Anne Janzer Guest Series: The Business Writing Process

Anne Janzer Guest Series: The Business Writing Process
In this series, I’ll share four key steps you can take to improve your personal writing process: 1) four questions before writing; 2) priming and incubating; 3) breaking the writing process into stages; 4) asking for actionable feedback. Anyone that commits to these steps should experience incremental improvements—the writing will be easier, and readers (and reviewers) will respond to it better.
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Part Four: How to Get Useful Feedback

You have carefully crafted your report, blog post, or project proposal, and now it’s time to get other people’s feedback.

Asking for feedback is never easy. Ideally, everyone will rave about how brilliant you are and maybe contribute one or two gems that make the work even better.

Realistically, you know you will receive feedback you don’t want to deal with. But you also know that it should improve the result. And perhaps your workplace requires review cycles or external approvals.

So you steel yourself and send the work out for review or approval, and wait for those responses.

And wait.

[Cue the sound of crickets.]

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Part Three: Divide and Conquer the Writing

You need to write an important report or blog post. It’s a task like any other, right? You set aside a block of time and swear not to leave the desk until it’s done.

If you have high standards for your work, you may not be pleased with what you write. Being diligent, you keep going, perhaps banging your head against a metaphorical wall or flashing back to late night papers in college. It takes longer than you hoped to get to a decent draft and the process isn’t fun.

Does this sound familiar?

It gets worse. Because the experience was unpleasant, the next time you have a writing project, you put it off. (Who is eager to do something unpleasant?) Now you’re up against a deadline, perhaps working in the evening or weekend.

Thinking of writing as a single task puts too much pressure on the work and kicks off a vicious cycle that makes you avoid your writing projects. Break that cycle!

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Part Two: Schedule Incubation Time for Your Ideas

An idea for a new project comes to you when you’re in the shower. Or you’re on the way home from work when you think of the perfect words to convince your executive team to fund your initiative.

Breakthrough insights and inspired ideas often appear when we’re far from our desks.

That’s no accident. It’s an artifact of the way that our brains work. In this post, we’ll look at how you can set up your brain to generate insights when you’re doing other things. (It’s like crowdsourcing within your own head. More on that below.)

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Part One: Four Questions to Ask Before You Write

Successful professional writing starts with clear thinking.

In the rush of deadlines and projects, it’s tempting to jump right in and knock something out. Faster is better, right? Instead, take a moment to set a course before you write.

This post offers a simple, four-question checklist to complete for every work-related project, whether a social media post, a legal brief, or an email to a client. Make it part of your writing process and you’ll find it makes the whole process faster, easier, and more successful.

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Our Story

WordRake founder Gary Kinder has taught over 1,000 writing programs for AMLAW 100 firms, Fortune 500 companies, and government agencies. He’s also a New York Times bestselling author. As a writing expert and coach, Gary was inspired to create WordRake when he noticed a pattern in writing errors that he thought he could address with technology.

In 2012, Gary and his team of engineers created WordRake editing software to help writers produce clear, concise, and effective prose. It runs in Microsoft Word and Outlook, and its suggested changes appear in the familiar track-changes style. It saves time and gives confidence. Writing and editing has never been easier.