It’s not that you can’t write, you just stop too soon

Lynne Thompson
3 min readSep 21, 2022

Over the years as a creative and technical writer (close to 30!), I have noticed many excuses that people give for not writing well. “I am too wordy,” “I just don’t know how to start,” “I hate writing.”

A lot of people I now work with struggle with English as a second language and I am amazed at how well they do speak and write (I have some training in ESL and have tutored English on and off for many years). English is hard! And not logical.

I find myself correcting small and recognizable mistakes in people’s copy often.

If only people could practice learning these mistakes and how to fix them, their writing would be much better.

A lot of people feel they are too busy to pay attention to writing. But a well-crafted email with plenty of white space and subheadings and a clear “Call to Action” at the end actually will save you time. No one will reply with “So what do you want from us?” “Or what does this mean?”

There are three main myths people seem to have about writing in general:

  1. It is a magical skill that one is born with and some of us will never be good at it.
  2. It’s too hard to edit all the time.
  3. I am an accountant/lawyer/IT professional — Writing doesn’t matter.

Time for some myth busting:

  1. Everyone can write — you may not be a great novelist someday, but writing is a skill and you can improve it. A lot. It’s a lot like math — I used to say “I’m just not good at math,” and throw up my hands. But when I had to do it more for work and with my kids I got better (lo and behold). Practice makes perfect.
  2. Editing is necessary and gets easier as you do it, like anything. I recommend using an app to help you too — like Grammarly (it’s free and super helpful )— this will teach you as you go. You will start to write more clearly as you see the things that get corrected. You can get better.
  3. Writing clearly is super important if you want to be viewed well, be productive, and get the results you want from programs and people. Clear, concise, focused writing gets results.

Most people have the beginnings of a good piece of writing when they start, they just stop too soon. Take a moment and edit what you write. Editing is cultural — it will be different depending on your setting and audience (think of the…

--

--

Lynne Thompson

I always wrote (first poem at 6 years old). Tech writer by trade. I have a podcast The Storied Human: see my linktree — https://linktr.ee/StoriedHuman