Attitude is the foundation of achievement. Half of your success will depend on it. Therefore, you must take responsibility for your attitude. There can be gold in having a positive attitude toward writing if you work on your attitude skills everyday. Believe that you can write! This is particularly true if writing is not your strong suit.
Clear writing depends on correct sentence structure and correct sentence structure depends on training the mind to use habits of care and logical accuracy in making sentences. If you think you can’t write, begin to write more clearly by changing your outlook. Study good writing. Find a writer whose writing you enjoy. Study the logical relation of words in sentences as you read. Train your eye to focus on that relationship. Then, try to refine your writing techniques and style; begin to change your writing attitude by dedicated and persistent writing, i. e., write something everyday. Spend the hour you would otherwise spend watching TV reruns by practicing your writing. It will pay huge dividends for you.
A well respected speaker on sales techniques, Jeffrey Gitomer, writes in his “Little Red Book of Selling,” that “hard work makes luck.” I believe him. So, be persistent. If clear writing is truly an art form, as argued in my January 26 post, not only is it appropriate to follow the guidelines suggested in my blogs but you must acquire the skills to use them properly. This means continued practice to develop and hone your writing skills. Consider this task as an ongoing life challenge.
Recall that in a previous post, on February 3, I pointed out that word association, not memorization of rules, is important in learning to write clearly. You need to have practical skills in word usage, not theory. Learn word association by habit, not by rules; the key is to focus on the logical relationship of words in a sentence. Usage determines the value and meaning of words; but apart from usage, words have a fixed logical relationship to each other in a sentence.
Here’s something else to focus on – clear writing flows from clear speaking. If you don’t talk clearly, you won’t write clearly. Trust me on that. There is one practical way to attain clearness and that is by fully thinking out what you want to say and knowing HOW to say it as well as write it. In other words, you must not only develop a strong vocabulary, but you must also acquire a working knowledge of how to put words together into well constructed sentences and sentences into tightly woven paragraphs. Only then will you be ready to become a serious writer.
The last two blogs focused on outlining as a step in organizing your thoughts. Once outlining is complete, you’re ready to write your first draft. This means stringing words together into sentences and sentences into paragraphs. But, first, you must know which words to use and how to use them.
Recently, I heard a professional athlete say, “He’s not going nowhere.” And the city manager of a mid-sized California city was quoted as saying, “I thought I’d saw everything.” This kind of talk is the product of careless thinking; surely, these people were not taught to speak that way in school. But if you do speak that way, you must learn that “He’s not going anywhere,” and “I thought I’d seen everything,” is correct English. If you speak the language correctly, it will be much easier to learn to write it clearly.
Copyright 2012. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.