A sample of a letter sent by readers to The New Straits Times.

WRITING a letter for publication is possibly the most useful way of sharing what we know and feel about issues that affect our community, nation and world.

We reach a much wider audience with messages on development of people and society as well as touch many through what we share. 

There’s a magical thing that happens when you put pen to paper, or more likely, tap away on your iPad.

It means you have been thinking about something that captures your imagination, or which is of concern to you. 

It reflects the values and passions that drive you, the lessons you have learned in work, family and life. You express what you perceive as strengths, the best qualities we aspire to possess and want to see in others. You convey your eagerness to help improve people and situations.

It is important that what you write is always genuine and honest, never disparaging or to score points, show off or merely to condemn someone or something, but to help make it better in some way.

These are the definitions of what you believe, what you are willing to share, what you bring to the table and to the world. Those who read, often take to heart, look for more and are frequently themselves  motivated to write. And those who write, read. So you create or reinforce a virtuous learning cycle that can lead to action for the greater good. 

Be a “voice” in your community, not simply to see your name in print but to be an agent of change.

And, give voice to those who aren’t often heard by telling readers why they should care. Don’t simply describe a situation; it is your opinion about how to improve matters. Make your call to action something concrete and realistic. 

When you write, to make an impact, keep it brief and to the point. Make your letter topical, compelling to engage readers on a timely issue. Focus your message on one point, even if there are many issues you want to address. Clarify the context.

You will have more success if your letter is focused and easy to understand. Explain how those you want to reach will be affected.

And, lend credibility to your letter by noting your experiences that prompted you to write on a particular issue. 

For me, writing began at the age of six in school with motivation and mentoring by parents and teachers. Later, I was privileged to have what I wrote published, over nearly seven decades now, in dailies like this prestigous newspaper and other periodicals and magazines, both local and international. More importantly, I have and continue to learn a great deal by reading what others write.

Do continue to share your thoughts in writing. It is, indeed, a satisfying and rewarding experience. It will only make you want to write more and better.

 

REUBEN DUDLEY, Petaling Jaya, Selangor

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