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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Are you a web writer or a blogger?

Do you consider yourself a web writer or a blogger? Is there even any difference? I suspect for most people it means that same thing, but I’m not so sure. I asked a blogger here in Dublin if he saw himself as a writer who blogs, a writer, or a web writer? Or was I […]

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 […]

Why grammar is (probably) not your problem

Know the difference between affect and effect? Or where to use that but not which? Or when to use which but not with a comma before it? I know. MS Word forbids it. But can expect from a bot? Anyway… You could fill several multi-story car parks with people who — or is it that? […]

Em Dash v En Dash

Noreen Malone, senior editor at New York magazine, admits what everyone else thinks about those pesky em-dashes. “The problem with the dash—as you may have noticed!—is that it discourages truly efficient writing. It also—and this might be its worst sin—disrupts the flow of a sentence. Don’t you find it annoying—and you can tell me if […]

[Tutorial] How to outline a business document

You wouldn’t go to Paris without a map, would you? Ok, you might find the Eiffel Tower but could you find your way to Notre Dame? A map would help right? It’s the same in writing. Why do we need an outline? An outline is a map of your document. It help you, as a […]

How to improve your business writing in 15 minutes or less

‘I’d love to be a better business writer but don’t have the time.’ Ever hear yourself saying something like this? We’d all like to be better writers, but… How about if you could sharpen up your writing skills in fifteen minutes a day? Sound like a plan? Here’s how to do it. Getting started: create […]

Is Trying Too Hard Counterproductive?

I finally have my first running injury. I overdid it and now cannot run for a few weeks. And while this is a bummer, I also feel slightly proud that I’ve managed to acquire a running injury, which is surely a sign that I’m trying hard, right? Maybe. Well, not really. The injury occurred because […]

When to use ‘You’ in business documents… and when not to

Proposal writing might be easier if English had the equivalent of ‘usted’ in Spanish. Many languages have a formal and informal way of addressing people that’s not available in English. Maybe in the past, in olde English, ye served this purpose. I’m not sure. If you know, drop me a line. So, is there a […]

How to edit that report when pressed for time

In this tutorial we look at how to edit any document. Before we start: what does it mean to edit a business document? Most people think an edit means: Spellchecking for typos How it looks and feels Grammar (sometimes) Creating a checklist  Instead, create a checklist and review different aspects of the document one by […]