The holidays have passed, the new year’s initial promise has dimmed, and winter has tightened its icy grip. If you’re anything like us, you’re in no mood to make a list of business goals.
But, we’re doing it anyway. Why? Because the year is moving inexorably forward, and at the end of January, we’re more gimlet-eyed about what we want to achieve in 2016. At the top of our list? Write more, write less, and write better.
It surely comes as no surprise that this is our goal, but you can (and should!) make it yours, too. The 5 guidelines we've committed to:
1. Write more. Everyone (from famous authors to teachers to business writers) says it. If we want to be smarter and more proficient writers, we must establish a writing routine. This year, we’re aiming to write a handful of sentences every single day. We’ll set a timer, block our Internet connection, and write (er, type) some words.
2. Write less. Of course, working our writerly muscles is not the same as winning the writing race. To write better, we need to write more and less. Better business writing necessitates brevity and concision. Short, pithy communications make every word matter (and fill readers’ hearts with gratitude). Just do it.
3. Write more (and less) formally. We don’t want to write in Siri-style formalities, but we also don’t want to write in acronym-laden textspeak. This year, we’re looking to strike a Seth Godin-inspired balance: less jargon, fewer acronyms, and a more balanced—and authentic—style.
4. Write less enthusiastically (when appropriate). Speaking of text messages…. They’re delightful and have expanded our communication skills. But they also force exclamatory enthusiasm that unhelpfully influences other communications. Resist. The period is still respectable (and respectful). That said, if you’re an enthusiastic person and the exclamation point feels like an ideal tool of expression, use it.
5. Write better. This year, we will strive to never miss a typo. It’s nearly impossible—even for seasoned editors—but we’re tipping the balance in our favor by instituting the tried-and-true method of reading backwards (slowly) and reading aloud.
Five (pretty) easy steps to writing success in 2016. We’re in, are you?
English PhD, former arts administrator, obsessive cook, native East Coaster, mom to two rabblerousers.
English PhD, former high school teacher, obsessive organizer, native Midwesterner, mom to three troublemakers.