Letter from the doctor: can you understand this awful jargon?

An Agony Column email from Emma in Gloucestershire, England brought this pearl of gobbledegook to my attention this week…what are these doctors on? Read on and be gobsmacked…

Dear Suze

chickenpox and shingles

Having an attack of shingles is no joke – but the letter warning patients about it is.

My mum has just turned 70 and received an invitation from her GP doctor’s surgery (family doctor’s office) to go get a jab to help prevent shingles. The first paragraph was plain enough and referred readers to the enclosed leaflet produced by the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), which was also plain enough and explained everything well.

The rest of the letter, though, is unbelievable…

[Read more…]

Writing to someone who just lost a loved one

If you are on the point of facing the loss of a loved one, or just have, or you know someone who is doing so … you might find this blank verse poem helpful.

bereavement

No matter what a loved one has or will have left you for you to cherish, what matters is not what that is, but how you use it

I wrote it the other night because a wonderful family I know are about to lose their mother, who has been a friend of mine for many years. I’m not sure if this poem can reach out to that family, or indeed whether this would be appropriate now anyway.
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For more articles on how to write about bereavement and other difficult, painful experiences, click here.
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You can only judge by what would you might find helpful in the circumstances and in mine, yes – I will. I just hope others may find similar comfort from it.

Your loved one’s legacy

It’s not about what might have been
It’s about what has been
It’s about understanding what has been [Read more…]

Search engines: how you have murdered the art of copywriting

At one time, advertising copywriters were almost the most important people in the ad business. Today, copywriting is offered as a side dish on most VAs‘ admin menus. Professional freelance copywriters today are lucky to get paid the same daily rate their colleagues got back in the 1980s.

Rolls Royce advert

Probably the most famous advertising headline ever, written by the legendary David Ogilvy – yet Google would turn its nose up at it.

What has happened? Search engines have happened, that’s what. Consumers no longer read advertisements; they tap in keywords. It doesn’t take talent to write keywords; it just takes a little skill in basic arithmetic.

Copywriting? Whassat?

[Read more…]

What I’d like to have written to my dying friend

This past weekend I followed my own advice about writing to someone who is dying, and knows it.

He is C., a friend from my youth who, in his early sixties now, has contracted an incredibly rare disease: approximately 2 in 1 million people get it. It is incurable and fatal within months of diagnosis.

writing to a friend who is dying

When someone is dying, all they have left is memories.

It is vicious, evil, and the most cruel part is that the conscious brain is the last bit to go when everything else has given up. Victims can track their own decline almost to the end.

Only a couple of weeks post-diagnosis he no longer can work his laptop or read his emails. His son contacted all our old group of friends to say his dad is still OK mentally so if we wanted to share our thoughts, we had to do it now, via emails. He will be reading them to him.

C. only has weeks to live and can’t have visitors other than immediate family. What could I possibly write to him? [Read more…]

How do I get published on writing about autism?

Autism: a heart-rending issue for families and one that seems to be increasing by the day. Here, in our Agony Columns series, we look at a real case of someone who has asked me (Suze) for help in getting their message, and how they can help others, out there.

How do I get published on writing about autism?Writing a book on autism as the parent of an autistic child

Dear Suze:

I would be very interested in connecting with yourself to see if you would be able to help me. I would like to publish a book on autism to help me gain a good professional credibility in my business. [Read more…]

“How can I become an author?” How we can help…

This question is a lot harder to answer than it is to ask! However here is what I wrote in response to Amelia, who posted on the HTWB Facebook page asking “how can I become an author?”

What additional advice on becoming an author can we give her?

Agony Columns on How To Write BetterPlease share in the comments…and I will delete any that are facetious or rude! Here we go…

Hi Amelia,

[Read more…]

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