Memo Writing Tips

As Professional Writers, knowing how to write memos is a must. Whether it’s to a professor, client, or employer, this memo-writing checklist can help you structure your document.

1.) The entire memo should have a rather large header indicating that the document is a memo. It should also be single spaced, 1-inch margins, pages numbered, and double-spaced between each section.

2.) Begin with a ‘To’ section containing the name of the receiver. For informal memos, the receiver’s given name; e.g. “To: Andy” is enough. For more formal memos, use the receiver’s full name. If the receiver is in another department, use the full name and the department name.

3.) A ‘From’ section containing the name of the sender. For informal memos, the sender’s other name; e.g. ‘From: Bill’ is enough. For more formal memos, use the sender’s full name. If the receiver is in another department, use the full name and the department name. It is usually not necessary to use Mr., Mrs., Miss or Ms unless the memo is very formal.

4.) A ‘Date’ section.

5.) A subject heading that summarizes what your memo addresses, like an email subject heading.

6.) The message. The chunk of the memo should contain the following sections: Intro, Body, and Conclusion. The first section should include an introduction to the subject addressed in the memo as well as a list of the section headings of the following body sections. Each body paragraph should have a summarizing section heading. The conclusion should analyze and summarize the memo.

For more memo writing tips, check out this article at Communications at Work or make an appointment with the Writing Center at http://writing.msu.edu/.

National Novel Writing Month

National Writing Month

Hey, all you creative writers. Guess what? November is National Novel Writing Month. How cool is that? Here is a website filled to the brim with great writing knowledge and tips to kick off the season and wallop that writer’s block right out of your brain. It walks you from the beginning of novel writing process to the very end, from prologue to epilogue if you will. This site includes a travel writing kit, outline templates, grammar tricks, how to write with a quill, creative writing prompts, story maps, problem and solution outlines, editing tips, and so much more.

Get your writing on @ http://zodiacimmortal.hubpages.com/hub/creative-writing-101-2

How Important Is Structure, Really?

IMG_4390

Writers are provided with countless resources and references to help us with our endeavors. This article reveals the daily routines of famous writers, which are meant to show us how we could be shaping our own days. Apps exist to help increase our productivity, such as some that will block the Internet when writing so you won’t be distracted by your Twitter feed, or by your cousin’s latest Facebook update of her kids. While some writers attest to the benefits of applications and following regimens in order to boost productivity and efficiency, others aren’t so sure of the apps’ creatives benefits.

This article from the New York Times dives into the world of writing apps and strict schedules, and discusses whether or not they hinder the creative process. One writer, Casey N. Cep, doesn’t think following a consistent routine does much. She says:

“It is not only the routine of any of these artists that made them successful. Not many of them even follow the routines they offer. Their creative lives are all more complicated, more disordered than the bullet points or time stamps they detail in one-off interviews. And even if they devotedly followed their own procedures, then it would be still odd to reduce the mysterious beauty of their work to these obvious patterns of waking and sleeping and typing.”

Additionally, novelist Marie Myung-Ok Lee advocates for the Internet’s Fuel for Creatives says that, “the constant stream of information keeps ideas new and fresh.”

Personally, I have an Internet blocking app on my computer. I try and adhere to some sort of schedule, although I typically fail to do so. I find that a certain amount of routine is critical, but flexibility is the most important part of the creative process and have to agree with the aforementioned writers. What do you think?

 

Cover Letter Writing Tips

Photo credit: Business 2 Community

To all you PWers applying for jobs, you know how difficult cover letters can be. For all of you who have yet to embark on the cover letter writing journey, take note.

Here are some handy cover letter writing tips straight from the magnificent Danielle Devoss.

First, NEVER, ever ever ever EVER address the letter “Dear Sir or Madam.” People, it’s not 1972. Not only is this crazy old-fashioned, gender-focused salutations are typically not appropriate.

Second, NEVER ever ever address the letter “To Whom it May Concern.” This is another dated and dead convention. What does “it” refer to??? Who says “To Whom?”

Instead, if you can figure out who you are writing to, address them directly: “Dear Jane Doe:” or “John Smith:”

If you can’t find that information or its not available, it’s perfectly appropriate to include a salutation appropriate to the job and where you’re applying, like: “Dear Human Resources Coordinator:” or “Dear Internship Director:” or “Dear Communications Manager:”

Besides these nifty tips, here is a handy 6-minute video overview that covers smart moves to make in writing cover letters, including some great, helpful examples.

Now get out there and start that cover letter! Remember though. If you want help working on your cover letter or just want to run it by someone else to before you send it out into the real world, to schedule an appointment with the Writing Center at http://writing.msu.edu/.