Writing is a reflection of who you are – and what you stand for.
Whether you write for work or pleasure, what you write will form people’s impression of you.
Don’t rely on grammar or writing software. Grammatical rules are important, but there’s a huge difference between writing that’s technically correct and writing that will move people. That’s why great writing is often ranked poorly by automated writing software: good writers know how to bend grammatical rules to create the effect they need.
Writing Elementals is all about teaching the rules of writing and then showing how to bend them. It’s about making sure you don’t write like everyone else – or like a piece of software – but rather the best person you can be.
So embrace writing as a craft. Master it. Improve the way you communicate and think. It will be a gift that will give for the rest of your life.
Short answer: I’m a former Sydney Morning Herald editor and journalist, marketing and communications consultant, journalism lecturer, novelist and editorial trainer.
Long answer: I always loved reading and writing – but it was only during my first full-time journalism job back in 1995 (ok, so maybe I’m a little older than the out-dated photo on this page indicates!) that I became passionate about the craft of writing.
Until then I just assumed writing was about personality and talent – and with the cockiness of youth, I also assumed I had both. Yet when my editor taught me about active and passive voice, something clicked within me. All of a sudden I realised there were skills and techniques to be learned, and that writing was a craft to be mastered – and enjoyed.
Since then I edited several magazines before working for The Sydney Morning Herald for over a decade, where I ended up editing and writing for almost every section at one time or another, covering almost every topic from business, IT and health to travel and entertainment.
Although I often had jobs that sounded exciting– such as being the travel editor, or interviewing celebrities or breaking news stories – for me, anything that you write can and should be interesting.
For example, if someone’s reading a brief right before a meeting, then they need to immediately be able to find and read what they need to know. In other words, just like a news story, you need to find what’s most interesting and important to that person and put it right up the top – just as you would with a news story.
When I left journalism and found myself in the business world, I quickly realised that regardless of whether I was writing briefs, tenders, website copy, email newsletters, board papers or annual reports, the principles of good writing still apply.
Don’t get me wrong – every kind of writing has its own challenges. Fiction writers need to wrestle with plot; financial writers wrestle with compliance.
However, as someone who has read and written it all, what I can promise is that the more you master the craft of the writing, the easier it is to adapt – and to make what you write compelling, both to yourself and to the reader.