Archive for the ‘How to be a writer’ Category

The sobering truth about how your “readers” really see you

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Cartoon about engaging readers

At the Professional Copywriter’s Network Conference, leading direct mail writer Andy Maslen revealed he’d never written a piece of direct mail in his life.

Nope, he was proud to say he wrote junk mail for a living.

Why would an expert in his field describe his work in such derogatory terms?

Doesn’t exactly sound impressive on your CV, does it? Not really something to include in your elevator pitch, perhaps. (more…)

36 tips for lean writing

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

I recently met with a client at a large firm that’s trying to introduce “lean” working processes across the organisation. His team of writers were producing distinctly unlean documents, which is why he needed help.

“Lean” processes were first developed in Japanese manufacturing firms in the 1940s and the concept has spread to other businesses. The idea is that you don’t waste resources on anything that doesn’t “add value” to the end customer. It’s about achieving more with less.

We’re not massively keen on those MBA-ishly jargony words “adding value”, but we do think there’s something in this idea of lean production. Here’s how we think lean principles apply to writing. (more…)

Three free tools for better business writing

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Wouldn’t it be great to get professional feedback on every document you write? If getting a second pair of eyes on your business writing isn’t possible, the next best thing is to run your work through an online readability tool.

Here, we review three free tools that can help you sharpen up your business writing skills. All of them give you a visual snapshot of how readable a piece of writing is. (more…)

Lessons in powerful writing (from a lawyer, of all people!)

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Previously, we’ve ranted about bad business writing that sounds like it was drafted by the guys in Compliance. But not all legal types write with desiccated dullness.

Lord Denning, one of the most celebrated judges of the twentieth century, was renowned for his way with words. If you’ve ever studied Law, you’ll know Denning is always fun to read – and not just because of his frequent disregard for precedent. (more…)

Five Churchillian tips for writing like a leader

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

We’ve talked before about Winston Churchill’s gift for language. Here’s a great example of an inspiring speech written to get the country behind their leader: (more…)