The Writing Process

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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The writing process for 99 people out of 100 (and I wish I were the exception) is generally one form of anguish or another. It doesn't matter whether you're talking about an inter-office memo, a grant proposal, or a feature article on Boston restaurants. Countless books are written on the subject. Many copies are sold to a great many struggling writers and would-be writers. They all boil down to the same basic formula. We're not talking about prose fiction or poetry.

The Writing Process: Step by Step

Know what you want to say before you start hammering or even pecking at the keyboard. Starting the writing process with an outline is the best way to work this out, even if you're talking about a one-page business letter. It's also worth remembering one sad reality. The odds are pretty good that letters and reports will be only skimmed. Some people will read attentively, but not the majority.

A large part of the writing process is working around that. Be as brief as you can. Make every word count. Forget adjectives. Vary the pace a bit in long and short sentences. You're more likely to keep readers engaged that way. Use a dictionary (not spell check) if you're in doubt. Make use of online resources like writing workshops right there at your fingertips. Few things put a reader off more than a grammar, spelling or punctuation error.

Facts and numbers are persuasive, whether you're talking about a budget and the cost of your existing telephone system, or the number of subscribers a new marketing proposal is likely to garner. Use them, but not like rifle fire or a road construction crew's pavement jack hammer. All writing is persuasion. You're hoping to convince the audience that your idea, your product, your service, or your job skills are exactly what they want and need.

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