Paragraph structure to love

One component of good writing is paragraph structure. If you read the Economist and just sort of “breathe in” the language and structure of their writing, you might learn good, tight structure like this: “And yet Israel should not be surprised by the torrent of indignation it has aroused from around the world. This is… Continue Reading

Why you should tighten your writing

Why you should tighten your writing

We all know people who talk too much, rambling on and on and repeating themselves until we could scream. They probably write the same way, using way too many words to get their point across. Don’t be them when you write. Instead, practice cutting out words that will slow your readers down and may even… Continue Reading

How to learn more about Making Data Meaningful

How to learn more about Making Data Meaningful

Are you great at making data meaningful? I am certainly no expert in this field; I have a t-shirt that says: “English major–You do the math.” But I (and you) have a great resource in four practical guides (for free) from UNECE (https://unece.org/statistics/making-data-meaningful). You can download PDFs of all four guides or request printed versions… Continue Reading

Mind your “WEs” and “YOUs”

Mind your “WEs” and “YOUs”

I received two “you” messages recently. The first shows how NOT to use the “you” message: A client snarled, “What part of “no” don’t you understand?” (Really. I terminated the contract immediately.) The second was an offer from my favorite airline, apologizing for a recent flight delay of three hours and offering me 5000 free… Continue Reading

Cookies ‘N Coaching

Cookies ‘N Coaching

Isolation is both best friend and worst enemy to a writer. Writers need solitude to be productive, but too much solitude makes them admire their texts instead of going the distance to revise their drafts. So, at some point, even good writers need to be coached on their writing. In our culture, we’re more familiar… Continue Reading

The reader is always right!

The reader is always right!

I recently sent a document out for review; I had designed and created it to be a series of alphabetical listings. One reviewer asked for a table of contents. I couldn’t figure that out, as A, B, C, D seemed pretty easy to navigate to me. I asked her why she thought a TOC would… Continue Reading

Do I need a writing coach or an editor?

Do I need a writing coach or an editor?

Well, it depends…let’s define the two activities and you can decide! What a writing coach does A coach (who also may be called a tutor) assesses your skill level in a certain type of activity and helps you raise your performance to another level. For example, I have a business coach, Michael Sunnarborg, who helps… Continue Reading

Use this list to help you edit and write better

Use this list to help you edit and write better

As an editor, I have to do repetitive tasks in Microsoft® Word–just as you do. Over the years, I’ve built this list of keyboard shortcuts to help speed my typing while editing. Each shortcut saves time (and may lead to more sleep during editing and writing cycles 😊). Let me know if these keyboard shortcuts… Continue Reading

Just say “No” to jargon?

Just say “No” to jargon?

Are you drowning in jargon? My son’s voicemail said: “Hi, Mom. I’m in Minnie, on my way to Indy. I passed my FO. Call me after 7 when I’ll be out of the box.” Hello??? One short message, four examples of airline jargon. This message certainly was concise, but it wasn’t clear to me and… Continue Reading

F.E.A.R.*

F.E.A.R.*

Several readers responded to my recent blog about not liking to write but liking to have written. To overcome writer’s block, I force myself to sit still and write for a block of time. I have become a voluntary prisoner again today, at least until I finish this blog post. I have recently become aware… Continue Reading