Looking for Subjects

People write for lots of reasons. Sometimes it's part of the job. A sales manager is asked to report on a new market, or an executive to discuss the feasibility of moving a plant to another state. A psychology student has to turn in a twenty-page term paper, or a member of an art club must prepare a two-page introduction to an exhibit.

In such cases the subject is given, and the first step is chiefly a matter of research, of finding information. Even the problem of organizing the information is often by following a conventional plan, as with scientific papers or business letters. Which is not to dismiss such writing as easy. Being clear and concise is never easy. (To say nothing of being interesting!) But at least the writing process is structured and to that degree simplified.

At other times we write because we want to express something about ourselves, about what we've experienced or how we feel. Our minds turn inward, and writing is complicated by the double role we play. / am the subject, which somehow the / who writes must express in words. And there is a further complication. In personal writing, words are not simply an expression of the self; they help to create the self. In struggling to say what we are, we become what we say.

Such writing is perhaps the most rewarding kind. But it is also the most challenging and the most frustrating. We are thrown relentlessly upon our own resources. The subject is elusive, and the effect can be a kind of paralysis. And so people say, "I can't think of anything to write about."

That's strange, because life is fascinating. The solution is to open yourself to experience. To look around. To describe what you see and hear. To read. Reading takes you into other minds and enriches your own. A systematic way of enriching your ideas and experiences is to keep a commonplace book and a journal.

Business Correspondence

Business Correspondence

24 chapters on preparing to write the letter and finding the proper viewpoint how to open the letter, present the proposition convincingly, make an effective close how to acquire a forceful style and inject originality how to adapt selling appeal to different prospects and get orders by letter proved principles and practical schemes illustrated by extracts from 217 actual letter.

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