U.S. Energy Information Administration

Getting Serious About Good Writing—EIA’s Write Right Curriculum

Let’s see–you want to improve the skills of your agency’s writers. Here’s a to-do list: Enlist a high-level champion, ideally your agency head, to make statements saying writing skills are critical—check. Create a Writing Style Guide—check. Hold classes to introduce the Style Guide—check. Expand internal editing resources—check. But what’s next? If you really want to move to the next level, try what the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) did in 2015—create a comprehensive writing curriculum, tailored to your agency, with customized classes for a broad range of staff and managers.

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Roadmap for Creating a Writing Style Guide: One Step at a Time

So, you’re tired of seeing little (or big!) errors on your agency’s website, and you flinch at the random writing styles. You feel like your agency’s content is good, but there are still too many inconsistencies. What you need is an agency Writing Style Guide. A good guide can set styles that improve your agency’s communication and credibility. How do you create a Writing Style Guide? What goes in it?

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Technical Writing Need Not Be Abstruse—Use Plain Language for Maximum Impact

Author writes: Additionally, the method utilized a myriad of factors for the purpose of incentivizing production to hit record-high levels of magnitude in the equivalent time period. Author thinks: My work sounds serious, impressive and interesting. Reader thinks: Huh? Technical writers are great—some of my favorite colleagues are technical writers. But technical writers often need help communicating their important thoughts in plain language. As an editor of technical, statistical reports, I see authors making a number of mistakes in approach, execution and English.

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