Top Five Writing Tips for Everyday Writing
By Laura Lee
Writing is part of our daily lives - both professionally and personally. Whether it is a quick email to a colleague, a letter, or complex legal brief, effective communication matters. It can make a difference in completing a task or winning a legal argument. Additionally, writing is a skill that can always be improved, so it is important to always have a growth mindset about writing. Here are my top five favorite writing tips:
- Make the most important point first. Whether it is an action item in an email to a client, colleague, or opposing counsel, or your best argument in a motion, don’t bury the most important point; lead with it. Add the relevant details after making the most important point.
- Gather your facts [and support] before writing but force yourself to start writing. Gathering the facts [and support] will give you the confidence you need to thoughtfully organize your points and to start writing. Staring at that blank screen and starting to write can often be the hardest part. Doing this pre-work will also help you identify your most important point so that you can make the most important point first!
- Ask “So what?” and “Why?” for every point. Everyone is busy. Writing should be efficient and concise. If you do not have a good answer to these “so what?” and “why?” questions for each sentence and paragraph, strike the sentence and/or paragraph.
- Use the “Read Aloud” function on your computer to proofread. It is hard to proofread your own work. But if you hear your written work product, you might identify a missing word, or a word that is spelled right but is not the word you wanted to use. Who needs a podcast when you can listen to your own work product?
- Eliminate distractions. Mistakes happen, but if you can avoid errors you can keep your readers focused on the content of your message and not improper spelling, inaccurate grammar, or some other error. In effect, make your writing invisible, so that the writing is not the focus, rather, the message of the writing is what the reader pays attention to.
Let me know what you think of these writing tips or email me your top writing tips @ LLee@RobinsKaplan.com. Happy writing!
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