Simplify your business writing with the madman, architect, carpenter and judge…

They say it takes a while to get into your stride as a blogger and that your mission in the blogosphere gradually evolves. The more I blog, the more I believe I can use blogging to share my skills and insights as a Cheltenham copywriter with you.

Maybe  you’ re thinking of hiring a freelance copywriter or perhaps you could use a few professional tips for your own business writing. If so, I hope that I can help. And here’s a great one to be getting on with…

I was listening to a Harvard Business Review Ideacast podcast the other day when I heard writer Bryan Garner talking about the idea of the madman, the architect, the carpenter and the judge when you’re doing a piece of writing. It’s a cracker, and simple as all the best ideas should be.

The four personas represent four different stages to go through when you are writing anything. You might be putting together a report or an email, or drafting a page of website copy. In each case, you adopt the four personas in sequence.

The madman

Just get down your ideas. Don’t edit or critique them. Just throw them down on the page as you think of them. Like a madman (or woman!).

The architect

Next, adopt the persona of the architect. Add some structure to your ideas, form them into paragraphs. You are creating the master plan for your writing, bringing order to the mad person’s brainstorm, setting out your main points… By now you have an outline for your piece.

The carpenter

Then, just as skilled craftsmen and women come onto site and add detail and finish to the building structure, it’s time to be the carpenter. Following the architectural specification, you develop your ideas more completely – but still briskly, because the judge still has to play a vital role…

The judge

Adopting the persona of the judge, you go back over the work, look at it objectively and critically and edit. This is where you ask yourself whether you could write something better. You polish and craft until your piece is complete.

I told you this was a simple, easily remembered idea. The person we have to thank for this bit of inspired writing wisdom is Professor Betty Sue Flowers of the University of Texas.  If you want to explore her work on what Bryan Garner calls the Flowers paradigm, there’s more information online.

Alternatively, just remember the madman, the architect, the carpenter and the judge next time you have to write something and see what a difference they make.

And if you don’t have the time, the specialist skills or the inclination to do a piece of business writing such as SEO website content, brochure copywriting or a client case study? I’m always here to help organisations like yours in Gloucestershire, surrounding counties and elsewhere in the UK.

is an experienced Gloucestershire based copywriter specialising in Marketing, Web/SEO, technical and PR copywriting.

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