10 writing tips on how to not be boring

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Business writers are boring. It’s tedious to read their email, Web sites, and white papers. Standing out from this grey background just takes a little color, and it will boost, not harm, your professional reputation. Boring text is not only dull to read, it’s dreary to write. Your readers are seeking information, but you’ve still got a responsibility … Continued

10 top writing tips and the psychology behind them

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There are plenty of folks happy to tell you how to write better, just as any doctor will tell you to “eat right and exercise.” But changing your writing (or eating) habits only happens when you understand why you do what you do. I can help you with that. That proposal or email you wrote must now compete for … Continued

7 collaboration tools and tips that make book writing go smoothly

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Collaborating on a book is hard. Deadlines make it harder. The key is to develop a disciplined process and stick with it. To help you get to the end without tears, I’ll share some battle-tested collaboration tools and tips that will keep you focused on content excellence, not process glitches. (You’ll see where the bear … Continued

Lessons from a failure: Ghost writing pitch

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When I pitch myself for a freelance writing or editing job, I almost always win. Why? Because I am selective about the gigs I pursue, have sterling qualifications, and typically come recommended by someone the potential client trusts. But I just lost out on a job — a big one that I really wanted. I … Continued

Never say “shared” and other tips for quoting people

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If you write articles, blog posts, or books, you’re going to quote people. I recommend the tried and true “said.” Avoid other dialogue verbs, especially “shared.” “Shared” makes you sound like a total novice Does this impress you? When I interviewed her on Zoom, she was very excited about the new idea. “We expect this … Continued

Why fiction writing advice is worthless to nonfiction writers

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There are a million suckers hoping to publish their fictional stories. As a result, there’s lots of advice from people hoping to help — or prey on — these suckers. If you write nonfiction, this sort of advice is just noise. Why you should ignore advice for “writers” If you tell someone you are a … Continued

The value of Bill Birchard’s eight S’s for strong business writing

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In the Harvard Business Review, writing coach Bill Birchard describes how the brain responds to business writing and recommends ways to write better. His analysis generates some fascinating insights, but one key point is missing: business writing works only if if causes the reader to act. It’s worth your time to read Bill Birchard’s “The … Continued

From writing workshops to cultural change — the importance of follow-through

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I’ve conducted 18 clear writing workshops in the past two years — mostly by videoconference. It’s clear to me that the participants are engaged and want to change. But do the workshops actually accomplish anything lasting? They can . . . but only if you customize the content and maximize the follow-through. I think this … Continued