Archive | Writing Advice

Copyrights don’t give you a right to copy

I was surprised to see a favorite non-profit had committed an illegal act. On the third page of a recent newsletter, they reprinted an item from Reader’s Digest. It was germane to their mission, and they kindly included a credit line. Still, they broke the law. Which law? Copyright law. Unless they formally obtained permission from […]

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Do you suffer from the education curse?

There’s a phenomenon I’ve long observed affecting the ability of people to write clearly and effectively. Economists and psychologists have referred to the phenomenon as the “curse of knowledge.” In simple terms, it’s what happens when we fail to recognize others don’t know what we do. When we try to communicate with them, we use […]

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Eschew obfuscation to write better

When presenting workshops on writing more effectively, I always tell attendees the most important advice I can offer is to eschew obfuscation. If you’re scratching your head, don’t feel bad. The two words are unfamiliar to most people. “Eschew” is a verb that means deliberately avoiding something or some act. If you’re allergic to okra, […]

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9 tricks for better proofreading

Is proofreading important? Have you noticed the dramatic increase in the number of typos and other mistakes in materials produced by companies and organizations? I suspect it results from three factors: emphasizing haste over quality, relying on software spellcheckers, and unfamiliarity with spelling and language. Granted, the mistake someone at your company makes may not […]

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Seven steps for making writing easier

“I hate writing!” Perhaps that should be music to my ears because it ensures a steady stream of work, but it saddens me. Many people dislike (or even fear) writing and are intimidated by knitting words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs. Nearly everyone needs to write now and again. Being able to assemble words […]

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Here’s why your team shouldn’t write white papers

Choosing your internal team to write white papers may seem like an obvious choice, given their familiarity with the information in those white papers, but there are many reasons to look elsewhere for help. Non-writers shouldn’t write white papers Your team members may be skilled writers, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be effective at articulating […]

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Are you misusing quotation marks?

We’d have a tough time surviving without quotation marks. A famous writer once observed, “Quotation marks allow us to identify what someone actually says, as opposed to simple statements being made by the writer.” Okay, I’m that writer, but the quote illustrates one of the primary roles of quotation marks. The other is to denote […]

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