Writing Naturally

1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.

2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.

3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.

4. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.

5. Never write more than two pages on any subject.

6. Check your quotations.

7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning — and then edit it.

8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.

9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.

10. If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.


Brain Pickings – 10 Tips on Writing from David Ogilvy.

Make of this what you will…. I pre-ordered the book The Unpublished David Ogilvy: A Selection of His Writings from the Files of His Partners.

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2 thoughts on “Writing Naturally”

  1. I’d add: “Put your computer aside, and write with a pen on paper”. At least plan your writing that way. The Mitsubishi Jet-stream pens, in several colours, on a spiral-bound notebook are my choice. Then, if you must, use a computer. We might be the last generation to use handwriting!

  2. I’ve noticed that the tone, phrasing and style of my writing depends on where it is, what it’s for and who’ll be reading it. A good example is the style and content of what’s written here compared to what’s just been written on the ‘Leeds Music Scene’ blog. I find that different blogs have different ‘house styles’- in much the same way as newspapers do – except that the style of a blog seems to naturally develop along with the folk who are blogging, rather than being specified by an editorial team.

    Anyone who’s read any of the OBC Journals will notice that it used to have a very particular ‘feel’ and that its’ style and tone has naturally changed over time, reflecting the current ‘feel’ of the Order.

    And finally – thanks to Walter. I’m also a fan of ‘pen n paper’ !

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