How one company cultivates the joy of writing

The story of one weekly meeting that writers don’t like to miss

One by one, they quietly emerge from various corners of the office building. Writers from different teams in the company make their way towards the place where they gather every Tuesday and Thursday for lively discussions about words.

The shrill sound of a bird calls the meeting to order — the group comes to life. The Grammar Hawks (as they refer to themselves collectively) are poised and ready to prey on misplaced commas, misguided metaphors, and sleepy, uninspiring sentences. This twice-weekly, content review session appears as Show the Words on everyone’s calendar, and was borne out of a desire to generate a great writing culture at Evernote.

No one quite remembers when this cross-functional team began referring to themselves as the Grammar Hawks. Perhaps it was that time when one member spotted a “their” where a “they’re” should’ve been, and someone else mimicked the shriek of hawk, as a congratulatory toast to their hawk-eye attention to detail. Maybe it was the day when someone was praised for spotting an extra space between two words, or for pointing out a problem with the hyphen-that should be replaced by an em dash (—).

What we do know is that one curious member in the group consulted Google for ‘hawk sounds’ and delighted all with a distinctive sound of a hawk in the wild. The moment that loud shriek reverberated throughout the room, everyone knew it would be the sound that would define them. The team unanimously embraced this sound, as a battle cry of sorts, calling upon all writers near and far to sharpen their attention to detail, take the time to craft engaging content, and breathe life into our world of words.