The writing process

Noted journalist Gene Fowler once commented, "Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank piece of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead."3 While we have more writing tools at our disposal today than Fowler could have imagined, writing hasn't changed all that much. What has changed, though, is how readers actually read.

In your writings, provide practical information in an easy-to-read format: "Five Ways to Lower Group Health Costs," "A Foolproof Quality Control System," or "Reasons to Always Promote from Within."

Compose headlines that will capture readers' attention and make them want to read further. Don't try to say everything in the headline, but try to find a clever or interesting way to convey what your article reports. Follow up your headline with a lead sentence that reveals the most important information and then elaborate on those points in subsequent sentences and paragraphs.

Most business readers scan rather than read. Usually, they glance at the headline and lead sentence and race through the remainder in search of key words or phrases. When they spy those keys, they read in more depth, but often only for a sentence or two.

Assist readers by bulleting key points. This device quickly summarizes your important content and signals readers when they should read further or more closely. When you build a reputation as a writer, readers will scan less; they'll dive right in because they want to learn your views.

Keep your language simple and your sentences short. Try to inject humor and enthusiasm, but above all make your writing clear. Never forget that your goal is to communicate, not to show off how many multisyllable words you know or how poetic, clever, or funny you are.

Freely provide examples that illustrate your points. Examples make lessons come to life. Whenever possible, include case studies

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