How to become a better writer

I’ve recommended Doris and Bertie’s Good Copy Bad Copy blog before as a source of good ideas for writers. Their 50 super-quick business writing tips article begins with,

Doris and Bertie logo1. Each time you sit down to write, remind yourself of this sobering fact: “nobody has to read this”.

continues through

5. Don’t follow “we’re different because…” with clichés about “adding value” and “innovative solutions”.

and winds down with

48. Ruthlessly delete everything that’s not important to your reader (even if it’s important to you or the person who briefed you).

I agree with these tips. Although Doris and Bertie target a business audience, these suggestions could have been written by George Orwell or Winston Churchill, who spoke clearly to everyone. These masters expressed candor, rationality, and resolve, and sprinkled in just enough humor to keep us coming back for more.

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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695


4 thoughts on “How to become a better writer”

    1. Thanks, Craig, for your comment. Your link didn’t work for me, but I like your blog. I’ve read that two excellent public speakers — Winston Churchill and Steve Jobs — rehearsed their speeches over and over again.


      1. Wow! That’s a TERRIFIC article, Craig. I like your use of the word “blur”. I think that many presentations are blurry because the presenter’s thinking is blurry.

        I wrote a brief article about listening to an entertaining ABC interview with your countryman, Neil James. He’s Executive director of Plain English Foundation, whose office may be in your neighborhood.

        I’m sorry that I can’t offer any rehearsal tips. My presentations are generally impromptu and one to one, or to small classes of students. They usually involve technical topics. I do worry that I may bore my audiences with unnecessary detail, but with computer systems, details are critical — one cannot assume anything. I work around this by hiding the details unless my audience asks for them.


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