A TETE-A-TETE WITH ARCHANGEL GABRIEL AND 7 HAVES OF EFFECTIVE WRITING
“Who is it,” I asked.
“Hey Lekshmi, it is I, Archangel Gabriel.”
“Gabriel, who are you? I don’t know you. Anyone trying to fool me?”
“Come on dear, all over the world people have adored me, admired me. I have been the ambassador of creative communication and expression. I am the messenger angel and I love to help people who write.”
Wow, I am blessed, I thought!!! “So will you please help me and my peers in that journey?”
“Sure, dear listen to me carefully.” She said in a soft voice.
For a generation that is glued to texting and using acronyms, it has become really difficult to take the intricacies of writing- be it a proper message, mail, project, draft, or anything. And taking the case of students, writing in exams too !!! I am right,amn’t I?”
“Yes angel, you are absolutely right. But how can we become more effective? We really want to improve.” I told her.
“Dear girl, do you know what Somerset Maugham once opined? ‘ There are three rules for writing. Unfortunately, no one can agree what they are. ‘I am asking you to give a thought to the combination of the seven Haves which I am going to tell you and you can improve a lot.”
1. Have a clear idea:
You should have a clear cut idea about what you are going to write and the matter you want to express.
2. Have accurate facts:
Once you are ready with the idea, get the facts ready for your work. Here I am specifying more on professional stuff, rather than creative aspects because you people are dealing more with them. Be specific about what you want to convey.
3. Have clarity in your message:
The message you want to convey should be as clear as possible. This means- keep the paragraphs and sentences short. Remember the word KISS, which stands for Keep it Short and Simple. There is no point in writing a 100 page project report which no one can understand and say “it is an excellent piece of work.”
4. Have a positive approach towards writing:
Instead of writing “ we can’t accept your proposal” try to replace it with “Due to certain reason given here under, we are not able to accept the proposal at this stage” and see the difference. Visualize yourself as the reader and frame the matter. How would you like to read something that is not positive? Reframe the sentences, but don’t add too much words that will lead the reader to be in a perpetual confusion stage.
5. Have naziness for grammar, punctuation and spelling:
This is the age where the is replaced by d, we is replaced by v and so on…I just can’t understand your text language.
But you cannot use these acronyms while communicating officially. It is always better to be a stickler for the aspects like grammar, spelling, and punctuation. The reader will give more respect. And if someone points out a mistake, be graceful to acknowledge and learn from that. Always proof read your drafts, ask someone else to do it for you if you can’t find any mistake.
6. Have an aptitude for reading and listening:
You can learn a lot by reading. For example, after you have finished reading a book, you can write a summary of the book in a few paragraphs. The same tactic you can apply while going through your professional dissertations.
7. Have respect for the “net.”
While conveying messages online, people tend to foresee some important points like-non filling of subject line in the email, using all caps for writing, too many replies in a series of emails, forwarding junk emails, wrong font color filled in with wrong back ground etc. Avoid these mistakes to the maximum.
Listen dear, not everyone is blessed with a powerful arena of words that we can use and mesmerize the audience through speech or through writing. But by giving some attention, we can improve a lot. Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu once said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So I want you to take the baby step and share this with your friends too. For I truly believe in the quote “ the pen is mightier than the sword.”
Saying these, the angel vanished. I was wonderstruck. But as told by her, am sharing these with you, remembering the quote by Benjamin Franklin which is close to my heart-
“If you would not be forgotten,
as soon as you are dead and rotten,
either write things worth reading,
or do things worth the writing.”