How to make forms easier to read

how to make forms easier to read

Reading time: Less than 2 minutes Do you ever encounter forms that are tough to read? It's not your fault! The fault usually lies with the organization that developed the form... Is there anything more onerous than filling out government or bank documents? (I think not.) A neighbour reminded me of this issue recently, when he commented that he and his wife had difficulty filling out some "su... Read More

Making needlepoint with TV drama

Logan Hill

Reading time: Less than 1 minute I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a metaphor from Logan Hill. I started watching the TV show Mad Men rather late — at least a year after the series had begun in 2007. Impressed by the acting, the set design, the costumes and the story, I never wanted to watch it "out of order" for fe... Read More

What does etiolated mean?

etiolated

Reading time: Less than 1 minute Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That's why I provide a word of the week. Today's word: etiolated. I encounter a word, every once in a while, that I'm sure I must know. It sounds familiar and yet, when I read it in a sentence, I can't figure out its meaning. This happened to me recently with the Joshua Ferris (pic... Read More

The ultimate 7-step guide for how to write faster

how to write faster

Reading time: Less than 6 minutes Even if you don’t know exactly how many words you can produce in an hour, here’s how to write faster… Ask a bunch of journalists or professional writers how many words they can produce in an hour and you’ll get a dog-pile of half-answers and creative guesses. I know because I did that last week. I surveyed more than a dozen friends — all of ... Read More

What’s the best tool for writing?

best tool for writing

Reading time: Just over 1 minute This is my weekly installment of "writing about writing," in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a video about the best tool for writing... Clive Thompson is a freelance journalist and blogger who writes about digital technologies and their social and cultural impact for the New York Times Ma... Read More

The value of training

value of training

Reading time: Less than 1 minute Does your workplace take the time to discuss what you're doing and how to do it better? Don't ever underestimate the value of training.  I held a one-on-one coaching session today with a PR writer from a large US-based corporation. Her employer had hired me to host a webinar for her entire department. Then, I had the chance to work individually with 10 empl... Read More

Where wheelchairs are as common as Ferraris…

jean-dominique bauby

Reading time: Less than 1 minute I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a simile from Jean-Dominique Bauby... The 1998 memoir The Diving Bell and the Butterfly won me over when I read it earlier this year. The book allows a French editor — in his own words — to tell the story of a devastating stroke he suffered, lea... Read More

What is a predella?

predella

Reading time: Less than 1 minute Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That's why I provide a word of the week. Today's word: predella. I was recently in New York City where I satisfied a 25-year ambition: I finally managed to travel to Cloisters, a satellite of the Met. Located in northern Manhattan,  it is a purpose-built museum devoted to the art a... Read More

What a circus act can teach you about writing…

responsibility

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Is writing burdensome to you? Consider whether you might be taking on more responsibility than you need to… My son, who is studying to become an opera singer, must display a panoply of skills: Singing without a microphone. Learning a smattering of six different languages. Knowing how to build and strike sets. And, hardest for him, acting. You’d have ... Read More

I pluck the butterfly from the air…

ann patchett

Reading time: Less than 2 minutes This is my weekly installment of "writing about writing," in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a recent Brain Pickings article about writer Ann Patchett... I've been a fan of Ann Patchett ever since I read her spellbinding novel, Bel Canto, 12 years ago. Thus, when Maria Popova — in her pop... Read More