I know how intimidating writing can be. As I writer, I face that blank page every day. All I do is write: articles, blogs, emails. The list goes on and on.
But as much as I recognize how daunting writing can be, I also recognize its power and importance in our lives. I get that often writing is the most effective way to communicate your message.
It is important to write with caution, attention, and awareness.
Written communication is more commanding and compelling than verbal speech because it is more concrete. The reader can pause over each word. But in this way too, there is less room for error and mistakes. Spelling and punctuation are present and forceful factors in written communication. Grammar and word choice are paramount.
Though our technology makes writing easier with tools that check and even correct misspelled words and incorrect grammar use, these tools are not entirely reliable. You as the writer still need to know what you’re ultimately trying to say and to understand the appropriate words to express those goals.
Moreover, be mindful of this fact: Once something is written (and sent), it cannot be taken back.
Some of the most basic tips to remember when writing include:
- Avoid slang words.
- Restrict the use of abbreviations to items that you know are clear or which you have made clear.
- Don’t use symbols.
- Clichés should be used with caution.
- Great care should ALWAYS be taken to spell the names of people and companies correctly.
- Numbers should be expressed as words when the number is less than 10 or is used to start a sentence. Double digit numbers and greater should all be expressed as figures, except when starting sentences.
- Don’t say anything in 20 words that you can say in 10. Keep sentences as crisp and to the point as possible. Wordiness alone does not make an intelligent missive.
Also remember, there are books and books and books about writing. Find one that suits the type of writing on which you focus, and make that purchase. Anyone who does a great deal of writing should own a copy of a style guide, like The Chicago Manual of Style or The Associated Press Stylebook.