Writing induces panic.
When Thoreau wrote that most men lead lives of quiet desperation, he was probably inspired by some poor guy in the next cabin, ordered to write a proposal and sweating it. Or maybe he was watching the boss, wading through reams of dense, jumbled writing and trying, against the odds, to keep himself both awake and sane at the same time.
Either way, watching people struggle with writing in the workplace has never been a pretty sight. That’s why students often approach business writing as a kind of complex, esoteric art. They memorize numerous templates and forms: for memos, proposals, reports, audits, the friendly business letter, the formal business letter, the marketing letter, the . . . you get the point.
But the truth about business writing is the truth about most writing: there’s one process, and if you learn it, the rest will fall into place. Absorb the process, and you can apply it to the world of memos, reports and audits – even emails.