Happy new year to all of my readers and best wishes for a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.
One of your new year’s resolutions should be to write every day. That’s the quickest way to improve your writing. It will help you write faster, better, and with more confidence.
Recent blogs have focused on the need to achieve mastery of your subject matter as part of the road to clear writing. I have previously pointed out that poor subject matter preparation will result in weak writing. But even assuming you have written about a well-researched subject and know it like the back of your hand, your finished writing project must still be polished before it can be truly considered as “done.”
There are important polishing considerations to be kept in mind before you can consider any writing project as truly finished. It is vital to polish your writing carefully and thoroughly so it flows as smoothly as possible. No writing should be considered polished unless you have at least given consideration to the areas which follow below.
Highlight important information to0 help maintain readability. Use extra white space, bullet points, capital letters, underlining, or italics to allow your reader to skim your writing. But don’t overuse any of these items. If you are truly knowledgeable about your subject, highlighting important information accurately will help to demonstrate your knowledge.
Be consistent throughout in whatever method you choose so your reader can recognize how you flag important information.
Make sure each paragraph covers what the heading indicates. Otherwise, your writing will be jumpy and lack smoothness.
Explain all abbreviations and similar short-hand writing. A sports fan will understand that the initials, “NCAA” stand for the National Collegiate Athletic Association. A reader who is not a sports fan will be in the dark.
Question the need for everything in the writing. If you don’t know what you’re trying to say, you can’t write it clearly.
Carefully review your document to determine if any important information is missing.
Maintain consistency in the document’s organization. This will help the reader understand the different levels of information you have presented. Typical organizational format includes document title, section headings, subsection headings, paragraph headings, and general text.
Before any writing is submitted to your reader, make sure you edit it thoroughly. Careful spelling and punctuation review is an absolute, absolute must. There is probably no other area which will stamp your writing as amateurish, or worse, as poor spelling and poor punctuation. These areas are important enough to warrant special consideration.
It is also important to make sure your draft is tight, i.e., uses the least number of words to get your thoughts across. Make the tone of your writing easy to understand, conversational, and natural. Don’t leave any gaps in your writing so that the reader must stop and wonder what you’re saying.
Once you know who you’re writing for and what you’re writing about, both of which have been recently covered in my blogs, you’re ready to take the next step: writing your first draft.
This should be your new year’s resolution, to write every day. It will do wonders for your writing skills and enable you to do your part to help improve the economy in the process. It will help to increase your earnings potential, your chances of finding a job, or for job advancement if you’re already employed. If you run a business, pass the word to your employees – improvement in their writing skills will help increase your sales. Pick a topic you’re familiar with or enjoy talking about and write about it! Make it a daily habit. You will find that the more you write, the easier it will become to write clearly.
.Copyright © 2013. Arnold G. Regardie. All rights reserved.