Tag Archives: economy

Poor Spelling Is Anathema To Clear Writing – And The Economy

Mastering the subject of spelling may well be the single most difficult task confronting you on the road to clear writing.  But, correct spelling is, without doubt, a goal worthy of accomplishment.

This point must be made absolutely clear:  misspelled words will cause all of  your hard work to sink – fast.  So, be forewarned!  It is absolutely imperative to make sure your spelling is correct.  Misspelled words in particular are the bane of good writing; nothing will undermine your hard work and turn a reader off faster than a misspelled word, particularly if it’s a common one.

Revising and editing any writing as part of the polishing process is a definite must. This is also a good time to double check for spelling errors.  (I always proofread for spelling errors as I am writing.)  You must take the time to check the spelling of any word that looks suspicious to you. It’s a good idea to put a question mark over each word you have doubts about while you are writing, then go back and check the spelling on each word you marked.  Resorting to a dictionary for new or difficult words should be the first and ongoing choice.

You can become a good speller if you go about it in the right way, but don’t expect overnight miracles.  Remember the basic rules, such as i before e, except after c.  There are exceptions to even that rule, however, such as leisure, seizure, financier, species, neither, either, height, and weird.

Many writers shortcut the correct spelling of words either because they don’t know their correct spelling or are too lazy to find out.  Spelling “nite” instead of “night,” and “thru” instead of “through” is the result of careless, sloppy, or lazy writing and is disfavored in good writing.  Don’t take any shortcuts with your spelling; they will stamp you as an amateur.

Another solution is to record all misspelled words on a separate sheet of paper; the act of writing down the correct spelling should in itself help you remember it.  Keep this paper handy for continued reference and add to it on a regular basis.  Try to understand why each word was misspelled.

Spelling by ear and by careful pronunciation can also help improve your spelling.  Exaggeratedly careful pronunciation and spelling the words in syllables may also help.

You can also master the intricacies of good spelling through visualization.   Make full use of your eye in learning to spell.  Train your eye to observe printed words accurately.  This approach is closely akin to learning good grammar by word association, as explained in my eBook, “The Art of Clear Writing,” available on amazon.com/kindlebooks.   Good golfers are said to visualize each shot before hitting it.  If it works in golf, it can work in spelling.  Teach yourself to picture the correct spelling of all misspelled words in your mind.  Concentrate on the correct spelling of these words to be sure you see every letter. Then look away, spell the word, and look back for verification.  Repeat this procedure on a regular basis until you can instantly recognize the correct spelling of each previously misspelled word.

A related trouble spot is the use of the wrong word in place of the correct word.  Thus, except (to exclude)and accept (to take) are often confused, as are affect (to influence) and effect (to accomplish),and allusion (a reference) and illusion (a deceiving appearance).   When a confusing resemblance between two words causes you to misspell one of the words or to erroneously use one instead of the other, a good remedy is to focus your attention on one of the words, learn its spelling and correct use thoroughly.  Use any memory device for this purpose, as long as it works.

It is important to bear in mind that poor spelling may well derail your efforts to find a job, or advance your career.   It can also mean lost sales for your company.   This bodes ill not only for you or your business but for the economy as well.  The ability to spell accurately is but another step on the road  to achieve clarity in communications, which is a vital ingredient not just for your success but for the economic success of the country.  Rebuilding the country’s infrastructure (roads, bridges, etc.) often mentioned as a means of  creating more jobs, also applies to rebuilding the pathways of communication between people.

Don’t forget to check out my website at www.agregardie.com.

Copyright © 2012.  Arnold G. Regardie.  All rights reserved.

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The American Dream – You Can Still Build It

One of the best copywriters on the scene today is Bob Bly.  He’s been a  full-time freelance writer since 1982 and has written over 75 books.  I learned about him through my membership in American Writers and Artists, Inc., which I joined several years ago.  I receive emails from him daily.

The latest email, received  on August 27, deals with  eliminating failure from your life.  It’s very well done and deserves to be repeated in essence here.

Bob’s email tells the story of one of his followers who bought books and created a huge how-to file for five long years.    But fear of failure kept him from implementing any of the ideas he read about.  He was never able to get started in any kind of business.  He was in a rut. The bottom line of Bob’s email is that you can only do so much preparatory reading, studying, and listening.   Then it’s time for action.   It’s like reading about hitting a gold ball or tennis ball.  You can only read about it for so long.   Then, you just have to go out and do it.  I agree with Bob’s call to action, but you have to be able to communicate clearly to succeed.

The point I have emphasized in these blogs is that everybody has something to sell.  Whether it’s a product,  service, or information, you stand behind it.  It’s the confidence you have in whatever you’re selling that will shine through to the buyer.  But, no matter what it is, if you can’t communicate the benefits clearly, chances are you won’t sell it. Now is as good a time as any to start making your own destiny.  Work on your writing.  Begin by developing confidence in it by writing everyday.  This is a very timely topic, one I’ve urged on this blogsite many times for the last several months, as well as in my new eBook, “The Art of Clear Writing.”   My last blog urged readers to prepare for opportunity by learning to write more clearly, because clear writing is a basic requirement for success.

This is consistent with Bob’s main point that you have to take action and get out of the comfort zone of reading and studying.  His email advocates entrepreneurship, i.e., starting your own business.  Don’t avoid taking action because of fear of failure.  This was a legitimate concern in pre-internet days because of the large financial investment often required.  He points out that the arrival of the internet makes starting a business financially so much easier than before.  While it used to cost several  thousand dollars to begin a business, it can now be accomplished  on the internet for much, much less.  Bob urges you to begin by starting your own website.  He even specifies a website you can visit for this purpose by buying a domain name to get you started.(www.bobsbestdomains.com).  All of that is well and good.  But if you can’t communicate clearly, you’re going to be swimming upstream.  Bear in mind what I have written previously, i.e., that writing is an art form, meaning it can be learned.   And it’s never too late to start.

My interest in writing led me recently to create my own website, http://www.agregardie.com.  It features my new eBook, “The Art of Clear Writing,” as well as my Civil War article, “Antietam and Gettysburg – Two Pivotal Civil War Battles That Saved The Union.”  It also references this blogsite.  The eBook is replete with basic, reliable writing insights that will help you write more clearly.  It is only available at this time on amazon.com/kindle books.  It sells for $9.99, but can be previewed free of charge.

Among other things, my eBook urges the development of confidence in your writing by reading extensively, studying other experienced writers, then practicing what you have learned by writing on a daily basis.  This is all part of creating self-initiative, vital in today’s economy.    Learning to write clearly can be the pathway out of your rut.  You can learn to write well but you need the desire and dedication to do it.  That little business on the corner is still within reach, but you still have to take action to get there.  Remember: you can still build it – the American dream!    Start by learning to write clearly.

Copyright © 2012.  Arnold G. Regardie.  All rightrs reserved.

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Now Is The Time To Learn To Write Clearly; The Economy Needs It

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.

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Improve Your Grammar To Make A Living; Help Better The Economy In The Process.

There have been recent reports that the grammar skills of people hired by American businesses are deficient.  There appear to be widespread errors in preparation of company memos, emails, brochures, and letters, as well as  in use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin for business purposes.  This is an unfortunate situation which may be reaching the epidemic stage, and is a sad reflection on the writing skills of people who have jobs and are in a position to influence others through their writing.  It is particularly disturbing  in situations involving the distribution of marketing and promotional materials where grammar mistakes may well spell loss of business for  a company or loss of important sales to a salesman trying to meet a quota.  Poor grammar will give you away every time.   You must write with clear and effective English to sell your “product” –  which is you!

Is there an easy fix?  Probably not, but there’s a start.  Many people bemoan the fact that they can’t write.   But I strongly believe that if you write well you can do well, and you can write well if you believe that you can.  That’s the bottom line.  Even if  you think that you have no “gift” for writing, deliberate effort will overcome that belief – practice can turn your inability to write well  into a writing skill.

Much of the poor writing extant in today’s world stems from a lack of confidence in a person’s ability to write well.  But confidence can be obtained through dedicated study and practice.  And that effort is definitely worthwhile!   Clear writing will help you make a living, whether you are employed, self-employed, looking for a job, or looking for your niche.

Some say that  the slow economy has tarnished capitalism’s image.  But, I don’t believe this is true at all.   I believe that free enterprise still flourishes and individual initiative  still beckons.  Capitalism was built on entreprenurism and entrepreneurism is fostered by creativity.  Creativity requires clear thinking, and if you can think clearly you will also be able to write clearly.  You can do your part to invigorate the economy by learning to write more clearly.  Learn to think clearly and you will be on your way to the development of clear writing skills, which will bring you a step closer to the ability to solve problems and master concepts, skills you will need to master no matter what field you are in.  Dedicate yourself to the goal of clear writing, which depends on clear thinking.  There is a clear and ongoing need for creative thinking in the global marketplace, and if you can’t write clearly you will not be able to compete.  Creative thinking will serve you well  whether you are in business for yourself or working for another; that skill will give you an edge over others.

You can begin by developing confidence in your writing.  Clear writing is an art form.  It can be attained like any other art form through dedicated and persistent study and practice.  Take your writing seriously.  Avoid a now and then approach.  Read and write regularly.  Read books, magazines, periodicals,  and articles.  Read authors you like to learn new words, style, and  usage.  Write to practice using what you have learned from reading.  The two go hand in glove.  Remember, if you write well you can do well.  That’s the bottom l.ine.

Put yourself in a position where opportunity can see you and you can see opportunity.  Be prepared to take advantage of situations that will develop if you are ready.  The lack of ability to write clearly will hold you back and impact your ability to get hired or, if working, to advance in your job.   You can make a difference in this economy but you have to be ready.

To write clearly, I have learned that two cardinal writing lessons are paramount:  preparation and organization.  Many people who don’t write well ignore these basic precepts.  Well organized writing begins with well thought out preparation.   This means that to reach the ultimate goal of clear writing you must begin with a thoroughly prepared preliminary plan followed by a detailed outline.  To be sure, you must employ sound writing techniques as well, but if the fundamentals are flawed your writng will suffer.

These fundamental writing lessons are covered in detail in my new eBook, “The Art of Clear Writing,” now available on Kindle.  Its goal is to help those who want to write better to do so.

Also available on Kindle is my article, “Antietam and Gettysburg – Two Pivotal Civil War Battles That Saved The Union.”

The next blog will be posted on Friday, August 10, 2012.

Copyright © 2012.  Arnold G. Regardie.  All rights reserved.

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