Posted on 11 Comments

If You Can’t Write It – Try Speaking it!

A lot of people are under the false impression that one has to be a “real writer” in order to create content for their websites, blogs, newsletters, etc. That is simply not true. In fact, in some cases being a “writer” can actually be a barrier to creating readable content online.

 

In reality, as long as you can talk about your subject and then write down the words that you speak, you too can create acceptable content. Seriously.

 

That really is all that it takes! Presumably, when you are writing something you are either an expert on the subject, or you have researched the topic to the point where you can at least speak about it in general terms. So at that point, all you have to do is imagine yourself sitting across the table from a friend or relative explaining some aspect of your subject, IN YOUR OWN WORDS.

 

I’m serious here. I’m not just saying this to make you feel good. It’s absolutely true that the writing technique that works best online is a friendly conversational style, very similar to how you would actually speak to a friend or acquaintance about something.

 

In fact, “writing just like you speak” is now much easier to do than ever before using state of the art voice recognition software (VRS).

 

While writing my latest book I have been experimenting with widely available voice recognition software that translates my spoken words into text and I have been amazed at how well this works! I simply speak into a standard $15 microphone, and then every word that I say is simultaneously typed automatically onto the page in my word processing program. I can even “speak” my formatting commands!

 

Early developmental versions of this voice recognition software have been around for a few years now and I have been carefully watching as it has evolved.

 

Finally, this year I took the plunge and purchased a package and I’m glad that I did. I have to say that I am quite impressed with what they have developed over the years into a highly functional and intelligent voice recognition tool that is fully integrated with standard word processing and e-mail software. (Yes, in case you  are wondering, I can even “speak my e-mails” now as well!).

 

The voice recognition software package that I chose is called Dragon: Naturally Speaking by Nuance Software, and you can take a look at it here:

http://www.nuance.com/naturallyspeaking/

 

There are a couple of competitors for that software but I don’t know much about them so for this article I will stick with the one that I know. If you want to check out other such voice recognition software I suggest you go to a major SE and enter the search phrase “voice recognition software”.

 

The one time investment I made to buy this software was well worth the money. Now, whenever I’m not quite in the mood to write, I just enable my VRS program with the click of a mouse and then start prattling away.

 

Believe me, for anyone who has writer’s block issues this voice recognition software is a true godsend. It will give you a great working draft that all you have to do is edit and revise as you wish. No more having to write something from scratch with a blank page or screen staring you in the face.

 

So, the fact is that you no longer have to be a “writer” at all to create content! As long as you can talk, you can create written material that is suitable for you to post to your website, blog or newsletter.

 

Actually, there should be no reason why you can’t use this revolutionary voice recognition software for just about any type of writing that you have to do!

http://www.nuance.com/naturallyspeaking/

 

Photo by Kane Reinholdtsen on Unsplash

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5 Tips to Create a Killer Freelance Writer LinkedIn Profile

Most people don’t put in much effort while creating their LinkedIn profiles and freelance writers are among these people. A fully optimized and well-created profile will open a lot of avenues for freelance writers and help them utilize the site to its fullest potential.

Create a well-optimized LinkedIn profile to market yourself and your professional services as a freelance writer and gain clients and a nurturing community while doing so.

In this article, we will show you how to create a killer freelance writer LinkedIn profile that can introduce you to your potential clients, employers, recruiters, and organizations on this renowned site for professionals.

Here are 5 tips for you to follow and implement while framing your LinkedIn profile:

Attract clients with your headline

Your headline is the first thing that people notice in your LinkedIn profile so make sure to frame it effectively. And just as you write job specific resume, you should frame your profile headlines, specific and precise.

Be very particular about what you do and what you can provide as a professional writer. And make sure to mention the word ‘freelance’ to distinguish yourself from full-time job seekers.

Use keywords that can strategically describe who you are and what you do to attract clients in your niche while also making it easier for prospective clients to find you through keyword searches.

Describe your value by mentioning your area of expertise and how it can contribute to the higher goals of an organization. Specify your work experience to add value to your professional profile title.

For instance, if you are a freelance writer who writes on subjects related to tourism, you should mention that specifically in your headline.

Example: Freelance Tourism Writer

Provide your professional headshot

To achieve 9x more connection requests and 21x more LinkedIn profile views, you should provide a professional profile photo.

Considering that LinkedIn is a site for professionals to connect with each other, the profile photo you showcase should also look professional.

One may wonder what a professional headshot should look like and the answer to that is simple. Provide a headshot that has a solid background or something that is not too loud or flashy.

In addition to that, you can update your LinkedIn background picture to reflect your interests or simply highlights your profession as a freelance writer.

Gain recommendations

Get yourself endorsed by gaining recommendations from your clients, employer, colleagues, or friends with whom you are connected on LinkedIn.

Recommendations from others are the testimonial of your professional reputation as it throws light on your worth. It can enhance your profile by making you stand out.

An easy way to begin is by offering to endorse someone you have worked with and asking them to return the favor by endorsing you back.

Make sure to time this endorsement-for-endorsement at least a few months apart as simultaneous endorsements would look fishy and decrease your credibility.

Compose an impactful summary

Give a deeper insight into your professional field by composing an impactful summary for your LinkedIn profile. Make the best use of this feature to describe your profile title.

Your profile summary should give a clear picture of how your professional services can help a prospective client as soon as they land on your profile. It should help them recognize your value.

So, be clear with what you can offer to help them further their business or organizational goals.

Meanwhile, keep your target audience in mind while framing your LinkedIn summary so that you can get across what you want them to know about yourself as a professional freelance writer.

Highlight your work experience

Today a well-created LinkedIn profile works as a substitute for a resume. Some clients even prefer to judge the candidacy of a person by evaluating their LinkedIn profile instead of a run-of-the-mill resume as it provides far better insights that a 1-2 page resume will never fit.

Keeping this in mind, it becomes imperative that you highlight your relevant professional experience in your profile.

Your experience validates the fact that you have the knowledge and expertise in performing the services you are offering.

Any work related to your current profile should be mentioned so that your potential as a freelance writer can be recognized by those interested in your professional services.

Try to use relevant keywords to describe your work as it can help your profile stand higher chances of appearing on search results of others.

Your profile title as a freelance writer in itself is a keyword and using this to describe your work can help your profile pop up when people type for words related to ‘freelance writer’.

While doing so, avoid clumping too much information that may make your professional experience statements seem like a huge heap of unnecessary details.

Keep your professional statements brief and specific and highlight only the most relevant details to showcase your potential.

Key Takeaways

With the end of our article, given below are some points that need to be remembered at all times while creating a killer freelance writer LinkedIn profile:

  • Mention the accurate profile title that reflects your freelance writing skills to attract clients in your niche.
  • Provide a professional headshot that reflects your professional background and interests.
  • Collect recommendations from your connections to build credibility and stand out among other professionals.
  • Compose a brief and precise summary of your professional experience and skills to give an insight into your potential as a freelance writer.

Author’s Bio:

Aditya Sharma

A resume tactician, Aditya lives and breathes Hiration — an AI-powered online resume builder and platform to help professionals seeking to land their dream job find their way in today’s competitive job market.

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Writing the Friendly Thank You Letter

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During my lifetime I have found that long-term friendships are among the most important aspects of life. One critical part of maintaining a long lasting friendship is making sure that you properly and appropriately thank your friends or colleagues after you have spent time with them, especially if they were hosting you.

I’m sorry folks, but even in this age of 24/7 texting, a text is NOT the appropriate or meaningful way to thank someone for anything. That’s because texts are so transient and are largely short blasts of random thoughts that have no long-term meaning or impact, and they disappear into the ether just as soon as they are sent. On the other hand, a properly written, brief thank you note in letter form (or even as an e-mail) will tell your friends that you really do care and appreciate your time with them.

A friendly thank you letter (or note) does not have to be long-winded at all. Two or three short paragraphs and less than one page will do. Just make sure it is sincere and heartfelt.

I recently visited a friend in another city and we had a great time doing things together for a few days. He was at work when I left to return home, so I took the opportunity to jot down a few lines, thanking him for his efforts as a host and guide as we explored his city together. I simply left the note on his kitchen counter when I departed. Two days later when I was back home I received a very nice e-mail from him, thanking me for my note and telling me how much he enjoyed our time together and how much he valued our friendship.

That simple gesture of writing a brief thank you note to my buddy is what lasting long-term friendships are made of, folks. It shows that you care, are truly grateful, and are willing to make a bit of an effort to say thanks. For important things in life you sometimes have to make a tiny bit more effort than simply thumb-typing a text as you wait in line at the airport for your mocha latte. In my opinion, a short friendly thank you letter or note is the only way to treat your true friends with the respect they deserve after they have put themselves out for you.

Bonus tip: Hand written or hard copy notes and letters to people who have done you favours at work, at school, or in any other social interaction are always appreciated. It’s true what they say: people may not remember what you say, but they will remember how you make them feel.

 

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No Wonder English Is Difficult…

I have often heard it said that English is one of the most difficult languages to learn. I’m not sure how true this; any language that involves an alphabet different than your own would seem to me to be pretty tough. For example, an English speaker learning Spanish only has to deal with the different grammar rules and vocabulary, whereas an English speaker learning Russian or Chinese has a new alphabet to learn on top of the other things. Nevertheless, in the case of English, there are thousands of exceptions and irregular word usage conventions that must be very confusing for anyone trying to learn the language from scratch.

Here’s a list of perfectly correct phrases that must be frustrating for non-native English speakers. For each example cited, I have provided my own brief explanation on the second line that I hope will reduce reader confusion.

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
(The first “wound” is the past tense of the verb “to wind” something in a circular motion; the second “wound” is a noun meaning “cut” or “bruise”, as in “injured”.)

2) The farm was used to produce produce.
(The first “produce” is the verb phrase “to produce”, as in “grow something”; the second “produce” is the noun that means “agricultural produce” such as fruits, vegetables, etc.)

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
(The first “refuse” is the verb meaning “decline to accept”; the second “refuse” is the noun that means “garbage or trash”.)

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
(The first “polish” is the verb phrase “to polish”, as in wax or shine a car; the second “Polish” is an adjective that refers to the furniture as being made in the country of “Poland”.)

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
(The first “lead” is the verb meaning “to show the way” or “go in front”; the second “lead” is a noun that refers to the heavy metallic element known as “lead”. The colloquial phrase “to get the lead out” means “to hurry up”.)

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
(The first “desert” is the verb phrase “to desert” or “to leave behind”; “dessert” with a double “s” is the noun for the sweet course after the main meal; the second “desert” is an area of arid land such as the Sahara.)

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
(The first “present” is the noun that refers to “this time or now”; the second is the verb phrase “to present” as in “to give”; the third “present” is the noun for “gift”.)

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
(The first “bass” is a noun that refers to a type of fish; a “bass drum” is a percussion instrument that makes low frequency sounds when played.)

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
(The first “dove” is a noun that refers to a type of bird; the second “dove” is the past participle of “to dive”, meaning “to plunge”.)

10) I did not object to the object.
(The first “object” is the intransitive verb meaning “to oppose or disapprove of”; the second “object” is the noun referring to any material thing that can be seen and/or touched.)

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
(The first “invalid” is an adjective meaning “not officially acceptable”; the second “invalid” is the noun that refers to “a person weakened or disable by an injury or illness”.)

12) There was a row among the oarsmen in the first row about how to row.
(The first “row” is the noun meaning “a disagreement”; the second “row” is the noun meaning “a line of seats”; the third “row” is the noun that means “to propel a boat with oars”.)

13) They were too close to the door to close it.
(The term “too close” means “situated a very short distance from”; the second “to close” is the transitive verb meaning “to shut” something.)

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
The first “does” is the third person singular of the verb “to do”; the second “does” is the plural form of the noun “doe”, which means “a female deer”.)

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
(Both “a seamstress” and “a sewer” are people who make and/or repair clothing by “sewing” the material; a “sewer line” is a trench or pipe that channels unwanted water and sewage to other locations.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
(The first “sow” is the noun for “a female adult pig”; the second “sow” is a verb that means “to plant”, as in “plant some seeds”. Yes, pigs are smart but this statement is unlikely in reality!)

17) The wind was too strong for him to wind the sail.
(The first “wind” is the noun that means “air in rapid motion”; the phrase “to wind” is the verb phrase that means “to move something in a circular or spiral motion”.)

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
(The first “tear” is a noun that means “a rip”, “a hole”, or “a rent” in something; the second “tear” is the noun that refers to the salty liquid that can flow from the human eye in emotional situations.)

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
(The verb phrase “to subject” means “to expose”; the second “subject” is a noun that refers to the person to be tested.)

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friends?
(The first “intimate” is a verb that means “to state” or “to make known” something; the second “intimate” is an adjective that means “closely acquainted” or “very familiar”.)

 

 

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Words Commonly Confused and/or Misused (3)

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This post is my third in the current series. The previous article covered words/terms beginning with the letters “d” to “f”; this one covers the letters “g” through “I”. I will continue to post articles from this series every three or four months over the next year or so.

So, here are some frequently confused and/or misused words beginning with letters (“g” through “i”).

goods, good
There is often confusion whether to use singular or plural. Generally, the plural form should be used. However, the singular is sometimes used to simplify, as per the example.
Examples:
The goods will arrive by ocean container next week.
All goods received from China will be subject to that new tax.
That charge applies to any good or service originating in Mexico.

hardly
“hardly” means “scarcely” or “only just”.
It is often used incorrectly as a double negative, as in: “He can’t hardly do it…”, which is incorrect.
Examples:
I was so exhausted I could hardly make it back to camp.
After the accident, she could hardly remember anything that had taken place before.

has got, have got
“got” is unnecessary when used with have/has in such phrases as:
“We’ve got twelve days until the deadline.”
Examples:
We have only twelve days left until the deadline.
They have six months to go before their membership expires.

healthful, healthy
“healthful” means that something is conducive to good health.
“healthy” means that something possesses good health.
Examples:
That was a very healthful meal that they served us.
If you continue to follow that program you will be very healthy.

hisself
“Hisself” is non-standard. DON’T use it. INSTEAD use “himself”.
Examples:
He went to the game by himself.
He did it all himself.

historical, historic
“historical” means something is related to history.
“historic” means that something is famous or notable in history.
Examples:
That voyage was of great historical significance.
Gandhi is considered by most historians to be a major historical figure.
Her historic speech broke down many barriers for the first time.

hung, hanged
“hanged” is only used in the context of capital punishment.
“hung” is used in all other cases.
Examples:
In that country, all people convicted of murder are hanged.
He hung from the branch by the tips of his fingers.
She hung her degree directly above and behind her desk.
They hung out at their favorite hang-out, the corner store.

i.e., e.g.
These two abbreviations are often confused and/or used interchangeably.
“i.e.” means “that is to say…”. [from the Latin: “id est”]
“e.g.” means “for example…” [from the Latin “exempli gratia”]
Examples:
Conference attendees should assemble quickly (i.e., within five minutes).
To belong, you need to hold an accreditation with a professional society (e.g., CA, RN, MD).
[Note: with e.g. DO NOT add “etc.” at the end of the list. It is a given that these are just examples and there will be others.]

imply, infer
“imply” means to indicate a particular point or meaning in speech or in writing.
“infer” means to make a conclusion based on something that had been said or written.
Examples:
His statement is expected to clearly imply our future priorities.
Based on the thrust of her speech, we can infer that she is giving us the green light to proceed.

include, comprise
“include” refers to part of a whole.
“comprise” refers to all parts of something.
Examples:
The Cabinet includes five newly elected representatives.
The committee is comprised of eight members; one from each corporate region.

in regard to

“in regard to” [NOT “in regards to”]; means “with reference to” something.
Equivalent phrases are: “with respect to” or “with regard to” or “as regards”.
Examples:
He questioned her in regard to her whereabouts that night.
That decision was made with regard to historical religious practices.
With respect to the first paragraph, you are absolutely correct.
As regards our previous discussion, my position has not changed on that matter.

intense, intensive
“intense” means “to a high degree” or “in an extreme way”.
“intensive” means to do something thoroughly; in a concentrated manner.
Examples:
His focus on the task at hand was very intense.
Their training program was quite intensive.

irregardless
This is non-standard and redundant. DO NOT use it. Instead, use “regardless”.
Examples:
We are leaving tomorrow, regardless of the weather.
Regardless of her opinion, I am still going ahead with our plan.

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Using (Polite) Complaint Letters To Get Action

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There is an old expression that states “the squeaky wheel always gets the grease”. My overwhelming experience over the years proves that this is absolutely true! If you don’t express your concern about a problem or issue to someone in charge, things will never change. I have also found that by far the most powerful way to express one’s concerns about an issue is via a polite formal complaint letter. This is especially true if you are dealing with a large company or government organization.

Although complaint letters aren’t always fun, they usually need to be written

In most cases, if people don’t complain, the problem agency at fault (e.g., company or government) won’t even know that the problem that you and others may have experienced even exists. Legitimate complaints, by even a few people, can (and often do) result in better service for everyone. Not only that, writing complaints down can be personally beneficial for the writer too!

That’s right. Writing complaint letters can be an empowering and therapeutic experience! It allows one to take action instead of playing the role of a victim and nursing an ongoing resentment towards a company about poor service or treatment that you received. Once the complaint letter is written and in the mail, you can let it go knowing that you have done something tangible and constructive about the situation.

In fact, properly written and handled complaint letters almost always get action!

Once I started writing complaint letters, I began receiving gracious letters of apology and contrition from senior executives including bank vice-presidents and directors of marketing for giant corporations. Getting those felt one heck of a lot better than polishing an ongoing resentment and getting even angrier the next time something bad happened. Sometimes I even received discount coupons and free merchandise!

Over the years, many people have contacted me about writing complaint letters for them. I always request that they at least give me a draft in their own words so that I can get some idea of the essence of the situation. More often than not, what they send me is an angry and rambling diatribe that just confuses the situation or issue.

If you want your complaint letter to have impact and to elicit action, there is a way to structure and write them that I have found will work without fail. I documented this in an article a few years ago titled “10 Secrets for Writing Killer Complaint Letters”. Here’s the link:
http://www.writinghelp-central.com/article-complaint-letter.html

 

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Well Written Meeting Minutes Are Mission Critical

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Minutes of meetings are important documents because they record in writing what was discussed in the meeting, and what decisions were actually made there. In organizations that maintain good practices, a review of the minutes of the primary management meetings over time would reveal an excellent record of the history of that organization.

During my 25+ years working in various organizations, there were many occasions on which I was tasked with either writing the minutes of meetings myself, or editing/approving minutes written by others. As a result, below are a few suggestions I have for you, should you ever be asked to write the minutes for any type of meeting.

5 Tips For Writing Good Meeting Minutes

1. Work From An Agenda
A meeting agenda that lists the main items to be discussed should be circulated to all potential attendees a few days (ideally) prior to the meeting so that they can make sure it is on their schedule and that they will have the necessary documents that will be needed to discuss the items listed. That very same agenda should be used by the meeting chairperson to conduct an orderly meeting. Keep this list short and focused! A good meeting should last no more than an hour. Anything more than that, and it becomes unproductive and a time-waster. Your colleagues will thank you for running a tight, short gathering.

2. Be Concise
Meeting minutes should NOT be a long-winded and verbatim “he said” – “she said” account of the meeting. They should briefly record only the essence of the major points discussed and/or major decisions reached, from a bottom line perspective. The key items to record are decisions made/deferred, the specific reasons for that decision, and most importantly who is responsible for any follow-up action.

3. Use Clear and Precise Language
Because minutes of meetings are an “official” record of corporate decisions made, they are often referenced many months later in order to recall what “exactly” was decided at a previous meeting. This makes clarity and precision of language very important when later trying to determine exactly what decision(s) was made and what specifically led to the decision.

4. Make the Right Person Responsible
In most organizations, a corporate “meeting secretary” is made responsible for organizing meeting logistics, drafting of minutes, and distribution of meeting-related documents such as agendas, minutes, and support documents. This is an important task; the person chosen for this should be well-organized with above-average writing skills.

5. Make Someone Else Accountable
Once the meeting secretary has drafted the minutes they should be carefully reviewed and revised if necessary, by the person who chaired the meeting. That individual, who will normally occupy a position of some responsibility in the organization, will then sign them off as “approved” before they are distributed by the secretary.

Well written minutes are critical to the effective functioning of organizations over time. Good minutes can be used as checklists for what has been achieved to-date in an organization, as well as action lists of what tasks have to be completed going forward. Making sure that your organization produces well written and meaningful meeting minutes will be an important element of its success.

 

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How To Overcome Writer’s Block

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One of the most serious problems that many of us face on an almost daily basis is the one that arises from having to deal with the dreaded writer’s block when faced with a deadline. Writer’s block is definitely not a pleasant experience. Especially, when the due date for one’s business report or project paper is getting closer by the day! I know what that knot in the gut feels like, every time the boss asks you “how’s that project going?” on those occasions when you don’t manage to avoid him/her as you try to slink unnoticed down the hallway.

Writer’s block is fear-based

For various reasons, many of us have an incredible fear of committing ourselves in writing whenever we are faced with a blank page or computer screen. In reality, this is actually an irrational feeling that keeps us from putting pen to paper. We secretly wonder just what exactly is going to come out of this keyboard/pen, and when it does, will we be revealing that we are some kind of incompetent idiot who doesn’t know what they’re talking about?

The good news is that writer’s block can definitely be beaten!

That’s right! I have learned through trial and error over the years that writer’s block can be easily overcome if we do the proper preparation and follow a few simple guidelines.

Below are my personal hard-earned practical tips for overcoming writer’s block:

Don’t Write It Too Soon
Before trying to write, it is important to prepare mentally for a few hours or days (depending on the size of the task and your deadline) by mulling the writing project over in the back of your mind. Once you’ve done the necessary reading, research, and thinking, your sub-conscious mind needs time to process all of that. Let it sit and have your subconscious mind work on it (Just as athletes don’t like to peak too soon, writers shouldn’t write too soon either!).

Preparation Is Important
Prior to writing, read over whatever background material you have so that it is fresh in your mind. I always do a final review of all material gathered, carefully marking the important points with a yellow hi-liter. With this material fresh in your mind, you will find that the writing process flows better once you get started, due to less need to refer to your background.

Develop A Simple Outline
Before sitting down to actually start writing, compile a simple point-form list of all of the key points you want to cover, and then organize them in the order in which you are going to cover them. (I know, I know… your Grade 6 teacher told you the same thing… but it actually does work!).

Keep Research Documents Handy
Once you finally sit down to write, make sure that all of your key background materials are spread out close at hand. This will allow you to quickly refer to them without interrupting the writing flow once you get on a roll. I keep as many of the source documents as possible wide open, and within direct eyesight, for quick and easy access and reference whenever I’m writing something.

Just Start Writing
Yes, that’s exactly what you should do. Once you have prepared mentally and done your homework as discussed in the previous steps, you will be ready to write — even if your writer’s block is saying no. Just start writing any old thing that comes to mind. Go with the natural flow. In no time at all, you will get into a rhythm, and the words will just keep on flowing.

Don’t Worry About Editing the First Draft
Once the words start to flow don’t be concerned about making it perfect the first time around. Remember, it’s your first draft. You will be able to revise it later. The critical thing at the outset is to get those thoughts written down as your mind dictates them to you.

Use an Example or Template
Get an actual sample of the type of document that you need to write. It could be something that you wrote previously, or it could be something from an old working file, or a clipping from a magazine article, or a sales brochure you picked up; as long as it is the same type of document that you are writing. Whatever it is, just post it up in your line-of-sight while you are working. You’ll be amazed at how it helps the words and ideas flow. This example will serve as a sort of visual model for you.

In my experience this last point is the ultimate secret for overcoming writer’s block.

I continue to use this last technique on a daily basis. In fact, I rarely start writing anything anymore from a blank page or screen. I always manage to find an example from somewhere and work from that. Once you’ve used this method for a while you will be able to easily get templates from writing projects that you have done previously.

 

 

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Don’t Forget To Write Goodbye

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I recommend you write a goodbye letter whenever you are leaving one organization to take a position elsewhere. It is a professional gesture to make; one that I believe is worth the extra few minutes that it takes, even though you are leaving and might not expect ever to be back. It is the kind of action that will make you stand out in people’s minds as a sincere person and colleague.

Just the fact that thousands of people from all over the world search out this particular type of sample letter each week, tells me that a lot of folks are looking for ways to leave a positive and lasting impression when they move on in the business world.

Here are a few points to keep in mind when composing a work-related goodbye or farewell letter.

Keep It Short
Two or three short paragraphs will do. Never exceed one page for such a letter.

Make It Sincere
Use simple, sincere and upbeat language. Keep it real — don’t forget that the people who receive it know you; so make sure whatever you say rings genuine and true.

Take the High Road
Even if you were unhappy in your position and are pleased to be leaving, make sure you don’t say anything that would burn your bridges. You never know when you might end up working with some of the recipients again in the future. Nothing good will come out of a negative farewell letter.

Don’t Include Details
I suggest that you do not provide the details about where you will be moving in your letter. Simply offer to give your contact coordinates if anyone wants to stay in touch. Your letter should be focused on the place and people you are leaving. So, don’t give too much information about your destination, except to those who request it from you directly. (That way, you’ll also find out who your friends really are!)

In my opinion, an appropriately sincere goodbye or farewell letter is definitely the most professional way to leave an organization, and is well worth the time and trouble. (As usual, I always recommend a real letter, but if that’s not possible a well-worded e-mail can also work).