Documents are the bridges we build to convey our thoughts - Good writing is important

7 Steps to Better Writing - Charles Maxwell 2020

Documents are the bridges we build to convey our thoughts
Good writing is important

Effective writing drives the success of individuals and organizations. Well-written documents achieve better results and save time. Some experts estimate that poor writing costs the US economy $400 billion each year. Given this information, the annual global cost of poor writing surely tops $1 trillion.

But, poor writing does more than waste money. It also fosters misunderstanding, damages relationships, and wastes human potential.

While most people are unconcerned about the aggregate loss, we each are acutely aware of our own disappointments and pain. Sales are lost by poorly written proposals and ineffective sales copy. Careers are stunted by weak writing skills. In addition, all of us have been frustrated by confusing instructions and angered by harsh internet posts and insensitive emails.

Tom Peters says, “The quality of written communication is still incredibly important.… Work on your writing. It is a timeless and powerful skill.”[1] (photo credit)

Good writers in business, government, technology, the sciences, education, sports, the arts, religion, and charities know they need to understand their audience and customize their messages to specific interests. They work to understand their readers’ needs, to deliver useful information, and to motivate action.

Documents are the bridges we build to convey our thoughts

Like builders needing to construct bridges to cross rivers, writers face the challenge of spanning gulfs of misunderstanding and ignorance. The documents they create are bridges to knowledge and trust.

Bridges are designed before they are built. Engineers first think through what will work best for each location and transportation need. Similarly, writers must determine what ideas are required for each situation and how to express those thoughts. Often, writers discover how to state an idea only by venturing forth with a rough draft, revising it many times—striving, at each step, to be concrete, brief, and fair, and only then gradually articulating elusive thoughts. As writers labor to make their ideas clear, their messages take form like the steel and concrete spanning out across deep water. In this way, clear writing becomes clear thinking—with clarity abiding both in the writer and in readers.

Abraham Lincoln was an effective writer who planned his compositions and thoroughly revised his work. (photo credit)

Consider Abraham Lincoln. He spent much effort drafting and editing the Gettysburg Address, which includes only 270 words.[2] He was concerned about the national audience—not just those who would gather on 19 November 1863 at a new cemetery in Pennsylvania. He knew that journalists would latch on to his words and that millions of newspaper-reading citizens would reflect on his remarks.

Lincoln wanted his words to serve for more than a personal comment on the day’s program. He hoped to comfort those who had lost family and friends. Furthermore, he sought to persuade the nation to continue to make the sacrifices required to win the war and to reunite the nation.

Being thus highly motivated, he worked hard to determine what to say and how to say it. His effort was not wasted. Indeed, his words continue to stir the hearts of people throughout the world.

Your writing too can create bridges of understanding and persuasion.