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We are all professionals now.

August 16, 2010

I ask everyone on my writing courses a simple, but fundamental, question:
do you see yourself as a professional writer?
The answer is universally, ‘no’. I might as well ask if you would introduce yourself to someone at a party this way? Of course not.

But ask a different question: do your readers expect you to produce a professionally written piece of work? And now the answer is very different. Such a difference that managers and peer reviewers spend considerable amounts of their time locked into proofing and re-writing. The cost of this expectation to business is huge, and largely ignored.

So I might not think of myself as a professional writer, but my readers do. They take for granted that we write clearly, succinctly; that we include only the information they want to read. They also expect the writer to be so skilled in the use of language they do not even notice they are reading. They might also expect the content to be interesting. Not much to ask.

This simple distinction presents a dilemma. Are these expectations reasonable? If so, how do we meet them? From observation, the good news is that most of us can write well. It is a matter of confidence and practise. Put another way: how would a professional writer approach the same task? And the answer to that is in the blogs and links in freshword. Read them all.

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