Lessons Learned from 200 Columns on Writing

A digest of Stephen Wilbers Effective Writing
column as printed in the Business Section of the Minneapolis Star Tribune of Friday, February 23, 1996. Digested with permission.

"Here are some lessons that might apply to your on-the-job writing. The first six I reported to you in my 100th column. The last three have occurred to me since then.

  • Writing helps clarify your thinking;
    You don't really know what you think until you write it

  • Writing on a regular basis makes you a better writer;
    Like anything else, the more you practice, the better you get

  • Deadlines can be helpful;
    They can give you the energy and concentration you need to write

  • Length limits are good for your style;
    Eliminating wordiness improves your emphasis and impact

  • Good writing is edited writing;
    You never outgrow your need for a good editor

  • Letting your first draft "rest", will help you edit it more effectively;
    Certain problems become obvious if you allow time to pass between drafting and editing

  • Some stages of writing are inefficient and sloppy;
    Accepting the imperfection of the first draft is a wonderful freedom

  • Making it fun keeps it fresh;
    As with most things, a column on business writing doesn't need to be dry and boring

  • Writing counts;
    Writing is a reflection of your personality and style, a statement of you professional standards. it counts as much as anything else you do


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