30 seconds of self-editing Do you have a minute to look this over? If you're the editor at work, you've heard this question before. It's complete nonsense! But that doesn't stop writers from asking—and editors from accepting the impossible assignment. This is the moment to teach those writers how to fish! Ask them to do a little self-editing: run the spell checker first and then do a few 30-second edits. These are quick scans that help writers self-edit. Editors can also apply these … [Read more...] about The 30-Second Editor @ Work
Accusation without barriers? At times, Twitter serves as the exact opposite of “information without barriers.” Beyond keeping us informed, Twitter allows users to set up barriers of the worst kind. A sort of anti-confessional prison cell. In its helpful form, Twitter is an exercise in chirping out the fresh and the obvious. Good news! The sun is up! When the news is extraordinary, we chirp a little louder. Look out! The hawk is hunting! Then, with alarming speed and purpose, the … [Read more...] about Twitter: The Anti-Confessional
The blank page: graphic designer vs writer If you know you’re writing about coffee, you’ll never have to worry about staring at the blank page. You already know what it’ll be about and then all you have to do is get started. Hah! That’s the advice I received from my graphic designer two decades ago. It’s always easier to see a way past the blank page when it’s someone else’s problem. Design, I replied, is less blank than writing. Someone else has already supplied the content—words, … [Read more...] about Getting Started: First page
We need to change the narrative about "stories"—and about the businesses we are in—if we hope to avoid tumbling any further down the rabbit hole of entertaining ourselves to death. It's time for businesses and governments and news organizations to stop telling themselves they are selling stories and focus instead on providing what we all need. Products that work. Services that serve. Facts. And it's time for consumers and citizens and readers to send a clear challenge to the assumption … [Read more...] about What we’re really selling [is more than a story we’re telling]
The city is building a new LRT bridge across the river just south of my office. An astonishing collection of people and equipment and cranes are part of an effort that's bound to go on for some time. What interests me most is thinking about the number of words that have gone into the project so far. Every big undertaking starts and ends with words. Before you dig the tunnel that leads to the bridge that crosses the river, you have to put the plan in writing. We've been working on our own … [Read more...] about Please allow me to introduce…the whole construction crew!