What’s the worst piece of writing advice you’ve ever got?

Mine was to write every day. I blame Hemingway. At first glance, writing every day makes sense. You get more words in, hit your targets faster, and move on to the next task. It feels productive. You’re getting somewhere. Somewhere… But is it any good? Scientific American reports that, ‘Research on naps, meditation, nature walks […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Bertrand Russell: 3 Simple Writing Rules

Bertrand Russell, especially in his book, Why I Write, offers great advice on how to move from wordy, verbose, lengthy, purple prose to shorter text without losing any meaning. Here’s the three step formula he provides: Never use a long word if a short word will do. If you want to make a statement with […]

How to Describe Difficult Technical Concepts

Rule #1! You can’t describe what you don’t understand. We agree? You can try and fudge it, but the people reviewing the document will see through it. I will. You would. Maybe you can try and cheat by cobbling together material that others have written, but it doesn’t work. Anyway, that’s not writing. It’s just […]

[Tutorial] How to Write a Preface for Technical Documents

Does a document need a preface? Not always. Short documents are fine without one. However, longer documents, especially those that have changed over releases will benefit from a preface. From one angle, the purpose of the preface is to set the stage. For technical documents, it introduces features, options, and enhancements. It also provides readers with […]

White Papers: 9 Persuasive Writing Techniques

Here’s a question. When you’re read something and you find yourself leaning in, pen in hand, ready to make notes. What is it that makes the reading matter so interesting? For me, it happens when I’ve found the answer I’ve been looking for. It’s actually that simple. Had a problem Found an answer. What’s so […]

12 ways to make your child a better writer

Wish your kids had a passion for writing? Most parents worry about their children falling behind. Maths, writing and science are the three that come up in our house. Like most nervous, first-time parents we tried hard – maybe, too hard – to get our son to read and write. And like most kids he […]

11 Must-Haves For Your Social Media Policy

Social media policies create a dilemma for HR. Should it be part of the Employee Handbook or created as a standalone document? As someone who writes social media policies for a living, I’m inclined to recommend the latter. Cross-reference it from the Employee Handbook, so it’s easier to manage as a separate document. Of course, […]

How To Make 127k Writing White Papers

If you’ve got good writing skills and have in-depth subject matter expertise, you should be able to generate additional income by writing white papers. I started writing them by accident when the in-house white paper writer fell ill and someone had to write it. Looking back, it wasn’t the greatest document I’ve written but the […]

Mac v PC for writing?

Every writer’s dilemma. Should I use a Mac (silver, cool, sassy) or a PC (grey, practical, and mother of Clippy)? Let’s pretend we’re rationale human beings for a minute. Someone asks if they should stick with the PC they already have or become one of the beautiful people by buying a Mac. Yes, it’s actually […]