Mark Twain once noted that “to get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement.”
I find it hard to believe the author of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn considered writing a struggle (though he must have--he also said, "Writing is easy. All you have to do is cross out the wrong words.") Today, with so many publishing platforms, many people fancy themselves writers. But I know how difficult it is, even for those responsible for writing, tweeting, and speaking on behalf of companies, to find the right words and the right place for them. Good writing is, indeed, all too rare.
Cranking out masterful writing that is crisp, stirring, and grammatically spot-on is hard--really hard. Still, as a communicator, I want to see writing that inspires me. However, the reality is different. Major news organizations have sent copyeditors packing to save money and to enable writers to publish quickly. People are encouraged to package thoughts in 140 characters or less and express themselves--OMG--in cutesy shorthand. Even Twain--who championed the use of simple language, short words, and brief sentences--would be appalled.
Twain died more than 100 years ago, but he is on my mind because I recently joined the board of the Mark Twain House and Museum. This organization has preserved and opened the doors of Mark Twain’s home in Hartford, Conn., and is also focused on helping students of all ages appreciate the qualities of great prose and storytelling.
This is especially important in business today. There are many vehicles, outlets, and opportunities for great brand storytelling. To make the best use of them, companies need writers who understand narrative, style, and voice. And to do that, they need to support the good writers they employ and foster the development of good writing skills among others.
How to do that? Here are my tips.
Via Brian Yanish - MarketingHits.com