Usually, the late spring-summer months are busy writing periods for evaluators to complete and submit reports to the clients/funders. For some, writing comes naturally from practice and/or experience but for others, it can be a rather daunting task. Some of us are not native English speakers and most of us, honestly, have not been trained on how to write a technical report well. That’s generally not a part of the curriculum.
The other day, I watched the movie, “Finding Forrester,” (for the 3rd time) where the protagonist, William Forrester, a reclusive author played by (late) Sir Sean Connery, who shares his wisdom about writing with his protégé, Jamal Wallace, played by Robert Brown. Forrester says, “No thinking – that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is to write, not to think!”
This quote stuck with me because it emphasizes the importance of letting your ideas flow freely when you first sit down to write – especially if you feel stuck on how you should begin writing. You have so much data! Are the data telling a story?
It’s essential to allow your thought process to take over and not overthink the writing process. Once you have an outline and your initial draft, you can then refine it using logic and structure to create a polished final product. This tends to apply to writing a technical evaluation report that is expected to be structured (read, dry, and to the point) that essentially speaks to the client/funder, the goals and, objectives of the initiative, and provides actionable and meaningful recommendations. Most of the time, linear.
This thinking-writing process seems to align with the rather “popular” advice of “write drunk, edit sober,” attributed to Ernest Hemingway, which emphasizes the importance of allowing your creativity to flow freely in the first draft and then refining it later. (Although, I really hesitate to advise evaluators to follow this path while writing a technical report. Please write sober, folks!) 😀
Happy writing, fellow evaluators!
PC: Markus Winkler/Unsplash