Unless they are closely related, do not cover two
subjects in one letter.
Next, write a rough draft. At this point, dont
worry too much about spelling, punctuation, or
other aspects of a finished style. Concentrate on
getting all the necessary information in writing.
Express your ideas as clearly and effectively as
possible. If you cant immediately think of the
right word to use, put down the best one you can
think of. Then mark the spot and come back to
it later to see if you can find another word that
expresses your idea more clearly.
As you become more experienced, you will
develop your own writing style. As a beginner,
you should concentrate on simply getting your
thoughts into writing.
REVIEWING THE DRAFT. -If possible,
allow a little time to elapse after finishing the
rough draft before going over it again. If time
permits, put the it aside for a while and work on
something else. When you resume work on the
draft, you will be more objective and see ways
of improving it.
When you first reread the draft, go through
it from start to finish; stop only to make brief
notes about how the text can be improved. Read
the rough draft with a critical eye to determine
if what you have written is correct, clear, and
stated as effectively as possible. Then go through
the draft again, referring to your notes and
rewriting as needed.
Ensure the accuracy of any information, such
as numbers and dates, cited from the references
listed at the beginning of your letter. Correct any
inaccuracies. Be sure you mention references
shown in the heading of the letter in chronological
order within the text at least once. Do not cover
two subjects in one letter unless they are very
closely related. That practice can result in
administrative confusion when replies are
Often material does not fit smoothly with what
comes next. To correct that problem, first check
the organization of your ideas. Be sure your ideas
follow a logical order. If your organization is
good, then you may need to use transitional words
or expressions to show the relation between one
thought and the next. For example, you could use
the transitional word however to show contrast
between one idea and another. You might use the
phrases to begin with or in conclusion to show
a sequence of ideas.
If you think a passage may be unclear to the
reader, have someone else read it. Should that
person have difficulty in understanding it, make
changes, even if you must take out your favorite
sentence. That happens occasionally even to the
best of writers. Be glad you found those areas and
had the opportunity to clarify them.
Review the draft for useless words. Take out
words you dont need and words that add nothing
to the meaning of your sentence. Change long
words to shorter ones and take out intensives
(extremely, undoubtedly, very much). Take out
overworked introductory phrases (it is to be noted,
it is a well-known fact that, in accordance with,
we call your attention to the fact that). Sometimes
you may need one of these phrases; however, if
you dont need it, you should delete it.
While reviewing the rough draft, look for
words used repeatedly; replace them wit h different
words having the same meaning. Likewise, omit
repetition of ideas. Although you may sometimes
repeat words and ideas for emphasis, most repeti-
tion results from carelessness. Unless you have
repeated words or ideas deliberately and for a
purpose, either change or delete them.
While reviewing the draft, keep in mind the
preferred style of the person who will sign the
correspondence. Most people who sign corre-
spondence have certain words and phrases they
prefer and certain ones they do not allow.
Learning those words and phrases as quickly as
possible will eliminate the inconvenience of having
to add or delete them each time.
ACCEPTING CRITICISM. -Once you have
completed the smooth draft, you will probably
feel a certain pride in your accomplishment.
However, dont let yourself become fond of the
way you have expressed something. If the draft
must go through several reviewers before it is
signed, you should accept the fact that changes
will be made. The minute you permit yourself to
become fond of your writing, you become
reluctant to change, which can mean trouble in
two ways. First, most writing can be improved;
therefore, instead of allowing criticism to hurt
your feelings, use it to improve your writing.
Second, someone else will sign most Navy
correspondence; so dont feel distressed if the
signer insists on changing the wording before
signing. After all, the signer assumes responsibility
for the content of the correspondence.
If your wording is misunderstood or your
reasoning is overlooked, bring it to the signers
attention. In such cases, you would be justified
in defending what you have written. However, if
the signer still doesnt accept your changes, you