Here’s a brilliant list by David Ogilvy on writing.
A memo drafted by David Ogilvy for the management to circulate as they saw fit:
Septermber 7, 1982
How To Write
The better you write, the higher you will go in Ogilvy & Mather.
People who think well, write well.
Good writing is not a natural gift.
You have to learn to write well.
Here are 10 hints.
- Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing.* Read it three times.
- Write the way you talk. Naturally.
- Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
- Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.
- Never write more than two pages on any subject.
- Check your quotations.
- Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning-and then edit it.
- If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.
- Before you send your letter or memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.
- If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.
*Writing That Works, Harper & Row, 1981