How do you create great infographics? (Ask Dr. Wobs)

To create effective infographics, you need to have something to say, and then you need to tell the story graphically. Today’s Ask Dr. Wobs answer explains how to do that. Dear Dr. Wobs I’m inspired by your infographics that illustrate how to write without bullshit. I’d like to create some of my own for my audience. How do … Continued

Fresh metaphors

Picking metaphors and similes is like picking vegetables — the fresh ones have the most flavor. A good metaphor isn’t as old and hackneyed as the presidential horse race, nor is it as bewildering as a new version of Windows on the first day. Learn from the masters of metaphor, like Matt Taibbi. Metaphors should be clever, but not … Continued

How to work on an idea: write a treatment

It’s on the tip of your brain. An idea. You think you’re onto something. You’ve figured something out that nobody else realizes. What should you do next? Write an idea treatment. I’ll explain how. I hear from people who say they have ideas all the time. They say stuff like this: “I think I want to … Continued

The reviewers’ memo that will save your sanity

Managing reviews of your drafts is a pervasive problem. At my talk to PR professionals this weekend, only one person out of an audience of 150 said her review process worked well. Today, I’ll describe a key element of a disciplined process for soliciting, collecting, and combining reviews: the memo you send to reviewers asking for feedback. The reviewers’ memo: an … Continued

Your guide to the five levels of editing (infographic)

In my experience, a big challenge for writers is the inappropriate edit. You know, the guy who corrects spelling errors in your outline, or wants to rearrange the whole thing during the proofreading stage. In fact, only 32% of business writers say that their process for collecting and combining feedback works well. I’ve written before … Continued

A garden of poisonous weasel words

My post about the New York Times’ response to Donald Trump raised a few questions about weasel words. So today, I’ll clarify the different types and why you’re better off avoiding as many as you can. My clearest take on weasel words is here. Here’s the definition: A weasel word is an adjective, adverb, noun, or … Continued

Taming your writing process in three stages (infographic)

The typical business writing process is a disaster. I’ve seen it; I’ve lived it; I’ve picked up the pieces afterwards. And bad process creates bad results. For better quality with less angst, you need the discipline to work in three distinct stages. The 3 P’s will mess you up This advice is for writing projects that take a … Continued

Editor, writing coach, sensei

The editor’s job is to fix pieces of writing. The writing coach explains how to write better. But writers who wish to be better need more. They need a sensei who will teach them writing through observation and editing. Only through writing and correction can you truly improve. Let’s look at what editors and coaches do, and what I … Continued