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Crafting the perfect writing in three easy steps

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Oh, hi! It's me! Where have I been, you ask? Surviving the four month sleep regression/growth spurt, that's where. Open mouth, insert caffeine has been my mantra for days now, but I think the light at the end of the tunnel is coming! Henry has learned SO much during this Wonder Weeks Leap, it's unreal. He's doing something new every single day, and it's SO cool to watch! 

But, that's not why I'm here today. Today I'm here to talk to you about the art of the written word. 

Writing has always come easily for me. I know I'm lucky on this account, because that's definitely not the case for everyone! And boy, have I been writing a LOT lately. 

Let's back up to about a year and a half ago. We had multiple bridal showers, and I wrote multiple thank you notes. Then we got married. More amazing gifts, more thank you notes. Then the school year started (I teach upper level high school English), and I was asked to write a lot of wonderful students their college recommendation letters. Then we started having baby showers. More thank yous. Then I wrote a bunch of scholarship letters for students. Then we had a baby and more thank yous were written. And in the past several weeks, I've been spending time writing graduation congratulations cards. 

Phew. That's a whole lotta writing right there. But I've gained some tips and tricks over the years that will hopefully help you today, so alas, I pass them on to you! 

1. Make it clear why you're writing. 
This probably seems obvious, but over and over I've seen people never mention why they're writing. A simple, "Thank you so much for the awesome thingymabob you sent me," or "It is with great pleasure that I recommend Jane Doe for admission to Best College Ever," goes a long way. Keep it simple. But start there!

2. Be genuine. 
It doesn't matter what you're writing, if it's fake, people can tell. This tip comes in most handy for writing recommendation letters. I've never said anything about a student I didn't mean. Does that mean it was sometimes mildly difficult to find a way to say Little Timmy talks a lot in class and hasn't turned in an assignment on time all year? Yes. So I would focus on other, positive things. I never wanted to write a lie. Same goes for thank you notes. So, you're  not sure you're going to use that under water basket weaving kit Aunt Sally got you? Tell her how thoughtful it was and how much you appreciate her thinking of you. Done and done. 

3. Make it personal with anecdotes. 
This is always my favorite part of letter/note/recommendation writing. Think about something that stands out to you -- a story of something a student did in class, the countless ways you've already used the gift you were given, the reason you know a person is going to be a successful graduate/parent/all around person, and write it down! It doesn't have to be an epic, life changing story to make an impact. Simply stating how a person stepped up in class with the only dissenting opinion or saying how thrilled you were that you got to see s0-and-so at the party makes your writing stand out. 

I hope these tips help with your next written communication! 

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