Define your purpose

Your document must have a clearly defined purpose. In other words, what do you want your readers to do when they have read your document?

Analyse your intended readers

Your document must meet reader information needs. So before you write a single word, focus on your readers. How do you connect with your readers and show them what is in your document for them?

Outline your content

Select your topics, organise selected topics into categories, and sequence the categories.

Write your first draft

Show your readers what’s in your document for them. Your best (perhaps only) chance to do this is in the first paragraph. Wherever possible, write in the active voice. If you use passive voice, have good reason for doing so.

Revise your first draft

Writing a document is only part of the job. It will produce only a rough draft. To produce a well-written document, you must revise it and revise it with your readers firmly in mind. When revising, read not as a writer but as a reader.

Proofread your revised document

Proofreading must follow revision. Careless errors in your documents will irritate your readers (and your superiors), make them question your competence and cause them to form a negative view of your organisation. Take time to proofread your documents, and your readers will be able to concentrate on your message and your ideas, undistracted by mistakes.