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Introduction - Pg. xiv

xiv Introduction "I'm just not a good writer," you say. "I'll master everyday writing when pigs fly." Hold on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen, because there will be pork in the treetops by the time you finish this book. Mastering the types of writing you need in your daily life isn't as hard as you think. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Well will help you learn the skills you need to write fine essays, letters, e- mail, and reports. You'll also learn how to express yourself in personal narratives, stories, letters of evaluation, recommendations, and journals. Writing can change your life--and the lives of others around you. Writing can ... · · · · · · Help you understand yourself more fully. Achieve the goals you've set for yourself. Enable you to sort the information that's thrown at you every day. Present ideas so other people will take your ideas more seriously. Move you up the ladder of success and prestige. Record your feelings and deepest thoughts in creative ways. Writing can broaden your vistas by enabling you to communicate more effectively with people you may never have even met. Despite the immense possibilities that writing offers, many people convince themselves that they can never learn to write because they think that when writing talent was handed out, they were at the back of the line. Unfortunately, it's all too easy to talk yourself into something that isn't true. It is true that some people write more easily than others because they have been encouraged by their teachers, parents, or peers. It's also true that some people seem to have a greater facility with words than others. But this is most true of all: Writing is a skill that can be learned by anyone who is willing to take the time and trouble. Learning any new skill takes hard work, determination, and time, but this is one investment that's a sure thing. You probably know a great deal more about writing well than you realize. However, you may not know how to use what you know to accomplish the many different kinds of writing you need. You may be discouraged by the sheer variety of writing you must do: letters, e-mail, notes, term papers, and reports. Perhaps you're a bit shaky on grammar, usage, and mechanics--all those commas, semicolons, and dangling modifiers. If so, then this book is for you. The famous American wit Dorothy Parker (1893­1967) once said: Four be the things I am wiser to know: Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe. Four be the things I'd be better without: Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt.