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Writing Skills: Good for Your Career

Posted February. 06, 2006 03:45,   


The hot topic among professionals, including lawyers, doctors and high government officials, is writing.

Thanks to technological advances, professionals have more opportunities to express their opinions in outlets such as blogs and online communities. With this increased diversity comes an increase in demand for written opinions.

More often than not, professionals who are also great writers are sought after. Professor Jeong Jae-seung at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) is the author of the book “Science Concert”. Some 300,000 copies of the book were sold. After the publication of his best-selling book, he was given his own TV show.

Professor Choi Jae-cheon at Ewha Women’s University also owes much of his popularity to his hot-selling books such as “Discovering the Empire of Ants” and “Beauty Lies in Small Things.”

Writing Lessons Are In–

The discovery of this new source of fame for professionals has led to a greater demand for books that give professionals instructions on how to be good writers.

One of the most popular “how-to-write” books is “Writing Strategies,” co-authored by professors Lee Jae-seong and Jeong Hee-mo at Yonsei University and published last November. More than 50,000 copies have been sold, and it has been on all of the country’s best-seller lists to date.

According to online bookstore sales records, their readership is mostly men in their late 20s to early 40s with high-powered careers.

Writing lessons have been gaining popularity as well. The Korean Hyungsang Medical Association, an organization of oriental medicine practitioners, will begin offering writing lessons to undergraduates of oriental medicine on February 12. Jeong Haeng-kyu (53), the president of the medical association, says, “Knowing how to express what you know is as important as the knowledge itself. The association plans to provide writing lessons on a regular basis so that herbal doctors can reach a certain level of writing skill required of columnists.”

Good Writing Is Easy and Concise–

Writing instructors stress the importance of being concise.

Lim Jae-chun, a visiting professor at Yeungnam University, says, “Professionals tend to write long sentences. But the rule is that you should put a single idea in a single sentence.”

Professor Lim was the atomic energy chief for the Ministry of Science and Technology in 1991. But he was demoted due to a wrongly phrased advertising slogan. Afterwards, he went to Britain, studied technical writing there, and has taught the subject ever since in Korea.

“Scientific papers are prohibitively difficult to understand, even for scientists, if the subject matter is not the reader’s specialty. So it is important to keep up with the news in order to write in a way that allows easy understanding,” Professor Lim says.

Professor Jeong Hee-mo also emphasizes simplicity, saying, “Professionals used to exercise their authority by using a lot of technical terms. But power has shifted from elites to the general public. Professionals need to know how to write persuasive articles for them. The key to becoming an effective writer is to demonstrate one’s expertise without relying on difficult words.”