Pursue a Clear Goal

pursue-your-goalsWe seldom communicate without an explicit purpose, whether our intention is to inform, persuade, or comment, but when we write, we often neglect to define this purpose clearly. Sometimes we bury it in the middle of our text; sometimes we dance around it; sometimes we stray so far that we fail to make our point at all. To avoid these pitfalls, it may be helpful to equate the act of writing with your favorite sport, the object of which is to score a goal, run, or point. Like athletes, writers must focus single-mindedly on the ball – on achieving their chosen goal – if they wish to be successful.



Before you begin to write, define your goal in the form of a single phrase or sentence and jot this mantra down, together with the chief supporting facts or arguments that will help you realize your objective.

Articulate your goal at the outset, rather than opening with a preamble that is long on context and short on purpose. If you find this difficult, consider beginning with a straightforward “I write to request, advise, express, etc.”

Simplify your goal and its supporting facts or arguments, though not at the expense of completeness, by anticipating your readers’ fundamental questions: “What exactly do you want, and what exactly do I need to know in order to respond effectively?”

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