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Why Can’t People Write?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Being a business writer, I need to communicate a lot with people on emails. Every time I get in touch with a prospective client, I run into an interesting phenomena – a lot of people sound GREAT until I email them and get a response in return to discover the quality of their writing is, shall we say, substandard. Even worse, such people manage to slip through the cracks and reach higher positions. Some mails are so badly written that I can’t even discern what the person actually wants?

Given the importance of documentation and communication, aren’t writing skills necessary for employees, especially when facing customers? Why are those getting neglected? It is the “cellular phone” culture to blame?

Yes, they do allow us to interact so quickly. Whatever it is, whether we require instant email, chat, internet, we can get it right where we are. I feel this has bred a new kind of laziness. No one wants to wait for anything. Most of the cell phone users don’t even wish to take the time to spell whole words (remember IDK, CU, TC…?). It isn't so much that some people feel short of communicating. They just wish to develop the old, appropriate ways of communicating. I am conscious of my rant which is a bit extreme, but I think about it sometime. As we are gradually moving to a more technology driven society, accurate communication is becoming obsolete, which is a shame.

Writing Rules that Help

Friday, January 27, 2012

Most writers have self-imposed writing rules. It could be anything – from writing one funny story every week to use of a quote in “inverted commas” on every page. What are the most successful self-imposed writing rules? Here are few that I read on different websites.

  • 1.       Write fiction at least 10 minutes per day. If a day is missed, make it up the next day. Helpful in generating easy ideas.
  • 2.       Deliver work 24 hours before a deadline.
  • 3.       Aim to write at least 450-500 words a day. If there’s no assignment for you to work on, create it for yourself. Publish blogs because its good discipline to write every day.
  • 4.       Keep spellings, syntaxes and grammar as accurate as possible.
  • 5.       Spend 30 minutes a day in doing creative exercises.
  • 6.       Make editor's life very easy. Revise at least 3 times.
  • 7.       Submit enough articles to earn a minimum of INR 3000 every day. It will keep your mind focused on the business end of writing.
  • 8.       Do not begin a new sentence with “but”.
  • 9.       Make a writing schedule and stick to it.
  • 10.   Keep the paragraphs short. They are easier to read.
  • 11.   Respect your readers, and at the same time have a desire to entice them to read what you are putting out through thoughtful, measured prose. 
  • 12.   Have a very engaging opening and quickly inform the reader what the piece is about. 

That’s my list. If you have anything to add to it, feel free to write to me at

2009 ·Random Writings by TNB