Asking for Information - Improving Writing 

Writing is a means to 1) discover your ideas, then 2) express them in a way your reader(s) will understand.

To improve your writing skills, we suggest that you consider five things:

1. Who are you? (the Writer)

    Understand yourself and your role in the writing situation.
    What position are you writing from? (expert or inquirer, seeker or sharer of information)
    Are you writing as yourself or representing someone else (a company, for example)?

2. Why are you writing? (your Purpose)

    What do you wish to accomplish with your writing?
    What are you communication goals?
    Are you getting or giving information, or both?
    What do you want the reader to understand or do?

3. What is your message? (your Content)

    What ideas do you wish to share?
    Find out what they are (by brainstorming)
    Focus in one or two main ideas and recognize the sub-ideas that support them.

4. Whom are you writing to? (the Reader)

    Who will read what you write?
    What is your relationship to them?
    How will you establish a connection with them?
    What is their position?

5. How will you write? (your Method and Language)

    What language will you use (structure and vocabulary) to express your ideas?
    What format is best (short note, list of points, e-mail, formal letter, researched paper, etc.)
    What standards will you use to insure that your message is clear and respectful to your audience?

See also: The Writing Process

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