Enough with the excuses for poor writing. Don’t be a but-head.

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All day long I hear excuses for why people’s writing is worse than it ought to be. “But my company insists we write it this way.” “But I don’t have time.” “But I learned to write this way.” Don’t be a “but-head.” Leave your excuses behind.  Here’s a handy guide on how to get past the … Continued

Not sure if it’s bullshit? Try reading it out loud.

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I narrated the audiobook for Writing Without Bullshit this week, spending about 12 hours in the studio. It was a vivid reminder of how absurd some prose sounds when read out loud — which is a good test for whether your writing is bullshit. A good nonfiction audiobook sounds natural, as if someone is explaining something or … Continued

The only purpose of business writing is to create change

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Business writing has only one purpose: to create a change in the reader. If your writing creates no change in the reader, it has failed. This is different from other forms of writing. The purpose of fiction is to entertain. The purpose of media is to get you to read as much and as long as … Continued

Friendly competitors

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Authors and books don’t compete. Instead, they support each other. I wonder why that doesn’t happen in more places? I noticed this as soon as I became an author. The other authors welcomed me as a friend who’d joined a club; we’d all shared a similar experience. Authors blurb each others’ books, even (or especially) if they … Continued

How our leaders responded to events of this week

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Yesterday I told you that our leaders’ responses to events of Baton Rouge; Falcon Heights, Minnesota; and Dallas would tell us a lot about them and the years to come. Today, I rate those responses. President Obama and Hillary Clinton rate well; the other candidates rate poorly. I didn’t have high hopes; this is an … Continued

A moment for leadership

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Like any thinking person, I am heartsick about the events of the last few days. Police are killing black men and people are killing police in the nation I love. I want to believe our nation is better than this. And, perhaps in vain, I seek answers and inspiration from our leaders. While these events tear … Continued

After Alton Sterling shooting, candidates’ vacuous platitudes

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Two Baton Rouge, Louisiana police officers tackled Alton Sterling, a black man, and shot him while pinning him down, all of which was caught on a graphic video. The U.S. Department of Justice is investigating. The candidates’ responses are revealing — Gary Johnson and Bernie Sanders made short, substantive statements, while Hillary Clinton’s longer release is 87% platitudes. Because candidates want … Continued

FBI Director James Comey statement: Hillary Clinton was sloppy

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Yesterday, FBI Director James Comey issued his final statement about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s personal email server. While he characterized her behavior around classified information as “extremely careless,” he will not recommend prosecution. Democrats and Republicans are spinning his decisions relentlessly today. The overwhelming impression I get from Comey’s statement is of a diligent … Continued