• We're a fun, friendly, and diverse group of planners, placemakers, students, and other folks who found their people here. Create your FREE Cyburbia ID, and join us today! Use your email address, or register through your Reddit, Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Microsoft account.

Writing well

Sandy Coyman

Member
Messages
7
Points
0
I'm tired of dreary reports full of cliches, jargon and general drivel. Seeking sources on effective writing. Going to APA conference, wondering if a discussion group may be appropriate. I think the profession should take a more active role.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
17,245
Points
51
You might want to hunt down a book called "Plain English For Lawyers" by Richard Wydick. Although it's written with attorneys in mind, as a planner I've found the book very useful. Pretty much, it tries to sell concise, plain English to lawyers -- that a statement that is made with three or four words is just as enforceable as one using 20. Every planner who is drafting a zoning code should
 

mike gurnee

Cyburbian
Messages
3,066
Points
30
Colleges are matriculating people who cannot write a descriptive, concise paragraph. It is not merely a planning problem. We have books and PAS reports on better communications skills. I am not sure that enough people care anymore.

I require writing samples when recruiting employees, and often have a written exercise as part of the testing. Many positions that I have sought do the same. Communication is that critical.

Good luck.
 

Sandy Coyman

Member
Messages
7
Points
0
Dan--thanks for the tip. Will check it out.Mike--Have started the writing sample as part of the hiring process. Its amazing, but disheartening what you get.
 

Sandy Coyman

Member
Messages
7
Points
0
List of words to be banned from writing with substitutes:Regards to--about. Said/subject--just delete. Aforementioned--stated above. You get the idea. Others?
 

Michael Frank

Member
Messages
5
Points
0
Sandy: You are 100% correct. This is a real shortcoming of the profession. I read a public opinion survey related to the status and quality of planning and a number of the negative comments were related to the obtuse and pretentious jargon planners often use. On my list of things to do, a really long list, is to write an article "Say want you mean and mean what you say". Mike Frank
 

Ken

Member
Messages
11
Points
1
If it's any consolation, lousy writing and grammar have become the defining hallmarks of the American professional. I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard "access" and "impact" used as verbs.
 

prana

Cyburbian
Messages
565
Points
17
Ken- Your point is absolutely true, with the clarifier that "impact" is being used as a verb inappopriately, because per Webster's, it IS defined as a "verb: to pack firmly together." I don't mean to correct you, but you made me question myself and I had to look it up!
 

Ian Welsh

Member
Messages
2
Points
0
When I tutored students in writing I had one main suggestion: read it out loud. If it sounds awkward, clumsy or longwinded, rewrite and read out loud again. If you find you can't judge your own writing, read it to a bright friend without a background in your discipline.
 
Top