Plan, write, revise

Today, a seminar participant wrote on his feedback form: "This seminar took writing, which seems complicated and difficult, and made it really simple: plan, write, revise.

Some people are afraid of the blank page. Planning gets those writers started so that they are never faced with a blank page. The page has, at a minimum, their responses to the planning prompts. 

--Why are you writing?

--Who are you writing to?

--Is your message direct or indirect?

--What are your main points? Generally, your main points will answer these two questions: 1) Why are you writing? and 2) What do you want the reader to do in response to your message?

If you jot down your answers, your page is no longer blank, and you will most likely be prepared to start drafting your message.




Some people have trouble with writing a whole draft. They get stuck fiddling with one sentence, trying to perfect it. Writing should just be your first attempt at putting your message out there. As you write, make sure to think about

--Clarity

--Conciseness

--Consideration or what does the reader need in order to understand and sympathize with your message




Finally, some people have trouble reviewing their own work. If you have a list of common mistakes to look for, you can focus your attention on each individual aspect, rather than being overwhelmed with trying to "fix" the entire message. Also, reading your work out loud can help you proofread without exhausting your eyes and tasking your brain. You will hear your mistakes much easier than you will see them. When proofreading, make sure to keep an eye out for the following potential problems:

--Fragments and run ons

--Parallel structure

--Word Choice

--Pronouns

--Plural and possessive s

--Punctuation

That's the process. Plan. Write. Revise. If you practice this routine enough, it will become natural. When that happens, your writing will improve, and your challenges with writing will probably start to disappear.