Writing is a serious business. It’s the only medium that can enhance or damage the ideas it conveys. It’s like railroad tracks. Unless they are laid out securely, no train of thought (pun intended) would be safe to travel on them.
To make things worse, we actually take good writing for granted. Most of the published stuff gets reviewed and edited for a number of times before it reaches us: the readers, the consumers. So many man-hours go into crafting a news article, an editorial, or even a blog post. It wasn’t until I wrote my first public blog post that I experienced the good old challenge of writing. Sure, I did plenty of writing in school but to this day I still feel rusty. Journaling just doesn’t cut it. I treat that as if I have no audience. You can’t afford do that in public domain.
Even though writing is challenging, it’s also a very powerful tool. It’s so powerful that I don’t understand why we don’t use it more often even with a small audience, whether it’s friends or family. Same thing with e-mails and networking. Sometimes I get asked if I can hop on a call with someone who wants to ask questions about recruiting, schools, engineering or in general, career aspirations. Why though? Why is speaking on the phone preferred over writing? Other times, I find myself brainstorming with some of my friends on the phone and endlessly debating over the things that we don’t know. We are simply letting go of the critical thinking process that writing forces us to go through.
Even meetings at work. Frankly, a lot of them could simply be emails. And this is not say that those meetings are unimportant. On the contrary, some require deep diving to the extent that is not suited for verbal communication. Those meetings suffer from poor decision making. They end up with action items that call for an offline investigation. I believe that meetings should be reserved for decisions that are not straightforward to take even after long hours of critical thinking and writing. You know the meetings that actually involve conflicting views. At least, stakeholders would be going into those meetings prepared with a stance.
If any of this resonated with you so far or if you are hungry for more tips, I’m pretty sure you are going to like the following collection of resources that I gathered over time. They offer valuable insights into how you can improve your writing by focusing on the essentials. I hope to update this as I find more information on this subject.
- Aug 2020 Addition: On Writing Well
- Tips for great writing: concrete steps
- Writing tips for non-writers
- Why we should ALL write blogs
- When we do write, we have to be critical of every statement we make. If it doesn’t add anything to the overall message, delete it. If it’s somewhat redundant, delete it. If it’s too hard to comprehend, delete it. If it uses passive voice, rephrase it in active voice. Assume the reciepient has 30 seconds to read your message. Would your point come across? If not, try again. At the very least, move what you are asking to the top and then provide details later. You know what happened to our attention spans, right?Concise writing in Turkish
- Do NOT ever just say hello
- Why we are afraid of writing
- How to be a successful blogger
- How to ask smart questions the right way
- How to write concisely
- How to blog
And finally, never forget the following.
― Mark Twain