Tag Archives: Writing


Ricky Gervais on How He Learned to Write




Writing Tips from David Ogilvy

I discovered a new favorite blog today, titled Brain Pickings, and one of the posts was all about writing tips from David Ogilvy–the famous advertising man.

This list can be a fun perspective/refresher for writers, on what works in advertising and marketing industries.

My favorite tip was #10: If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.

Writers: Staying Alive, Staying Alive

I’m sure you’ve heard about the doom and gloom predictions for the publishing world. Many mole hills are made into mountains out of those few newspapers and magazines closing shop because of decreasing advertising and subscription dollars. It’s no surprise writers are getting antsy.

Writers are survivors, and I’m here to tell you that writers can definitely stay afloat in today’s hazy market.

As a writer myself, I feel buffeted by news about publishing house restrictions, eBook pricing wars, and folding newspapers. The opportunities and pitfalls of the marketplace have you elated one day at being invited to guest post indefinitely on the local newspaper’s blog, and terrorized the next that yet another publishing proposal fell through for a prized book project.

This blog is going to capture a snapshot of what’s going on out there and translate it into what exactly it means for today’s writers—you and me. If you’re like me, a budding writer and editor, or even if you’re a tried and tempered writing lion in the jungle of ink…you’ll undoubtedly find yourself trying to make sense of what’s going on.

Heads or Tails?

Whatever the cataclysmic forecasts and worrywarts say, I strongly believe that we’re going to be able to feed ourselves from our writing today and in five, ten, or fifteen years—and well beyond.

Each post from now on will focus on a particular current event or news story related to writing or being a writer in today’s market. Feel free to chip in with feedback. I’m particularly looking for different perspectives and hot buttons.

Writers need to flex their writing chops—emphasis on flex and adaptability—in order to survive these uncertain waters. Fine! So who’s in? Curious about what the next model will be? I’m as angry as all heck with the conflicting information and I’m just not going to take this uncertainty anymore! Cheers and here’s to a successful learning opportunity together!

What’s It About?

I found that one of my faults when writing assignments on tight deadlines, is that I don’t focus my writing enough.I’m not sure why, but now that I know it can be a problem, you can be sure that I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

When you ask “what is this writing piece about” you should always be able to describe the what or objective of the narration concisely in a sentence. When you answer with multiple items, you know you have to pick one and cancel out or shorten considerably the remainder. Not only is it good practice to be brief with extraneous details and items that can potentially send you writing on a tangent…but more importantly, you don’t want to annoy your reader. So it’s best to stay focused. Be on target.

It’s also important to find a trusted soul — or if you’re particularly gifted by the writign gods, then two or more — whom you can send items to for clear, objective feedback. I can’t think of a better way to find out what’s good and what’s bad. What items stay with the reader and what item will bug them. Whenever something bothers your reviewer(s) pay particular attention, because you probably can detect the inconsistency and eliminate it better than anyone. Feedback will undoubtedly provide you the key to the lock of a good writing piece.

Personally, I always welcome constructive feedback. It’s just that sometimes those who end up providing me solicited or unsolicited feedback can have hidden agendas that I detect and then this information taints the usefulness of the feedback. It’s also important to discern when valuable feedback is being offered no matter who is offering it to you. Each bit of feedback is a gift, so make use of it to improve your writing.

Do you have a particular technique that helps you stay on target when writing? Do you catch yourself meandering? Do you later use your meanders in other pieces? I’ve acquired the practice of noting down splices and portions of thoughts that I think can be expanded into blog posts or writing pieces. It’s important to write down just enough so you can recapture the train of thought when you return to it.

So how do you keep on track? Do you have a group or a sole reviewer you trust? What do you do with tangents?

Guest Blog Success: Optimize Your Social Media Optimization

I was invited to guest post for the great folks at the Search Engine Blog. Please take a gander at my post, titled “Optimize Your Social Media Delegation.”

Copywriting Zen

There’s an excellent post over at Copyblogger about The Art of Zen Copywriting for Bloggers. It discusses the fine line and balance that a hard sale copywriter must strike when entreating the interest and action of blog readers.

Eventually, good writing translates into customer/audience action–action favorable to the business that owns the website, blog, Twitter account, Facebook account, or whatever other channel they’re disseminating through on Web 2.0.

The Zen approach is softer, you know your audience is reading you because they are already interested, they already want to do business with you, and you should engage and entreat them as individuals with personalized needs.

Take a gander at the blog post, it’s really good and has some very potent, actionable steps to consider.

Writing Great Notes

I’ve received some gifts from co-workers and have had to write the pursuant thank you notes. I’ve also gotten some holiday greeting cards sent out. Whenever faced with these two tasks, I’m always stuck with the usual holiday and new year’s wishes or variances thereafter. Not very illuminated writing.

And as I wallow in my mediocrity and pedestrianism, wallowing in my tepid notes…then things like the following hit me from left field: the best thank you note ever, courtesy of the two personal assistants who work for famed author Neil Gaiman.