Ever been in the middle of writing something and hear that little voice in the back of your mind say, “Who really cares?” And you suddenly feel like all the words you’ve typed are full of sound and fury, signifying nothing? And then you realize they are only sound without decent fury? I’ve had it happen while writing this blog. In some instances, I just quit. In others, I went ahead and just finished what I had started. (I’ll leave it up to you to try and figure out which posts are the ones where I said “Well, I’m even boring myself, but I really need to get something out there.”)
But there are many instances where I know I’ve got what I think is a good idea. And I know I’m not doing that idea justice by just “typing through.” I redo part of it, or I redo a lot of it, or, more times than I want to think about, I start all over. Sometimes twice, sometimes three times, sometimes more times (don’t ask how many). But, when it gets done right (at least, right in my mind), it makes all the difference in the world (at least, in my mind).
And so it goes with anything we write for business. I think about the number of times I was just throwing something out there because everyone expected something to be thrown out there, and I realize the resulting final report/memo/email/communication was probably of next to no use to anyone
And, if I am just writing to write because someone’s expectation (often mine) is for there to be something written, then do I need to write it at all? Do we need to write a report for every audit? Do we need a position/white paper on every concept? Do we need to send all those emails? Do we need another memo?
And that’s the question you have to ask yourself. Does something need to be written at all? If not – then don’t bother. Don’t waste your time, don’t waste the reader’s time, don’t waste everyone’s time.
However, if it does need to be written, step back, take a breath, and then do the work the justice it deserves. You know, it may be just another effective audit report on the handling of petty cash. But, if it is important enough to be written, it is important enough to be written well.