Slow down and breathe

Two minutes of running as a beginner and I was gasping for air. How did people run for a mile? I couldn’t make it around the block. I asked my fast-footed sister for advice. “You’ve got to slow your breathing down,” she said. I had no idea how to do that, but on my next […]

Book Review: Worm

Worm: The First Digital World War by Mark Bowden My rating: 4 of 5 stars So, can Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, make TCP/IP and the domain name system exciting? The answer is yes and no. The 2008 Conficker worm infected millions of computers to create a “botnet” […]

Clear Writing Inspires Clear Thinking

Writing about complex ideas sometimes brings out the big vocabulary words and abstract expressions. This seems like the right approach — complex ideas should be explained and expounded upon with complex words, right? Wrong. If reader understanding and retention are our goals, then we want to make our document clear and easy to read, even […]

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 […]