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    Write for Success

    Whether you are a professional writer or write simply for your business and personal needs, the purpose in writing is always to elicit a response from your audience.

    That response could be a check from a publisher or an ezine subscription from a website visitor, but whatever it is, the goal is the same.

    Get them to read your writing and do what you want them to do.

    That's why, when I came across a website with information on dressing for success while surfing the web recently, it occurred to me how much of this information can be applied to writing. That phrase -- Dress for Success -- has been around for so many years that it's become almost a cliché. Yet, the principles of dressing professionally still apply to the corporate world today. Some of those principles can be applied to writing, as well.

    The goal in dressing for success is to "put your best foot forward"... to leave people with the right impression of you, and to instill in them the confidence that you are able to do what you say, when you say, and to the best of your abilities. The idea is to get people to respond favorably toward you.

    Isn't your goal in writing the same? You write because you want people to trust you, to have confidence in you and to respond favorably toward you. Whatever you write, you want to leave your reader with the right impression. Whether you write for pay, to educate your audience, or to get someone to buy what you have to sell, the goal is to be perceived as successful, professional and trustworthy.

    So, how can you accomplish this?

    1. Start with the basics.
    Just as a good wardrobe starts with basic pieces such as a wool blazer, skirt and slacks, good writing starts with the basics of good grammar, punctuation and spelling. These are the foundation of your writing skills.

    2. Make sure your pieces fit well and are the best quality you can afford.
    Poor-fitting clothes leave an impression of sloppiness, laziness, and a lack of professionalism. Poorly-chosen words leave the same impression. Take the time to select the right words for the job and to get your message across in the most readable manner possible. Make your writing the best it can be. Your readers will notice the difference.

    3. Expand your wardrobe over time.
    Just as you continue to add pieces to your wardrobe, continue to add to your writing skills. Read a book on writing well. Take a course. Start a journal. Continue to improve your skills.

    4. Add quality accessories.
    A colorful scarf or a well-made brooch can dress up a plain suit, making it more lively and attractive. Quality sentences and well-written phrases make your writing more pleasing and enjoyable, as well.

    5. As your wardrobe grows, add more original, quality pieces.
    When you begin to create a successful wardrobe, you start by acquiring the basic, necessary pieces to look mature and successful. Unless you're independently wealthy, you don't start out with a fully complete wardrobe. You build it over time, adding a little here, a little there, until you have created a good foundation that will serve you well in most every situation.

    Beginning to write is much the same. Unless you're a "born" writer -- and few of us are! -- you don't start out as a professional. You develop your writing wardrobe over time by increasing your knowledge, improving your vocabulary, and learning to apply new skills, until you realize one day that people have begun to perceive you as a professional who has the ability to handle most any writing situation.

    Dressing for success gives you confidence in yourself -- when you look professional and confident, people respond favorably to you.

    The same is true of writing for success... and it pays off in the form of more sales, more assignments and more positive feedback from your readers.

    Copyright © 2000 Darlene Bishop

    Darlene Bishop is a Christian minister, speaker, freelance writer and editor with over 20 years experience. She has published numerous articles for both print and online publications. You can reach Darlene through her website at: http://www.darlenebishop.com or by email to darlene@darlenebishop.com.

    The Authentic Self: Journaling Your Joys, Griefs and Everything in Between by Shery Russ



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