A Unique Way To Practice Writing

Many people outside of the business think that all writers do is write novels. The most often asked question I get is “So, what book are you writing now?” Well, I also write short stories, essays, and a few poems that are probably so bad they’re labeled by editors as humorous. But there’s one other thing many writers are very good at: writing letters. And that’s what we should do to keep our minds and writing skills sharp.

Here’s one instance where it came in very handy:

My son’s laptop got a white screen of death. Nope, not the blue screen nor “fatal error” message. Nothing but glaring, in-your-face, white. I tried everything I knew to get it going. Even tried reformatting. His laptop is now in the recycling bin.

So son and I went to our local Best Buy store to purchase a new one. We already knew what he was getting: basic, but not skin-and-bones basic. We knew the price range. Let’s put it this way: we were armed with info and ready to purchase and leave within a half-hour of scanning the store.

When we found the perfect laptop, we searched for a salesperson, finally flagging one down while I stood on top of my son’s shoulders. That took about ten minutes. And the store was empty of customers. I braced myself when we told him what we wanted to buy. The salesperson took a deep breath and the litany began:

“We have a great two-year–”

“No, thanks.”

“You might want–”

“No, thanks.”

“There’s a wonderful–”

“Please, nothing else! Just the laptop.” I followed this with a smile.

He didn’t return the smile. He glared and said, “I guess you don’t want me to finish my sentences.”

“You’re right. I don’t.” Heck, in my book, rude begets rude. Though I still smiled!

When I told the manager about this salesperson, guess what: They were good buddies and he had every right to give me the spiel and act that way toward me.

This is where I put my writing to work. I follow up good service and bad service with an email and/or snail mail letter to the customer service department and the president of the company.

Rule One: Always begin the letter with a positive. “I like the quality of your products.” “I like the design of your logo.” (Only kidding on that one. 🙂 )

Rule Two: Then get to the heart of the matter. No excessive ranting if it’s negative, nor effusiveness if it’s positive.

Rule Three: End with a “thank you in advance.”

Rule Four: Keep it short and to the point.

Nine times out of ten I get a personalized response. And I feel so much better! And my writing gets better with every email and letter I send.

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8 responses to “A Unique Way To Practice Writing

  1. hi..im just starting to have fun writing. ive been reading a lot of books lately. And just recently, i have this urge to start writing a short story but i can’t seem to get my thoughts gathered. i do have the idea but i stumble mostly on the words to use and the technique…i didn’t have any training in writing whatsoever so im still trying to have a feel of how it is…i just need a few pointers i guess..and if you don’t mind could you please leave a message or comment after visiting my blogspot website..written there a few of my latest pieces…thanks!

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  2. Ha! Found your posts. 😉

    I’m not good about this sort of thing, though it has worked for me in the past. We’d gone to McDonald’s and ordered. As they placed my girls’ Happy Meals on the tray in front of us, tempting my daughters, I was told their card machines were down and I’d have to pay cash – of which I had none. Did they tell me before I ordered? Nope. Given the extenuating circumstance, did they take my local check? Nope. They shrugged their shoulders as if it was my fault and send us packing. We had to leave the Happy Meals behind. I was unhappy as unhappy can be and — oh! come to think of it, I called instead of writing *grins* — contacted the owner. She apologized for the ordeal and sent us coupons for two free Happy Meals. 😀

    Great advice, though, this letter writing. It works!

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  3. Good for you in handling this by writing a letter. I did that once, when a store manager gave me the third degree on being friendly with an employee she thought I was flirting with. (Not professional, in my opinion.) The company wrote back in a long, personalized letter and the manager was fired. It’s always good to be able to put that writing ability to special use for situations like this. I’m glad you got a new laptop.

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  4. Yep, I’m vertically challenged and very thankful my sons are much taller. 🙂

    Son #2 kills his laptops. Not with viruses or malware, etc., but with the way he handles them. Not a pretty sight. So he got an HP with 2 Gig memory, 250 hard drive, AMD Athalon (sp?). Cheap but good. Will last him two years max. If he’s lucky.

    What gets me is that the manager stuck up for the salesperson. Hadn’t he heard that the economy isn’t good and customers are a good thing? Geez!

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  5. *chuckle*

    Love the bit about flagging the salesperson down while standing on your son’s shoulders. Isn’t it funny, that when you want to buy something there’s never a salesperson around, and when you just want to browse all the salespeople in the store rush over and pull out all their spiels?

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  6. They have a set spiel they are supposed to use, but he should have realized by your first reply that you weren’t looking for anything extra. What kind of laptop did you end up getting, BTW?

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