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Thom (photo) teaches a strategy for focusing content

I've spent 20 years studying the trade (professional communication), the style (understanding-focused structure), and the need for clarity (professional writing can be clear).

I am in the business of structuring information because I face challenges in reading and assimilating information. In business, I want a structure that gets me where I want to go, so I can do what I want to do.

I teach structure. I teach people how to craft information to support others. I teach character, action, location, time, detail, and emotion. I teach people how to construct scene.

I advocate Plain Language in writing. As writers we need to spend time understanding what others want to read. Then we can structure the text to help them out.

I believe good writing is visual writing. We have opportunities to chunk text and break paragraphs apart to help readers. We can use desktop and electronic publishing tools to develop visual structures that support readers in getting their jobs done.

Writing matters. Through writing, we have great opportunities to help others.

Some Perspectives on Writing

I always say I work as a teacher, speaker, and consultant so I can avoid the challenge of writing. Like many people, I have stories inside me that want to come out. I grind them out slowly - much more painfully than I would prefer. Obviously, good writing is not always easy.

Good writing enables you to hear the sound of the writer's voice. But good writing is authentic. Good writing supports the reader. I believe in the challenge, the craft, and the opportunities in good writing.

A writing story: the moment of writing

As I write this, the morning sun streams through mini-blinds, casting shadows on my work surface (a worn, mission-style oak table), my laptop (a three-and-a-half-pound Sony VAIO), and me (a bald, mid-sized, middle-aged, German-Scotch blended American with a passion for structuring user-focused information).

As a writer, I have the opportunity to build sentences that are visual (such as the one above) or craft sentences that are purposeful - helping someone get a job done. I have the opportunity to focus on how I wanted to present an image. I chose words that provided you--the reader--the ability to see.

In my example, I used location (you may have envisioned a dining room or work room), character (you may have envisioned someone who has taken quite a few trips around the sun), action (you may have felt "streaming"), time (morning), detail, and maybe emotion.

Writing enables others to envision. Writing enables others to get their jobs done. If we care about others, we can attend to how we craft words, so we can help them out.

Contact me to discuss ways to write with the user in mind.

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Thom Haller | c/o Info.Design, Inc. | 1725 Q Street, NW #201 | Washington DC 20009 | 202.328.THOM