Learn to Write: To Write Well, Start with a Plan

Writing shouldn’t be hard. All you need is a plan.

So whether you’re writing a letter, a resume, a memo, a report, a news release, a feature article, an ad, or even a book, consider two things before you start:

   • What do I want this document to accomplish?

   • Who is its audience?

Your answers will determine the content, style, length, tone and language of your document. Now comes the hard part: the writing.

Good writing accomplishes what it sets out to do and communicates effectively with its audience.

How does that happen?

  1. Write like you talk. Keep sentences short, varying sentence length for rhythm and effect. Use punctuation to control the flow of your words.
  2. Make an outline, or at least a list of the points you want to make. Prioritize it.
  3. Always be grammatically correct, and don’t send people scurrying for their dictionaries (they won’t bother, so they really won’t know exactly what you mean).
  4. Get to the point–fast. Readers value conciseness above all. They have other things to do.
  5. Be authoritative. Avoid passive voice (it’s longer and less direct). Sound like you mean it.

If you start by answering the first two questions above and follow through on the last five points, your writing will mark you as a professional and get the results you need.
When you don’t have the time–or patience–to write well yourself, a skilled editor can help you communicate effectively and get the job done. Please contact me.


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