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Every year from elementary through high school, I learned about math. I did pretty well in it, so I took more advanced classes such as calculus, trigonometry and Algebra 2 in high school. Despite my growing struggle to understand what the instructors were teaching, I passed with A’s and B’s. In college I had to earn several credits in math to graduate with a journalism degree, even though math didn’t constitute a big part of my job. After much frustration, I managed to earn those credits.

While the math skills I did master have served me well in my career as a reporter and now as a business owner, no one would or should hire me to keep their books or do their taxes. In fact, they should run away screaming at the very idea. However, many people assume that if they learned to write in school, that they are perfectly capable of writing about their business, for their business. I disagree. Like any skill, writing well takes more than just knowing how to put together a correctly spelled, complete sentence.

For me, discovering I had a natural talent for writing and that I enjoyed it made becoming a writer a dream of mine. I put a great deal of time and effort not only into learning correct grammar, punctuation, capitalization and style, but into writing creatively to keep the reader’s attention in primary school and college. I seek to evoke emotion from my readers – whether tears, laughter, anger, astonishment, happiness or a variety of other emotions a word can conjure up. If someone reads about a customer I’ve written about through my business, I want that person to think, ‘I should check this out.’ That means showing – not telling – in words why a business is worth their time and money. Doing this is not a skill that comes naturally from learning the logistics of writing; it is something that comes from the heart as well as from training to identify the interesting or important story amidst otherwise mundane facts and figures. Those too close to the subject may not have a clear, objective opinion about how to do this and or have the writing skills to do it well.

I can do my own taxes, but I still struggle with balancing my checkbook and oftentimes I have to get on the Internet to help my middle school-aged daughter with her math homework. So before you assume that you don’t need to hire a professional writer to provide the content for your Web page, newsletter or blog, think about what your true focus in business is, and leave the writing to the experts.


Kelly K. Serrano

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