In 1982, the original “Mad Man” David Ogilvy sent a memo to all his advertising agency staff declaring that “woolly people write woolly memos, letters and speeches” and “good writing is not a natural gift”. So there’s hope for us all, eh? He laid down some pointers that are just as useful to writers as to ad men, notably, to “write the way you talk. Naturally” and “to use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs and never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification,attitudinally, judgmentally.” He deemed them hallmarks of a pretentious ass. And he reminds us all of that age-old pearl of wisdom, “never send something on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning — and then edit it.” Maybe just as useful for anything we write, whether it’s our burning bestseller or a note to our Mum.
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