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Warm up before you write

Top performers warm up before they perform. This goes for writers as well as athletes and singers.

John Steinbeck wrote with pencils on yellow pads. He started the day sharpening his pencils and writing letters. I’m sure the letters mattered to him and their addressees but this was how he warmed-up for his real writing.

I’ve told this to countless students when discussing my expectations of their essays.

I tell them because I know many of them will approach their essay in a totally different way. They will open a blank Word document, type their chosen essay’s title and begin writing. What they write at first is their reasons for choosing the essay topic and/or the context of the essay. Eventually they get to the point (well, to be honest, some of them never get to the point!)

The reason I tell my students the story is to encourage them that, almost certainly, they can delete their opening paragraphs and end up with a better essay.

I’m telling you this for the same reason. Next time you write a long narrative (a report or a client letter or email, say) re-read it before you send it. Chances are you can delete your opening and improve it.

Your audience will thank you for getting to the point sooner.

Gary Bandy Limited is a company registered in Cardiff, number 5660437.

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