Writing 101 Monday, Jul 2 2018 

Where to begin? That’s a common question when writing anything from a letter to an online informative post.

We can begin the first draft anywhere, because any meaningful writing should be edited before sending. A good practice is to list the points we want to make and then organize that list into a pattern that flows with a beginning, middle, and end.

The first one or two sentences should state the problem and what you want done about it. For example, if you purchased a package of pens and several do not write, your opening sentence might be, “I am seeking a refund for a package of Brand X pens I purchased on July 1, 2018 from Store B.” Continue by explaining what is wrong with the pens.

The last sentence can reiterate the opening by telling the reader the point of the letter. Be sure to include contact information.

Once we have everything we want to say, edit out repetitive and excess words. It’s rarely necessary for the reader to know we were having a bad day prior to using the pens. Simple, brief sentences that clearly express our thoughts is best. And check for grammar and spelling errors that can distract from the point we are making.

When we think the message is complete, a good practice is to read it aloud. We often can hear an error we do not see. The goal is to keep the reader engaged and for them to understand what we are saying.

(Follow me on Facebook and see my other blog, Mary K Doyle Books.)

What I Meant to Say Was . . . Monday, May 7 2012 

Some people can say exactly what is on their mind. They have the ability to speak and think quickly.

I am not one of those people.

Few thoughts come out of my mouth exactly as I want them expressed. After I say something, especially in a difficult conversation, I think about what I did say and how I wished I would have said it. I revisit the scene in my head with the corrected script and imagine a better outcome.

The ability to say what I want better through editing is what I love about writing. I get a second, third, and fourth chance to say it better when I write.

Typically, I write, walk away, come back and rewrite at least once or twice before sending anything. The message is there from the beginning but I can say it so much better after another look. I check spelling and grammar several times and read the piece aloud at least once because I often hear errors I can’t see on the computer.

We have the opportunity to write whatever is on our mind in so many ways on the internet. This is a blessing and a curse because the written word has a long life. Once published, you can’t completely correct it. If you write something you later regret or posted with glaring errors, you very well may be reminded of it the rest of your life.

The more you write, the more likely your work won’t be perfect. There will be errors. But the goal is to present your message as correctly and clearly as possible as often as possible.That can’t happen if you don’t proofread and edit. Taking the extra time to do so can make a lasting difference.

©Mary K. Doyle

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