An editor’s notebook: How to help authors who get carried away

Continued">

One big job of an editor is to provide a perspective from outside the confines of the writer’s head. Writers burble out all sorts of prose that made sense to them when they wrote it. The editor points out what must change for that prose to make sense to everyone else. Today’s examples come from … Continued

An editor’s notebook: When it comes to metaphors, don’t be a slut

Continued">

Editors deal in meaning. Metaphors are great for meaning — until they get out of hand. What do you tell an author whose relationship with metaphors has become promiscuous? Today’s example, like yesterday’s, comes from a book I was editing. The author had great ideas and an engaging writing style, but occasionally got carried away. … Continued

An editor’s notebook: Analyzing and untangling sentences

Continued">

One of the editor’s primary jobs is to make sentences say what they mean. When the prose gets in the way of the ideas, fix the prose. A focus on the subjects and verbs in sentences can help make prose clearer and reduce the cognitive load on the reader. These examples come from a book … Continued

How to brainstorm the future

Continued">

Every strategy book I’ve ever written includes a final chapter about the future. Here’s how I do the brainstorms that turn into those chapters — and how you can run your own brainstorms about the future, whether you’re writing a book or just planning for scenarios. The objective of a brainstorm like this is to … Continued

How you can achieve Ikigai, fulfillment

Continued">

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

Continued">

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

Continued">

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

Continued">

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