Last week’s blog addressed the perceived epidemic in grammar deficiencies that is plaguing American business today. It pointed out that the foundation of the American economy is capitalism, i.e., free enterprise and entrepreneurship. The blog further emphasized that individual initiative has been the driving force behind the economic growth in America.
The blog was intended as a call to action. You can do your part to move the economy along by becoming a better writer. The written word is more important now than ever before. In today’s world of global communications, you cannot hope to secure a place unless you can write clearly. Prepare yourself to meet opportunity. Begin by learning to write clearly. It will pay huge dividends for you.
I practiced law in California for over 40 years before retiring. I saw the writing failures of innumerable attorneys who, despite all their education, still made mistakes in writing. I attended several writing lectures presented by Bryan Garner, an attorney and a very well respected name in the legal writing community. His lectures are given nationally. Each lecture was attended by both lawyers and judges, and each was a sell-out! In a profession which devotes as much time to the written word as the legal profession does, it was surprising for me to see so many lawyers and judges that still strive to improve their writing skills.
In case the message was lost, let me repeat it now: it’s never too late to learn! If you have any doubts about your ability to write clearly, now is the time to get started to erase those doubts.
Begin by developing confidence in your writing. Clear writing depends to a large extent on the power of belief, belief that comes from having confidence in your writing. When you have that confidence, it will show – the reader can see it. To develop that confidence you must master what I would call the “inner game” of writing, the mental game. Overcome the mental blocks to clear writing and you will have travelled a measureable distance down the road to becoming an accomplished writer.
The best way to gain confidence in your writing is to work at it. Dedicate yourself to it. Dedicated writing – writing with a purpose – not just writing by rote, will work wonders for your writing confidence. A good golfer may spend hundreds, even thousands of hours working on his swing, his short game, his putting, all of which are integral parts of the game. Practice your writing continuously. Refine it as you go. Study the style and technique of other writers. The more you read and write, the more your writing will improve, and the more your confidence will grow.
As an integral part of the confidence-building process, you must also learn how to use words effectively. This rule applies to speaking as well as writing. It is the orderly and logical presentation of information that listeners can easily understand that makes a speaker interesting. A good speaker always uses words effectively. If you can train yourself to speak clearly, you can also learn to write clearly. The discipline involved in clear thinking and the organization of materials for the presentation of a speech or talk will also apply to any writing project – mastering this discipline will make your writing stand out. It will mark you as an accomplished writer. The March Hare’s admonition to Alice, “…you should say what you mean,” applies perforce to writing.
Even more importantly, clear thinking not only fosters clear writing, it fosters creativity, and creativity in turn fosters job creation. By organizing your mind so you think logically and in an orderly fashion you will also learn to think freely, to look “outside the box” for solutions to problems. This kind of initiative, this kind of ability, is what the economy sorely needs.
Check out my new website at www.agregardie.com. It features my new ebook, “The Art of Clear Writing,” now available at Amazon.com/Kindle books, and my article, “Antietam and Gettysburg – Two Pivotal Civil War Battles That Saved the Union,” also available on Kindle.
Copyright © 2012. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.