Tag Archives: Writing tips

Avoid confusion by keeping it simple

“What does eponymous mean?” I’m usually your go-to gal for the meaning of words, but this one stopped me. I knew I should be able to explain the meaning, but the question sent me to the dictionary. Good for you if you know “eponymous” is an adjective relating to the person/thing for whom/which something is […]

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More do’s and don’ts for captions that hook your reader

Words are my business, but I realize that a stunning photo or clever infographic can often make a point faster than plain text. The August issue of my monthly newsletter, Wordnerdery, shares tips for writing effective captions (also called cutlines) that hook readers and pull them into the story once the visual has caught their […]

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Leads like flashlights and more great quotes about writing

While collecting bits of expressive writing, I also write down words of wisdom about writing itself. Here are a few examples: “John McPhee calls the lead the flashlight that shines down into the story.” – Roy Peter Clark “Ledes are like Japanese haiku. They have to sing. They are the store window. If the reader […]

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8 ways to get through the approval process

Sometimes, it takes longer for people to read your words than you took to write them. I’m talking about the abyss called the “approval process,” which swallows your articles, reports, web copy and other writing that will – eventually – appear in public. This is fresh in mind after I received an online newsletter with […]

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How to write a great event recap

“Are you just a really amazing note-taker or great with shorthand to get the info you need?” That’s what a colleague asked me recently, wondering how I take down the notes I turn into event summaries (recaps). Shameless flattery accepted. I do often recap events for the associations I belong to, so people who weren’t […]

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Take the dull out of digits

Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) launched an exhibit this week that explores the story of nine rare blue whales that became stranded in thick ice and died. The ROM recovered two of the skeletons after the creatures washed ashore in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2014. Blue whales are massive, but even before you get to […]

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Cut! 11 ways to meet a stingy word count

The fellow I interviewed was chatty; the topic, fascinating. The problem? Cramming as much of that interesting conversation into just 300 words. My clients often have a specific number of words they need to fit a certain space. Magazine and newspaper editors also assign a certain number of words and may not work with you […]

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How do you give your creative head a shake?

I must have run across Roger von Oech at an IABC conference years ago. He’s an author and inventor who has been giving seminars, workshops and presentations on creativity since 1977, although he doesn’t specifically point to IABC on his website. His name came to light the other day when an indie colleague, Daria Steigman […]

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How to use hashtags (and why bother)

For people on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media, hashtags – words or phrases tagged with what used to be called the pound sign (#) — are a handy way to search for topics of interest. Companies use hashtags to try to connect with customers and fans, increase brand recognition and encourage interaction. Where do […]

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8 ways to speed up your writing

Back in my corporate days, I used to have lots of things to write, but little time to actually do the writing. Meetings, events, planning, organizing and consulting seemed to shrink my writing time to a frustratingly small chunk. One of the reasons I left corporate life was to focus on what I loved most, […]

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