, which will –  hopefully – keep the passion alive in their work. It also shows them that you care about their craft and want them to grow and succeed. 

Invest in Your Writers 

Investing in the engagement of your writers is sure to pay off in the long run. Whether writing is their full-time position or only a part of their job, it’s important that they always do it well. Any job or task has the potential to become dry and boring. When this happens, employees disengage and lose their passion. 

It’s in an employer’s best interest to get the employees engaged once again as this is when they will thrive and produce the best, most productive results.