How to Improve Your Proofreading Skills (For Business or Technical Documents)

In this tutorial, we look at how to proofread an academic, business, or technical document. Before Proofreading First, finish all writing, unless you plan to iteratively proof the document over a series of drafts. In other words, write, then proof, then write again. I find this works for smaller documents, but when you’re looking at […]

How to Manage a Large Writing Project

One of the difficulties in starting a large writing project is knowing where to start. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Which document should you start first? How long will it take to write each guide, brochure, or form? And then there are side issues, such as style guides, naming conventions, and other writing tasks. Where […]

How To Write Public Service Announcements (For Non-native English Speakers)

When’s the last time you used the word ‘alight’? If you use the bus or train in Dublin, Ireland, you might hear or see: ‘Take care when alighting the bus.’ Yes. today’s culprit is the word alighting. Alighting means dismount. What they should say is something like, ‘Be careful when getting off.’ or even Mind […]

1 Minute Writing Tip: Active v Passive Voice

Know when to use the active and passive voice in your business or technical documents? Maybe? Let’s look at voice for a minute. What does it mean to write in the active voice? Is the passive voice as *bad* as people say it is? Obviously not. The voice tells us whether the subject of the […]

Content Repurposing for Beginners

What is content repurposing? Content repurposing is creating modular content that you can modify into different formats. For example, one hub article could create several spokes articles if repurposed correctly. But it is not copy and pasting or spinning articles to create low-quality articles. If done right, it allows you write many interrelated articles very quickly. It […]

How many words a minute can you type?

My friend PM wants to go into freelance writing. I think it can work for him. He’s determined, has a nice writing style, and knows how to hustle for work. But typing is a problem. It’s that simple. He pecks and pecks at the keyboard. Last weekend, his house he showed me some gizmos, ‘hacks’, […]

How to write first thing in the morning

My wee brain is very slow to start in the mornings. Typing is not easy. Neither is thinking. Video – Daily Writing Routine Warm Up Writing Exercises So, how do you start to write first thing in the morning. Here’s a few ways: Decide on a specific target, say 100 words. Identify the topic the […]

How to start writing your first executive summary

Feeling stuck? Can’t start your executive summary? Clock is tick, tick, ticking? They say you should write your executive summary AFTER you’ve written the entire document. I’m not sure about this. Why? If you do, there’s the risk that you’ll run out of time, get flustered, and rush through it — just to get something […]

Are you making these two proof-reading mistakes?

Proof-reading. A bit like flossing your teeth, isn’t it? You know it’s good for you, you know you should do it, but you still don’t want to do it. Why is proofreading so hard? I think it’s the approach we take. For example, if you leave the proof-reading to the very end, you’ll probably be […]

How to create a practical document review checklist

One of the problems of reviewing a document online is that you need a common set of guidelines. In theory a style guide should do this but I often find that people tend to avoid them. They’re too much work. A more practical approach is to create a checklist of the most important things they […]

Should CEOs learn Latin?

Should you learn a dead language? Isn’t there more important things to do? The short answer is Yes. Well, maybe. Actually, No. You really should start learning Latin and here’s why. The Spectator summarising one influential American study carried out in the state of Iowa: “In 1971, more than 4,000 fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade pupils of […]

How to start a career as a white paper writer

Want to get started as a white paper writer? It mightn’t be as hard as you think. If you have good (not necessarily perfect) writing skills, in-depth knowledge of a product, service, or industry, and have the right attitude, then maybe you should consider writing white papers to earn extra income. Due to the recession […]

How to improve the subject line of an email

First, think of the response you want from the reader. Second, put the most important point at the start. Third, highlight one thing only. The problem with most subject lines in emails is that they’re written either: As a placeholder, something to put in while you write the actual email After the email is written […]

Are good business writers made or born?

If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking… made. Why do I say this? Because if you are a ‘born writer’, and have written from a very early age as most do, you’d feel  that most writers are born, not made. You either have it or you don’t. But it this true? I hate to say it […]

Business Requirements: Should you use Shall v Will?

Should you use Shall or Will when writing business requirements? Or something else? For example, some business analyst friends prefer to use Must. Others insist that Shall is the international standard, so we should stick with it. The counter-argument says that’s not good enough. Times have changed. We need to put the reader first. No […]