Snotty words and phrases: why you mustn’t write them

Do you ever write snotty (i.e. pompous, patronising, condescending) words or phrases … I hope, by accident?

Pompous language

Meet the Snotties.

It’s alarmingly easy to write stuff you think is precise and correct, only to find that as far as your target audience is concerned you come across as a pretentious old/young goat.

Who, moi? My writing is pompous, snotty and stuffy?

Could be. [Read more…]

How to write with a co-writer or two

Many of us – in any number of job roles – are well used to working within a team, which might suggest that writers can work in a team in a similar way. Uh, uh: not necessarily. Why? Read on. If you need to collaborate with another worker – whether for business or other activity, for a blog, article, report, white paper, brochure, etc…here are some tips you might find helpful.

Writing with more than one author

A camel is a horse designed (and written about) by a committee.

Probably the most difficult part of working within a team as one or two of the “writers,” is the way that these roles can become politically sensitive.

Why does being “the writer” in a team suggest authority?

[Read more…]

How to write some bantastic new words for 2019

If you’re fed up with the English language and how its sheer lunacy can drive us all doo-lally, here’s a nifty thought or three.

Who says we can’t write our own new words in English?

Writing bew words for 2019English has been around since the fourth century BC. Well, some of its forms have been, anyway

According to Wikipedia The earliest form of English is called Old English or Anglo-Saxon (c. 550–1066 CE). Old English developed from a set of North Sea Germanic dialects originally spoken along the coasts of Frisia, Lower Saxony, Jutland, and Southern Sweden by Germanic tribes known as the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes.”

So why are we constrained in writing new English words?

Bottom line is, we aren’t. Why should we genuflect to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), relying on them to approve new words? Here are a few from its December 2018 list. Surely we can do better than this?  [Read more…]

What to write to someone whose child has died

Have you ever said or written something, trying to be helpful when someone’s child has died, only to realise that was probably the worst thing you could have done?

what to write to bereaved parents

Nothing can possibly replace or compensate for the child they lost.

Some years ago my next-door neighbours got married. As we lived in adjacent terrace/town houses, were good friends, and it was summer, we opened up both homes for a circular party which went on until well into the next day and on arising that next morning I found various sleeping bodies in my house with no idea who the hell they were.

No worries: all were wedding guests and the bride, groom, my partner and I managed to make a hangover-curing breakfast for all before booting them out and returning to bed to catch up on sleep. The wife was pregnant at the time. At full term she went into labour, and delivered their son, Jack. He died a few hours later. [Read more…]

BUT is a hurtful word: what writing lesson can we learn from dressage?

Have you ever noticed how the word “but” can rip the positivity out of the words preceding it in whatever you’re writing …at the expense of your poor readers who may suffer from its nasty negativity?

why the word BUT can be unnecessarily negative

Dressage: Easy? Sure. Like threading a needle blindfolded is easy.

Being a weirdo, when I’m not writing in here or for my own books or my clients’ books and blogs, guess what I do in my spare time? I write. And none of this namby-pamby keyboard or touch screen stuff. This is hard core handwriting on paper with a pen, cramped up in a car or sometimes in a drafty little wooden shack with a leaking roof in pouring rain and no heating. In mid-winter. Sheer masochism? [Read more…]

What do we want to write better in 2019?

I don’t mean this in a commercial way, but rather as in what from your heart do you really want to share with others in this coming year when we’re focused more than ever on deeply personal issues like mental health, mindfulness, happiness, positivity in the light of political, social and ecological darkness?

Do we want to write more about politics?

I don’t, for sure. I don’t dare.

What will we write about in 2019

What can we write about in 2019 that will help address our current issues?

Looking out through my electronic window a.k.a. my desktop screen, all I can see is a childish, petulant bully in the USA … a frightening face-off in our neighbouring France … courteous, amiable and utterly confused political squabling in the UK’s parliament … terrifying geological realities in Indonesia … all symptoms that remind us that we’re simply festering little pimples on the backside of a churning world. [Read more…]

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