Out of town

Airplane in the sky - Passenger Airliner / aircraft

I'm travelling and away from my blog until Tuesday, April 28. See you then!... Read More

How to overcome negativity when writing

how to overcome writing anxiety

Reading time: About 6 minutes Many people seem to think they need to feel bad in order to write something that’s good. Instead, I think you need to know how to overcome writing anxiety in all its manifestations. Do you find writing interesting and pleasant — a time filled with self-discovery? Or is it stressful and unpleasant — sort of like a root canal crossed with doing your income t... Read More

Why stories are so important

why stories are so important

Reading time: About 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 an article on why stories are so important by Mathilda Harris... I regularly lead workshops for corporate communicators on how to write better, faster. One of my "set pieces" is on how and why they shou... Read More

Why yes side is running out of track

BC transit plebiscite

Reading time: About 2 minutes When the votes are counted in the BC transit plebiscite, I fear the answer is going to be a resounding no... A mail-in vote — a plebiscite — is being held now in Greater Vancouver, where I live. Citizens are voting on whether they're willing to pay a 0.5 per cent sales tax in exchange for an upgraded rapid transit system: more rapid transit, hundreds of mor... Read More

Like killing a butterfly with a hammer

katherine ashenburg

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 Katherine Ashenburg... California has enacted water restrictions for the first time in state history. For some cities — such as Sacramento — this will mean cutting water usage by up to 35 percent. Perhaps predictably, this now has so... Read More

What does sententious mean?

sententious

Reading time: About 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: sententious. I'd avoided the book The Diving Bell and the Butterfly — by Jean-Dominique Bauby (pictured above) — for years. As a survivor of two strokes, I didn't want to read a memoir about a French editor who had suffered from ... Read More

Lessons from writing a thesis

how to write your thesis

Reading time: Just over 3 minutes Do you need to learn how to write a thesis? Here’s some advice from someone who’s just finished the job… I can’t begin to calculate how many words I’ve written in my life. If forced to give a total, I’d say well over a million. But I can tell you the most difficult words I ever had to write. My undergrad thesis, some 36 years ago. The experien... Read More

Why you shouldn’t write from a blueprint

writing and the subconscious mind

Reading time: Less than 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 an article on writing and the subconscious mind by Charlotte Seager... I've never believed in outlining. Even in high school, when my teachers insisted upon it, I'd write the essay first and sketch o... Read More

The power of signage

power of signage

Reading time: Less than 1 minute Don't ever under-estimate the power of signage... Advertisements for TV shows and movies are always created by professionals. Ditto for print ads in magazines and newspapers. But why, oh why, is signage often left to amateurs? Do people who create (or place) signs imagine that not very many people will see them? And if that's their thesis, then why do they... Read More

Tom Colicchio inspires ironic simile

Tom Coliccchio

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 relating to celebrity chef Tom Colicchio...  I don't watch a lot of television but I have a particular weakness for food shows. For reasons I can't fully explain — is it the competition? the creative and delicious-looking food? the seemingly im... Read More