September 2014  
UpWrite Press Writing eTips

One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.

—Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

Word Pair of the Month: conscious, conscience

Both of these words deal with the mind, but they denote different aspects of it.

The word conscience is a noun, and it means “the inner voice that instructs you as to what is right or wrong.”

I couldn’t in good conscience agree to the terms of the contract.
I should have listened to my conscience when it told me not to accept that offer.

The word conscious, on the other hand, is an adjective, and it means “the sense of being awake and aware of one’s surroundings.”

As I gradually became conscious, I had the feeling something was wrong.
Sandi made a conscious effort to improve her grades that semester.

Being conscious of your conscience will help you make ethical decisions.

Writers’ Forum Question

What type of writing software do you find most useful in your business writing? (Note: We have referred to program types only, without including specific software names.)

Nat Tan of Minneapolis provided perhaps the most important note of all—how to save your work.

It’s not exactly writing software, but it ties in. The best investment we made was to hire an online backup service. It was also a lucky, well-timed investment, because two months after signing on, fire destroyed a large part of our office. Thanks to the off-site backup, we were able to reassemble all our files and continue our work with a minimum of client disruption. Worth every penny and more.

Suzanne Delaney of Boston found a program that ties workers together.

We have found that a file-sharing program is crucial to our smooth operation. With the software’s online tools, each employee knows what the rest of the staff is working on, and everyone has a clear vision of the big picture. As with many other programs, the standard version is free, but I recommend anteing up for the premier version. It just offers so much more in the way of extra space and greater versatility. We’ve also discovered that it provides a quick and easy way to have someone else proofread your work. Very efficient!

Max Edelstein of Houston appreciates the basic things.

Our software goals are simple: Improve communication with our customers, manage our business efficiently, and help our employees do their jobs well. For us, the basics are the best—programs for taxes and accounting, for word processing, for spreadsheets, and for email. The word-processing program we have is easy to use, so everyone can write and revise company documents confidently. I’ve been in the business for 35 years, and I remember how time-consuming and frustrating it was to write proposals, white papers, and even letters before computers arrived.

A Final Thought

Consider what writing has in common with conducting business. In business, you need to know your focus (the product or service you provide) and your target (your customers or clients). In writing, too, you need to know your focus (the main point) and your target (the intended audience). In business, it is best to be straightforward and ethical. In writing, too, it is best to present facts honestly. Use a sincere voice in your business and in your writing, and both will benefit.

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