How you can achieve Ikigai, fulfillment

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There’s a graphic making the rounds; I first saw it posted by Jeremiah Owyang. It’s about the “Japanese concept” of Ikigai, or “a reason for being.”   This graphic attracts us because the circles — what you’re good at, what you love, what the world needs, and what you can make money at — are … Continued

10 ways to make your corporate description (boilerplate) less dreadful

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It’s there. At the bottom of your press releases, on the “Who we are” section of your website, at the end of your whitepapers. It’s the “boilerplate” description of your company. And it’s terrible. You’ve got 50 to 60 words to tell the world who you are, but if you’re like most companies, what you’re … Continued

How to write about a trend

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Trends are great topics for writing, because they’re always changing; people are eager for advice on what to do about them. But to write persuasively about a trend, you need to know what stage it’s in. So let’s go over strategies for writing about trends. I’ll start with the Gartner Hype Cycle, which is a … Continued

In defense of ruthless editing

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I edit smart people. And I don’t pull punches. If your writing has a problem, I’m going to tell you about it. One of my writer clients recently posted some of my editorial comments on Facebook, so everyone could see how, ahem, “direct” I was. He called me “ruthlessly encouraging.” This guy is writing a … Continued

Why your document is a terrible mess

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Here’s what went wrong. You started with a good idea. Then you showed it to someone. She told you it needed something more. So you added it. You sent it out for review. Your reviewers all suggested adding and changing things. They’re important and powerful people, so you did. The technical people insisted you include … Continued

Four steps that enable you to write in flow

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I remember editing people at my last job. I would give them the charge on what to do, and then check back two days later. “How much did you write?” I would ask. “One paragraph,” they’d say. You will never achieve flow that way! Flow is effortless writing. You know how it feels. You sit … Continued

When to break my writing rules

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My most popular post ever included ten writing tips and the psychology behind them. On social media, I see people reading these tips with no context and objecting. “Passive voice is perfectly fine,” they say, or, “You wouldn’t get very far if you only used short sentences.” You want to break my rules? I’m here … Continued

The power of doubt

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When you’re making your decisions on a day-to-day basis, how often do you: Know you are right . . . . vs. wonder if you are wrong. See from your own perspective . . . vs. see from someone else’s. Feel certain you can make a deadline . . . vs. doubt if you can … Continued