Reading Between The Lines – Undirected Effort

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We sometimes start of with no idea of what we are about to write in the hope that as we start to put something down an idea will spring to mind.  This could be described as undirected effort.

I think that doing this type of “off the hoof”, writing is both difficult and tiring.  It relies on you having to very much rely on your word-smithing and if you are not that good or have not had too much experience at “on the spot” regurgitation, it can leave you literally lost for words.

If you have difficulty putting down your thoughts on any subject, I firmly believe that we should go back to school and try to educate ourselves in our writing.  We need to study literature, language, composition, comprehension, spelling, syntax, punctuation, grammar and writing.

How many of us have actually had our emails, or letters thrown back at us before they are allowed to go out to the big world?  Very few I suspect.  I have though, and it was a most valuable lesson.

How many of us have received inappropriate emails that contain wording or expression that you thought you would never see?  What about getting messages that contain basic spelling mistakes or letters that have gross undertones?  I would never have been allowed to sent out such poor unchecked messages to anyone and would have been reprimanded if I had.

There is an art to delivering your message in whatever form you send it out in.  This needs to be learned and practiced before it is received by the outside world.  Your structure needs to be thought about.  The content needs to be set, comprehension focused on, paragraphs detailed, spelling checked, grammar impeccable, punctuation perfect and it should be readable.  Don’t just think that what is written is right, because it will not be, and do not think that it will be accepted, because it will not be.


14 thoughts on “Reading Between The Lines – Undirected Effort

  1. That’s a brave thing to say. Nowadays we rely so much on short messages, that sometimes we forgot about this problem. We’re constantly in a hurry, not carrying about the content, trusting we will be forgiven and understood. Personally, I tolerate it to some extend. However, I agree, there are some forms like business e-mails, blog posts and everything else, that we send out to the world, where the content and form means something, that we should take extra care of.

    All the best

    1. Hi Dario. Good to see that you spotted the deliberate message I tried to get across. Part of the training module I am on is about social sites and I had to attempt to “engage” by raising the awareness of a topic, so I chose a post to highlight the importance of getting the content from a “watch how you write”, point of view. I have had too many poorly written emails and letters in the past.


  2. Hi David,

    I absolutely agree..!

    One of the problems is that there is less and less reading of books, and more and more reading on hand-held devices, where everything is written in some form of shorthand.

    I love reading a good book by a good author – it’s both a pleasure and an education to see how a good writer uses the language!



    1. Hi Martin. Thanks for your comments. I have had so many poor emails, which I save as poor examples. I tend to get criticized for complaining but poor grammar is something I do not accept.

  3. Greetings! I agree that people should focus more on how they conduct themselves when in a professional setting. However a text is a text, and if its to a personal friend or relative i’m not really as focused on being grammatically correct. When I go outside of that realm I do focus more on how I conduct myself. Like we all should. I agree. You have some good points. People now a days don’t think about how they are perceived. I like your post

  4. Hi, David,

    Thank you for this post, it remained me to be even more careful about how and what I write.

    The English language is not native to me so sometimes, I have to double-check almost any word… I know that people who don’t know me personally, will “judge” me by the number of mistakes I make in the text messages.

    Luckily, there are great editing tools that help a lot, I personally use Grammarly and it literally saves me a ton of time.

    What about you, David? Do you use any of these in your everyday writing?

    Best Wishes,

  5. I actually love “free” writing. I.e. not having too strict of a subject. I’m mostly writing reviews these days which gives a clear plan of action but gets really tiring really quickly. It’s basically doing research and regurgitating rephrased and only adding original opinions here and there. I actually get into a flow kind of state when I write about something that truly interests me. So I write that kind of posts every now and then to keep it interesting. The problem is that you have to keep the business side of things in mind. Not everyone enjoys and above all is looking for my ramblings if they are not about some interesting subject.

  6. It’s good to know that some people still care about how they write. I am by no means perfect, and sometimes even when I re-read my writing I can still miss something. I do try though and unfortunately I see many people that don’t even try. This is a great reminder.

  7. I completely agree, for a task that typically takes 30 seconds, proofreading can be an invaluable step, particularly when dealing with sensitive subjects.

    It can also look so unprofessional when you read grammar errors/typos in articles/emails etc. – (I hope I haven’t left any).

    1. Hi Sharon. I am keen to make sure that the readers do not see any spelling errors although I don’t use a spellchecker, I just read through a couple of times to make sure. There are no mistakes on your site blogs. By the way are all your shortcuts just linked to the main passages?

  8. Hello David,

    I think now with voice to text for the written word, sometimes it is difficult on small devices to go back and correct all the mistakes. It depends on the medium now for me in terms of what and how immovable I am in regards to writing. Still when you hit the publish key, one would hope that the necessary and obligatory proofreading was done. Apart from this, as a former teacher, I have very little patience to read things that are either a) boring to read or b) not well thought through or proofed, and c) the words are just words to fill space. Nothing is more aggravating to a teacher than to waste time reading a paper that doesn’t even rate on any rubric. Thanks for your willingness to write about raising the bar.

    1. Thank you for taking the time to read and supply feedback on this article. You are obviously aware of the importance of getting the look and feel right and I think it is more important now to be able to influence others. If we cannot influence others in business terms then we won’t have a business for long.

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