The art of writing is considered a natural thing by many. For the most part, we are all taught to write at a very young age. We go through the process of learning letters to make words and then combining these words to make sentences. It is something we do every day. But, writing as a craft is something that is not natural. It takes practice. Over and over again.
In Bad Ideas about Writing by Ball and Loewe, one chapter written by Holbrook and Hundley states that “The belief that writing emerges, Athena-like, fully developed from the writer’s head minimizes both the labor involved and the expectation that writing is a skill that can be improved.” The authors go on to say that, “The view that writing is effortless and done on the side by extraordinary people dismisses the real effort writers put into their work….”
The truth is, writing is hard. It takes time, effort, and the proverbial blood, sweat, and tears. And still, writers write.
Why, you may wonder.
Writers write for many different, often personal, reasons, and they learn to take rejection and criticism as part of the life-long writing process. Perhaps writing is best summed up by poet and writer Daniela Perfetti R, “I write to create words in which I want to live when it’s difficult for me to inhabit my own skin. I write because, by writing, I build a path towards myself and connect with my essence, with my being. I write because by doing so, I return to myself.”
Let’s take a look at the various reasons that might motivate a writer, and, who knows; you might discover a thing or two about yourself—or the writer in your life!Continue reading
We’ve seen it before. The beginning of a business prospectus that goes something like this:
No person has been authorized to give any information or make any representation herewith other than those contained or incorporated by reference in this joint proxy statement/prospectus. And if given or made, such information…
You’ve stopped reading, haven’t you?
What if I wrote:
You should only rely on the information contained in this document. We have not authorized anyone to provide you with information that is different.
Plain English in business writing is essential when you have a limited amount of time to engage your audience and convey a message. Plain English uses everyday words, short sentences, active voice, and personal pronouns that speak directly to your audience.
The principles sound simple, but it’s surprising how easily long-form copy can slide into the myrrh of plodding verbosity, forcing readers to cry out for something more palatable. I hear you!
What we are talking about when we use the term “plain English” is functional writing. Writing that is easy to digest, easy to translate, and free of jargon. Writing in plain English is not always as easy as it sounds, especially in the world of business where new catchcries and the latest trends can give us all a headache while we try and work out what is actually being said.Continue reading
Storytelling has been part of human activity for many thousands of years. It is a fundamental part of our human condition. We tell stories every single day because they have the power to inform, persuade, elicit emotional responses, and build relationships. These are lofty achievements for any medium.
The power of storytelling can have both positive and negative effects. The stories we tell ourselves about our goals, achievements, and perceived flaws can facilitate limiting and self-sabotaging beliefs that hold us back.
On the other hand, stories that tell of success and overcoming challenges can be inspiring. The power of a great story can be limitless.
But it’s not enough to simply tell a story to engage an audience. Storytelling is not a tool of information dissemination, rather it is a tool that uses rhetorical strategies that have the power to move people. It is in the nuanced crafting of stories where you create a willingness to receive the message.Continue reading
I have taught and mentored many students over the years, and what I can say in all honesty is that each one, at some point, suffered from procrastination. Suffering from procrastination might sound rather harsh, but when a student is sitting in front of you, despairing about not being able to write, it seems appropriate.
Defining procrastination is hard, particularly as we all procrastinate in different ways. Let’s just say that procrastination is the habit of putting off tasks to the last minute. It is the seemingly never-ending battle to get things done on time or completing things late and the agonizing you may go through to get them done at all.
We have all made promises to ourselves that somehow never get fulfilled. It’s the start of a new year, which means I again promise myself I am going to lose 20 pounds. As you can see, the regularity of this promise confirms that I have been repeatedly unsuccessful.Continue reading