I can’t play an instrument to save my life. I also don’t care to learn. The truth is there are those of us who are musically inclined, and some who are better off enjoying from our seat. But how is it that even people like me can still identify music from noise? Because there is a right way to do it, there is such a thing as good music. 

The same applies to writing. And much like my musical motivation, some people just don’t have an interest in learning how to write well.  Sadly, avoiding writing isn’t as simple as never picking up a musical instrument. Communication is a critical part of our day, whether in person or in prose. So here are a few helpful hints to clean up your writing and start writing-right. 

Simple is Best

You don’t always need to be fancy to get your point across. More often than not, stating things simply will lead to better understanding. 

Avoid Passive Voice

I know I sound like your 10th grade teacher, but she was right. If you can’t tell who the subject of the sentence is, how can you really understand what’s happening? Or worse, you’ll look like you’re hiding something.

Never Sacrifice Clarity for Politeness

This was a hard one for me to learn. Being brief doesn’t have to mean being impolite. We want our readers to truly understand what we’re saying, and sometimes that means speaking in straight facts.  

Save it for Scrabble

Don’t get me wrong, we love prodigious words at Boileau, but that doesn’t mean we should write with them. If you had to look it up to know what it means, it shouldn’t go in your writing. 

They Know Who You Are

At Boileau, We believe more often than not, you don’t need to introduce your company. Readers understand you’re speaking for your company, especially if it’s on your website.

When in doubt, read it backward sentence by sentence to catch errors, always have a buddy review, and run your writing through Hemingway, an online editor system that will help you find places to improve. 

Now please excuse me while I run this through Hemingway. 

About the Author

Leanne Schaeffer

Leanne joined Boileau after directing marketing for a hospitality management company. Through her experience, Leanne developed a rounded knowledge across industries and thoughtful insight into stakeholder perceptions. Identifying creative solutions to tough communications issues, Leanne serves as a valuable partner to our clients and asset to our company. A Grand Valley alumna, Leanne earned her bachelor’s in Advertising and Public Relations. Outside the office, she can be found spending quality time with family, rocking first base in slow pitch softball, or sitting down with a good book in one hand and a glass of wine in the other.

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