The Write Stuff January 2020 Volume 16 Issue 1

Pro Tips to Improve Your Content This Year

For this first newsletter of the new decade, I’m going old school. These 10 tips to help you be a better writer were true when I launched The Write Stuff 16 years ago — and they’re still appropriate today.

1. Be organized. Poor organization is the #1 business writing problem. Before you write, plan what you want to say and how you’re going to say it.

2. Know your audience. Written communication is most effective when it’s targeted and personal. Be sure your tone and message are appropriate for your audience.

3. Avoid using corporate or industry jargon. Stay away from clichés, and if you must use acronyms, define them on the first reference.

4. Use active voice. Express action in a direct fashion, so your writing is more vigorous. Don’t bury the lead.

5. Avoid lengthy sentences and words. Short sentences are much easier to grasp than those that are long and contain multiple clauses.

6. Be specific. Don’t say something is merely “good” or “bad”; say how “good” or “bad” it is. More detail is always better than being vague.

7. Be simple. Write to express—not to impress. Use relaxed, conversational style and don’t be too wordy.

8. Define your topic. Don’t tackle a topic that’s too broad. Narrow your scope as much as possible.

9. Be consistent in usage. This applies to everything from numbers and dashes to capitalization and abbreviations.

10. Consider your page layout. Break your writing into short paragraphs. Use bullets when possible. Make navigation as easy as you can.

While the way we communicate continues to evolve, good writing will never go out of style.

A Trailblazer?

I’m honored that San Diego Voyager chose to profile me as part of its Trailblazers: Rewriting the Narrative series. You may learn some new things about me here, including my story, my challenges, and more about my work. Also, you’ll be able to feast your eyes on one of my favorite pictures of me and my assistant Cubbie.

It’s the ’20s

Here are a couple things to keep in mind this year:

  • It’s the ’20s, not the 20’s.
  • When dating legal documents, always use 2020, not 20, e.g., 2/15/2020 rather than 2/15/20 — because fraudsters can add digits to 20 that may cause you angst.
Published On: January 15th, 2020 / Categories: 2020 /

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