I was editing a huge document for a blue chip company when the idea of The Sentence Works occurred to me.
It might have been something to do with the fact I’d spent the morning rewriting several extremely long and complicated sentences. Maybe it was because I’d inserted around half a dozen apostrophes in the correct place in the last hour alone. Or perhaps it was down to the fact that I had come across at least three uses of the dreaded comma splice since 9am.
The words that implanted themselves into my brain and refused to go away were these. “Wouldn’t it be better if I had gone and trained them in writing skills at the beginning, rather than picking up the pieces afterwards?”
And so The Sentence Works was born (although of course we weren’t known as The Sentence Works back then).
The thinking behind The Sentence Works is simple. Many people who are brilliant at their jobs and experts in their fields struggle with the everyday writing skills they need for work.
Now I know that you need to write in short, clear sentences because I trained as a journalist 25 years ago and have written just about every day since. I understand how to use an apostrophe because my first editor would have thrown his typewriter at me if I didn’t (yes, I have been around a long time). And I know what a comma splice is and how to avoid it because of the amount of time I have spent editing other people’s copy over the years.
But if your business is something other than writing – if you sell houses for a living, manage a shop, run a charity or own a small business for example - you might well find writing far from easy. There’s no shame in that at all. You might have gone to school at a time when grammar was off the curriculum, or maybe it was so long ago you’ve forgotten it all.
But if – when - you need to email customers, or bid for business, or write a blog, or tweet or just about anything else, that can be a problem. Good, clear, succinct, accurate, error-free writing is quicker to write and quicker to read. It avoids confusion and ambiguity and will make your company look professional.
Fill your website and tweets with complicated sentences, jargon and spelling mistakes, however, and potential clients might not bother to read on. All you have to impress them with at this stage are words. If those words are sloppy, vague or confusing, what does that say about your company?
I’ve been put off using companies who write badly. When I was looking for a web designer, for instance, I found one company who had great designs but appalling use of English. If they couldn’t be bothered to use their spellcheck, or make sure their sentences actually made sense, I decided their attention to detail wouldn’t be up to much either. They didn’t get my business.
So that is where we come in. In a single day we can pass on the essential tips that will significantly improve your writing. And these are thing that you will remember and be able to apply to everything you write. Spend a day with us and we’ll improve your writing for good.