In most cases, here’s the general rub: You have a few general ideas you’d love to dive into in writing...but translating them into actual sentences (that flow well, use proper grammar, tell a story, etc.)...that’s hard. Read More
The bad news is there’s no quick fix. I can’t snap my fingers or wiggle my nose and solve this for you. However, you can start chipping away at the roadblocks that go along with this issue. You do that by working through some of the things that can trip you up along the way to getting your butt in a chair and writing the thing you wanna write.
Do I *really* have to put together an outline before I start writing? Is it entirely necessary? Read More
I say the answer is yes.
At least for me, outlining has been a tactic that’s helped me manage writing articles and blog posts both large and small in a way that’s both logical and piecemealed so it's more manageable. Bonus: It helps me get past the blank page with ease.
Interesting subject line, eh? Read More
I’ll be honest...it was a little clickbait-y.
BUT — it’s also true.
See, I’ve been taking some MasterClass courses to get me through the cruel, cold winter.
I started with the classes on comedy (because there’s nothing funnier than having someone break down the nuts and bolts of a joke to you, right? Hehe...heh...no.)
Writing takes practice. It takes an openness to critique. It takes a desire to improve. Read More
Most of the people I know want that quick shortcut that’ll instantly make their writing better. So today, we’re going to talk about that.
I love it when I get questions from readers of this newsletter in my inbox. LOVE. IT. Laura Bosco sent me a question last week.
She asked: How can I help one of my clients sound humble and confident when we write for his brand? Read More
On one hand we want to be confident in what we know, but on the other hand, we don't want to come across as arrogant. A lot of advice is situational, there are many gray areas, and plenty of folks are smarter than we are. So how do you strike a good balance between the two?
Such a great question. An important one, too.
When you hear the world explicit, your mind might go straight to that parental advisory sticker you see on CDs sometimes. Read More
Today, I’m not talking about being explicit in that context. I’m talking about being explicit in the sense of communicating clearly, as in: “She was explicitly clear about her directions.”
Why? Because so often a major failure of communication (written or otherwise) happens when we aren’t explicit.
I want you to picture me wearing a black turtleneck for this newsletter, k? Channeling all the Sinead O’Connor vibes. Read More
Ugh. Sorry. I’m old. That joke probably landed for about 15% of you.
Whatevs, let’s move on!
Today, I wanna talk about the problem with comparing ourselves to other writers. Because it is, indeed, a problem. And there are things you can do about it.
The first draft of anything I write (when I’m writing as me, not a client) is pure stream of consciousness onto the page. And by putting my inner dialogue onto the page (unfiltered), the writing voice is a reflection of my personality, my quirks, and how I sound in my most natural state. Read More
Guess what? You can do that, too.
I don’t really consider myself a journalist anymore. Read More
The good news is: Most days, I still get to wear my journalist hat (which I imagine is a fedora.)
Wearing my journalist [fedora], I become a much better storyteller—and I’m able to quickly connect the dots and draw new, interesting conclusions based on the information I’ve collected. You can do this, too (with or without a fedora.)
Whether it’s telling a client story or writing an interesting blog post, taking a journalistic approach will help you tell better stories that are dripping with ethos.
This fall, I’ll have my first *ever* intern through one of the local colleges. Read More
Working alongside me, said intern will get some hands-on experience with writing, running a business, and working in the online/freelance environment (mostly with software and eCommerce companies.)
Even in the modern world of spell check and tools like Grammarly, it’s always best to know how to get things right on the first go-around. Read More
So let’s do a quick walk-through on some of the more common grammar/usage mistakes that crop up in writing...
There’s one thing I hear from writers more than anything else. Read More
Know what it is?
It’s that they don’t feel confident in their writing abilities.
I gathered six of the best pieces of writing advice from writers and authors who are ~way~ smarter than me. Read More
My hope is that these bite-sized pieces of writing wisdom will help you with whatever type of writing it is you’re working on this week.
Is there anything worse than submitting a piece of writing somewhere and getting it sent back with endless edits? Read More
Opening a document filled with notes is like an instant gut-punch.
It says, “You didn’t nail this one.”
When it comes to writing, sometimes getting started is the hardest part.
It can result in hours of procrastination, sweaty palms, and a last-minute scramble as a deadline approaches. Read More
So what’s behind the first draft intimidation — and how can writers overcome it?
The title of today’s writing lesson is inspired by the book 10% Happier, which I’ve been listening to lately on audiobook. Read More
Dan Harris (the author) talks about being a fidgety skeptic in regard to meditation...and that got me thinking:
That’s how I feel about a lot of sales-oriented writing.
Fidgety. Skeptical. It just doesn't work for me.
Curiosity is one of the most prevalent writing tactics we see today. Read More
Many writers leverage what’s called a “curiosity gap” to drive click-throughs. But they take it to an outrageous level.
And sometimes, the curiosity gap ends up being a curiosity CANYON.
You click through to the article or email, only to discover that it over-teased and under-delivered.
In the survey I put out last week about this newsletter, one thing that became pretty clear was that you guys want more long-form, actionable writing lessons. Read More
So with this being prime selling season, I thought it only made sense to share my best tips on...well, selling. With words.
I’ve written fairly consistently about this topic for the past four years, so I’m breaking down some of my most valuable articles on the topic (and linking to them) in a TL;DR format here.
Writers often struggle with a common issue: Putting their thoughts into concise sentences. Read More
Instead of communicating with a tight, to-the-point narrative, they fumble around. They add unnecessary words and write long, rambling sentences that cloud up the overall idea.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about quality vs. quantity when it comes to writing. Read More
The reason: I did some math recently.
If I’ve been averaging 3,600 words per week for almost four years now, that means I’ve written more than 691,000 words.
Um…that’s a lot of words. It’s kind of hard to wrap my mind around.