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F-Bomb Your Way Into Better Business Writing

There's a science to working blue.

By Bull Garlington

Writing for business is an awful thing. You don’t have time for it. Everything is on fire. Your inbox looks like a subreddit on stonks. You’re in the weeds all day, every day and you can’t catch a break.

Then some idiot wants a mission statement. Sure. Why not? Stop everything to write about how your firm strives to guide separated couples through the processes of ending their marriages.

Meanwhile, your office turns into a smoke-hole of a Michael Bay movie about fire that is on fire. On fire! Also, now that you’re staring at your blank screen, how in the world do you write a mission statement?

Writing Business Copy Is No Effing Piece of Cake

You think, “This can’t possibly be that hard. I know what we do. We strive to facilitate separated couples through the … good lord, this sounds so textbook.”

That makes sense because this fragment of a mission statement was shamelessly ganked from an article about writing law firm mission statements, and here’s the thing. You’re not a textbook law firm. You’re unique. Also, you’re an IP firm that doesn’t do marriage law. What is wrong with you?

You’re windmilling, trying to get this %$#@! business writing right.

And it doesn’t work like that. You have to do the work. Or hire out. But of course, you’re not going to outsource writing your mission statement because you’ll have to tell the vendor what your mission is anyway. Or drop 20K for an agency to spend three months figuring out what you already %$#ing know.

Listen, there’s an easy %$#*ing way to transfer the knowledge that’s in your head onto a &^%$ blank page: F-Bomb your way into great business writing.

I know it sounds crazy. I know you’re a %$#@ professional who wouldn’t drop an f-bomb in a pool hall, much less in the privacy of your corner office. But listen to me: you should. You should lay your fingers on F and H with all the furious precision of a junior associate writing a letter of resignation. Then let the f-words s-word all over the effing page.

Why? Cursing lights a %$#*ing fire under your creative genius

Science agrees that cursing like a sailor is a sign of creative vitality, not dipsomania. It’s also a highly effective method of handling stress and pain. Keele University of Psychology showed people could handle holding their hands in ice-cold water longer if they could cuss about it. Firing off a fluent flurry of f-bombs correlates to one’s general fluency of thought.

People who say cursing shows a lack of vocabulary or creativity are just effing wrong. It’s the exact opposite. Curse words are powerful. People who pepper their patter with impiety are lending the power of profanity to their prose.

How to use expletives to make your business writing better

STEP 1: It’s not that frakkin’ hard. Open a blank document and go to town. Write your mission statement like it’s 3 a.m. at Boomy’s. Cuss like you smashed your littlest toe into the leg of a barstool. Swear on paper the way you swear in your car when that sanctimonious possum [deleted] two lanes over in the [deleted] Fiat cut you off. Do not hold back. And do not send that document to the printer.

STEP 2: Read your mission statement. Ask yourself, did I use enough swear words? Did I scorch the earth with unprintable expletives like a “Game of Thrones” war dragon? Would I let my mom read this? If the answer is yes, start over. But if your mission statement makes you blush, it’s ready. It should look something like this:

Marley and Quinn ^%$%# Intellectual *&^&% Property is dedicated to protecting the &^%$ inte—&^%ing—llectual assets of its clients using the best mother$#@! technology and best ^%*& practices in the &^$ing industry.

STEP 3: Delete the cursing. Drag your cursor through the statement and delete any word you can’t read out loud in a client meeting. If your statement is long, use find and replace.

Marley and Quinn IP is dedicated to protecting the intellectual assets of its clients using the best technology and best practices in the industry.

STEP 4: Marvel at the glistening diamond of a mission statement you’ve written. It’s clean. Precise. No wasted words. There’s a natural rhythm and an economy of language. Most days you can’t get that without tearing out your forelocks. That’s the power of puerile prose.

STEP 5: Do it again. Cuss more. Get weird. Unleash your inner Samuel L. Jackson.

STEP 6: And now comes the hard part. Look, I’m going to give you this [deleted] advice and you’re going to roll your [deleted] eyes and think this guy’s [deleted] nuts. But this is the most important part: Read it out loud. Sure, turn up the music and close all the blinds and talk into a pillow, whatever the fark works for you. But read this f-bomb-riddled paragraph out loud with the cursing.

STEP 7: Tweak it until it’s fluid. Polish it until your inner Jackson is nodding his head at the sheer fluidity of your flow.

STEP 8: Delete all the cussing. Read it out loud again. Cribbins! That’s a good fnorking mission statement.

Why Does This Make My Business Writing Better?

Look, you’re a good writer. You just don’t believe it. The reason you choke on a blank page is that you’re all up in your head. You’re anxious about all the what-ifs.

What if it sucks?”

What if Senior Partner hates it?”

“Is this the right word? Is it? Oh God, I don’t know if that’s the right word! WHAT WORDS ARE? WHO THEY WRITE STUFF!”

And there you are, glaring at a snow-white page feeling your career drain out through your feet.

Cursing on paper means you are DEFINITELY NOT SHOWING THIS TO ANYONE. You air gap your laptop and shut the door to your office and turn off the light so no one can read your insane text. You’re not worried you’re going to send it in an email because a) you’ve never done that and b) there are like nine steps between writing an f-bomb and dropping it on human resources. You’re fine. Nobody is ever going to see it — which means you’re free. The pressure is off. You can write anything. You can make this about [deleted] unicorns if you want to. Doesn’t [deleted] matter.

Cursing Also Lends Natural Power to Your Business Writing

And power matters. The thing about powerful writing is it doesn’t look powerful. You don’t have to all cap a mission statement to make it pop. There’s an illegible, indelible foundation under powerful writing. This intangible grace comes from experience — and years and years of being terrible at it. That’s why you dislike business writing so much. You don’t do it very often. It doesn’t flow. But you probably cuss all the time. Cussing your way through a letter of introduction or a 120-word bio for the website lends the natural fluency of the blasphemous imprecations you hurl through the windshield of your car every day to the writing you do once a year.

Illustration ©

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BULL Garlington Bull Garlington

Analog Attorney columnist Bull Garlington is an award-winning author, columnist and public speaker. He is the author of the books “Fat in Paris,” “The Full English,” “Death by Children” and “The Beat Cop’s Guide.” He prefers South American literature, classic jazz, Partagas 1945s, a decent Laphroaig, and makes a mean chicken and andouille gumbo. Follow him @bull_garlington.

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