I keep a cartoon from an old New Yorker magazine pinned on the wall near where my laptop is usually parked. It depicts a guy pecking away at a typewriter while a large group of imagined reviewers around him heap praises on his work: “a brilliant achievement!” “writing at its most illuminating,” “true vision… plain speech” are among the accolades he hears them say.

It’s funny because every writer longs for affirmation. But I also keep it there to remind me that good writing is the difference between an engaging story or one that inspires a yawn. It’s the difference between your message being easily understood or one that is ambiguous or even misunderstood. It’s the difference that causes people to take action or click somewhere else. Without a doubt, the quality of your image or brand is directly reflected in the quality of your verbal and written communication.

So what is good writing? Regardless of style, at its most basic good writing conveys a message or story clearly, with clean grammar, correct spelling. A well- written message or story doesn’t stray from its intent and always remembers its audience. Yet good writing need not be showy. In fact, the best writing is somewhat transparent. Like a house, it’s not necessarily noticed it when it’s clean and in good repair, but a mess always calls itself out.

Like any skill or creative endeavor, good writing takes practice and patience. And while everyone can become a good or better writer, some people certainly have more of a natural knack for it. I knew as a child how much I loved writing, yet I recall our oldest child reduced to a full-blown meltdown when faced with a writing homework assignment as a 4th grader. But plenty of bright and successful grownups avoid the task, whether it’s a presentation, an article, a blog, or even an important email or letter.

Are you confident about your writing? Does your business have a message, story or important communication that needs to be shared in print, on the web or via some other platform? Perhaps you are an individual who would like to write a memoir or a family story. Good writing makes a difference. With writing, editing and coaching services, let Intown Communications empower you to get your best word out. — Fran Putney, Principal – Intown Communications

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