10 Ways to Revive Your Business Writing

Who says business writing has to be boring? OK, probably lots of people do. But anyway, there are lots of easy ways to liven up your memo and report writing which will increase the chances that someone, somewhere will actually read it all the way through. Here’s ten of ’em. Write conversationally. You do it […]

Write to connect, not impress

I’ve spent the past few weeks diving into the principles of Plain English, a movement more than three decades old to promote simple, straightforward writing in government, military and business documents. Not surprisingly, the principles are quite simple — be clear, be brief and avoid technical jargon. The author of Plain English at Work put […]

In Defense of Passive Voice in Writing

The much-maligned passive voice in writing is a cardinal sin amongst those serious about the art form as well as those championing clear writing. But passive voice is more of a necessary evil than something that must be banished at all costs. Passive voice demonstrates its usefulness nearly every day in business writing. Need to […]

How to Get Your News Out There

News releases are a great way to promote your organization, your event, your book or your product. But writing it is only half the work. The second half is distribution. In the old days, we used to create media mailing lists and actually snail mail or fax releases to reporters, and then put the release […]

RIP Book Publishing

The big book publishing houses have set the rules since 1947, according to Dan Poynter, but those days are over. Poynter is a self-publishing guru who has been his own writer, editor, publisher, distributer and marketer since 1969, and what is most impressive about him is the way he has kept up with market trends […]

Book Review: “Skippy Dies” by Paul Murray

Remember being 14? If you need a comic refresher on the drama, pressure, self-doubt, bullying, fear and hormones, “Skippy Dies” is a great place to start. Irish author Paul Murray writes beautifully, humorously and sympathetically about the inner lives of 14-year-old boys and girls residing in a posh Dublin boarding school. He weaves us in […]

Get past write fright to the first draft

Write fright, or fear of the blank page, is hard to overcome. The white page on the computer screen seems naked, and my attempts at sentence fragments, much less paragraphs, offer it as much cover as a fig leaf. Maybe I should use a larger font. Try double spacing.   More experienced writers offer abundant […]

Funny Writing Has Attitude that Binds

Like a stand-up comedian, a writer who wants to make a reader laugh out loud uses attitude combined with observation.  Usually, this means departing from the norms of polite conversation or objective writing, and incorporating feelings, opinions and (mis)perceptions to grab the reader’s attention. Observation provides the topic; attitude makes compelling writing. Judy Carter, author […]

Writing Humorously

Humor is a funny thing. It is easy to make some people laugh — employees, mothers, bartenders, the guy at the coffee shop — but being funny to strangers is an art form. I recently attended a workshop by author and comedy instructor Judy Carter on how to write funny.    Let me stop here […]