One of my business writing students, Sara Stilwell, wrote the review below about the course textbook, Harness the Business Writing Process: E-mail, Letters, Proposals, Reports, Media Releases, Web Content. The book is used by University of Toronto adult education business writing students and is available as a print, epub, Kindle and PDF book.
The review by Sara Stilwell
With looking to overcome my challenges associated with writing and to further enhance my ability to become a more effective writer, I decided to enroll in “The Approach to Business Writing” course through the University of Toronto, as my final credit towards my CCLP designation. I thought this would be a great opportunity for me to finally overcome my writing hurdles, as writing has always been a challenge for me. Writing is such as powerful tool and I was looking for a course that would enable me to harness and unleash my inner writing abilities, in addition to providing a logical writing process in order to become a more effective business writer.
Upon purchasing the required book for the course, Harness the Business Writing Process, by Paul Lima, I decided to dive right in. After all what did I have to lose? From the moment I picked the book up, I was enthusiastic about learning the material, felt extremely engaged, and was pleased to discover the vast majority of topics covered within the book were of an asset to me.
Paul has a brilliant way of captivating the reader’s interests and attention by providing a well written yet simplified process to encourage the reader to become involved every step of the way. I especially enjoyed and gained great value from the exercises Paul incorporated into each chapter, as they allowed me to test and practice my newly acquired skills and knowledge.
Paul’s introduction of the writing process has by far exceeded my expectations of being an easy to follow, logical and exceedingly useful guide that has assisted me in writing clearer, more concise and coherent documents in an appropriate format. It has taught me the main essential elements required in writing, and has assured me that writing is merely one step in the process and the preparation, research, organization and revisions are all equally important in achieving a maximum writing potential.
Who, what, where, when and why have not necessarily been questions that I have thought to address up until now. The W5 writing short cut process Paul demonstrates has proven to be a quick start, fail proof exercise that has taught me to be more aware of the importance of these five questions and allows me to be more concise and efficient when writing emails, reports and other business documents. W5 has also helped me in overcoming the infamous blank screen known to many as writer’s block.
One of my favorite processes by far was the concept of Freefall and Direct Freefall. Prior to reading the book I would allow my inner editor to take over my ability to allow myself to simply write, as I would often get caught up with spelling and grammar, proof reading every phrase along the way causing me to lose sight of my thoughts and ideas. The concept of freefall is an exercise where by allowing you to simply write for a set period of time with no interruptions, no opportunity for editing, no judgements just simply focusing on writing. This exercise has truly allowed myself to take back hold of my inner editor and allowed the writer in me to once again flourish, to have fun, to enjoy writing for writing sake, and to allow my thoughts to flow freely.
The concept of Clustering is also an aspect covered early on in the book, which is essentially the process of word association and brainstorming. Ultimately this exercise has relieved me of the dreaded blank screen as it has allowed me to highlight key words and phrases within my cluster, eliminate any unnecessary points, expand on others and draft up a rough outline. I can now easily determine the scope of my document fine tune it to fit the appropriate audience and content to which I am looking for.
From media releases, to motivation through persuasive writing, to sales letters and executive summaries, this book has achieve it all in an easy to read format that guides the readier into effective business writing in a clear and appropriate format and tone. It easily lays out how best to approach difficult topics such as a negative situation, by having the reader place themselves in the recipients position in order to allow you to convey a more positive tone and not dwell on the negative aspects of the message thus avoiding future confrontations . There are also numerous examples throughout the book which demonstrate how to overcome writer’s block, organize your writing into a logical format for maximum impact and ultimately uncover a logical writing process to which can be leant, mastered and harnessed.
I would highly recommend and encourage individuals in all walks of life, and not just business professionals, to read and explore all this book has to offer. It covers a wide range of topics to which can be put into practice through engaging exercises, enlightening topics and ultimately translates through to a more effective writing style. Paul is such an inspiring, well versed and accomplished writer it is hard not to take advantage of the wealth of knowledge the book has to offer.
This is by far one of the most enlightening and impressive books I have encountered. It opened my eyes up to a logical writing process that makes sense, adds value and has ultimately unleashed my inner ability to make me a more confident and effective business writer. Paul is a true professional who has written this book with great dedication, sincerity and wit, which is conveyed through his style of writing.
One of my business writing students wrote the review above about the course textbook, Harness the Business Writing Process: E-mail, Letters, Proposals, Reports, Media Releases, Web Content. The book is used by University of Toronto adult education business writing students and is available as a print, epub, Kindle and PDF book.