December 23, 2015

Why Write?

By Linda R. Shoaf

Because I loved experimenting with food and creating new recipes, I wanted to work in a test-food kitchen. High school teachers urged me to become a teacher. No one mentioned anything about writing. After acquiring credentials for both food-related professions and education, a lifelong career fell into place—much of it based on writing.

How can anyone teach without writing—lesson plans, student evaluations, untold correspondence, and more? Career advancement may hinge on writing journal or consumer articles, books, various teaching/career guides, newsletters, and a plethora of other printed materials. We can also share our knowledge or interests with others in many different ways, whether a part of our job or not. Here are a few examples:

Blogs give an opportunity to communicate thoughts, beliefs, ideas, or helpful information the public might otherwise not know.
Articles in magazines, newspapers, and other venues provide a medium to educate and inform.
Newsletters for organizations, communities, or industry focus on specific readers and their needs.
Books on topics of one’s expertise or interest will enlighten or entertain readers in a given subject.

To learn why others in my profession write, I asked a national writing group of peers why they chose to write. For most, this wasn’t a major part of their responsibilities. For these health-related professionals, answers reflected concern for the health and well-being of the public. Below are select responses along with my own reasons.
To share current information based on scientific knowledge to improve other’s wellness and health
To influence people to make wiser food choices
To use my expertise to help people improve their wellbeing
To interpret useful and interesting topics for the masses in my areas of training
To improve communication skills with people

Regardless of the profession we choose, those same or similar reasons may apply. But Melinda, a dietitian-nutritionist in the Midwest, added a different perspective as to why she writes. She explained that she writes to leave the world a better place because of her unique skills. Each of us has distinctive talents and abilities. Whether we write fiction or non-fiction, the goal is to help the reader improve or learn in some way. Whatever we write, it’s hard to improve on Melinda’s focus. Does our writing reflect concern for the world in which we live?
Linda Ross Shoaf is a registered/licensed dietitian-nutritionist with a doctoral degree in adult education. After one year of teaching junior high school, she moved into teaching nutrition and related subjects in colleges, universities, and post-secondary schools. Following several moves with her husband and teaching in five states, they founded Cindryn Group, Ltd. in the late 1980s. Within a few years, Linda integrated her independent work in nutrition and Christian living into their company. Her motto, “To nourish body and spirit” reflects her goal to encourage people in healthy physical and spiritual living. Linda has spoken at local, regional, and national venues and leads nutrition workshops, Bible studies, and national webinars. She serves in leadership roles on community and educational boards. As a registered dietitian-nutritionists, Linda is a national peer-reviewer for many articles, books, position papers and professional materials in her field. Her publications include numerous journal, trade, and consumer articles and devotionals. You can find her blog at  

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