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Creating a Firm Writing and Style Guide

July 16, 2012

Writing is an extremely subjective topic. Occasionally I work with a client that says, “But I prefer it this way…” It is precisely for this reason we deliver our content in its native format. We like options, flexibility, and choice—and we know you do too. No matter what style you employ, there are four basic elements of good writing:  be clear, be concise be consistent, and be correct.

The purpose of a writing and style guide is to help you be consistent. Defining and documenting your chosen writing style is important not only for your own reference, but especially when working in a group situation. As a team, you want to avoid having a “Matt’s style” and a “Susan’s style,” and instead have a single firm-style by which all materials are written.

A style guide is always a work in progress. With every application, new terminology and types of objects arise that will need to be documented. In addition, grammar rules will need clarification to ensure consistency. Because this is a lot of information to document, we recommend you adopt one of the many style guides currently available on the market. Recently, Traveling Coaches adopted the following style guides:

The Chicago Manual of Style 16th Edition for grammar

The Microsoft Manual of Style 4th Edition for technical writing

Occasionally, there is a usage conflict between the two aforementioned guides or we simply prefer a different style. It is these differences that we then document in our CLASS™ Writing and Style Guide.

Creating a writing and style guide may seem like an overwhelming task at first, but it pays off ten-fold down the road in helping you to deliver more professional materials.

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