BIG help for a BIG document

BIG help for a BIG document

Against your will or better judgment, you may find yourself writing a BIG document (more than, say, 20 pages, possibly written over several weeks or months). BIG writing projects require you first to manage yourself; then manage your text; and finally, manage your technology. Managing yourself Self-discipline will help you survive and thrive on a… Continue Reading

Are you drowning in 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; up to then, I’ll be in the box.” Hello??? One short message, four uses of airline jargon. This message certainly was concise, but it wasn’t clear to me and therefore not complete. Bruce… Continue Reading

I am a writer. You are a writer, too.

We are all writers

Think you’re not a writer? Then read Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley. You’ll probably agree with Handley that we are all writers and we should therefore be the best writers we can be. I applaud the clear and logical structure of her book; its six main sections are:… Continue Reading

How to make your words clear

How to make your words clear

Which would you rather read, and why? Entities are satisfactory that terminate satisfactorily. OR All’s well that ends well. I thought so! I’d rather read the second version, too. It’s easier and faster to process a shorter word than a longer word. And that’s especially true for those who read English as their second language.… Continue Reading

Just revise

Just revise

“I’m a rewriter. That’s the part I like best…once I have a pile of paper to work with, it’s like having the pieces of a puzzle. I just have to put the pieces together to make a picture.” Judy Blume, American author, 1938- Judy Blume spoke the obvious: A writer has to write a draft… Continue Reading

Getting feedback: Number your lines

Getting feedback: Number your lines

In my last blog post, I discussed some emotional difficulties of accepting feedback on your writing. This post will share a practical suggestion to help you improve the review process, whether you are the reviewer or the author. For our discussion, let’s assume that you are seeking feedback on a Microsoft® Word document and want… Continue Reading

Accepting feedback? Take what you like; leave the rest

Accepting feedback? Take what you like; leave the rest

  When I teach about feedback in my technical writing webinars, I often quote these words of Frank Norris*: “I hate to write, but I like to have written.”* I would slightly reframe this comment: “I hate to receive feedback about my writing, but I like to have received that feedback.” Why would I want… Continue Reading

Saxon words prevail in new SAT vocabulary test

Saxon words prevail in new SAT vocabulary test

This spring, the new SAT vocabulary test will focus less on obscure vocabulary such as “abstruse,” “prodigious,” “vexation,” and “trenchant” and more on relevant words that college students need to know. As the press release said: “SAT words will no longer be vocabulary [that] students may not have heard before and are likely not to… Continue Reading