Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Six Steps to Find Your Voice

In the first part of the four-part series on "Writing Well," I talked about "Finding Your Writing Voice as a Resume Writer." Then I talked about "Strengthening Your Voice." The third installment is on "Technology and Its Impact on Voice." The final piece is "Six Steps to Find Your Voice."

"Writing may be magical, but it's not magic," says nationally-known writing consultant Chip Scanlan.

He outlines a series of steps all writers take:
  • The Idea: Who is this client? What is their job objective?
  • Collect: This is the "reporting" function of the resume writer's job. Read, observe, question, research -- amass information, without judgment.
  • Focus: Make sense of the material. Is anything missing?
  • Order: Organize and prioritize the information you have to make, to make sense of it in relation to the client's job objective, skills, and qualifications.
  • Drafts: Begin to write. Search out examples (accomplishments, case studies, supporting facts).
  • Revisions: Review the writing to ensure everything is relevant to the "the idea."
It may seem like an oxymoron, but "writers need to be more creative and more disciplined at the same time," Scanlan notes. "Writers are looking for permission."

They're often looking for permission to leave out information. That's often the right approach.

"You think you're overcollecting (information), but you're really underthinking," Scanlan says.

"Your job as a writer is to make the reader see," Scanlan says.

Getting better at resume writing is really about three things: practicing, sucking it up, and just asking people to share their lives.

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