NCO Primary Leadership Subjects
The Craft of Writing
The Army writer's primary purpose is to inform or explain something to the reader.
The expository style of writing supports this aim. It is the style most often used for
writing business, educational, and military writing. This is not to say that a paper
may not include one or more of the other styles. For example, the narrative and
argumentative styles could be used to illustrate a point and to argue the pros and
cons of a set of solutions to a problem.
Army writers serve in a number of capacities. They write regulations for Army
The writer's job
agencies, training literature in service schools, or routine correspondence in any
office in the Army. Their job is to capture the readers' attention, convince them,
and motivate them.
The Army writer must not only know the subject of his or her paper, but must also
deal with the mechanics-of writing. These include applying the rules of grammar,
and paragraph development are a part of the writer's environment. In addition, the
Army writer must be familiar with and use terms that the intended reader will
understand while avoiding the use of meaningless jargon.
Your goal as a writer is to hold the reader's attention by writing clearly and
interestingly. When you achieve this goal, you will have mastered the writer's
craft. As an effective Army writer, your readers will understand what you are
saying and will be energized to take action based on your recommendations.
Learning the writing craft demands a great deal of patience and fortitude. You
must attempt to develop your vocabulary, writing style, and skillful use of the
language. Above all, you must develop a thick skin and not be sensitive to
criticism or corrections by an editor, your co-workers, or (especially) your boss.
You can only learn from the comments and suggestions of each of these
individuals. Absorb what they tell you, put their suggestions into your bag of
tricks, and keep on writing.