How important are grammar and spelling? Really?

Now that the mass media with its “newspeak” vocabulary has been part of our lives for several generations we really can’t afford to be pompous about spelling and grammar any more.

Even the stuffiest of academics has had to admit that stiffly formal writing is not clever; it’s boring. They may look down their noses at the language of popular websites, social media, blogs and so-on, but that’s the language nearly everyone speaks today.

article about spelling and grammarI won’t waste your time with my theories on why that has happened, but the bottom line is that English as a language has become simpler and less complex than it was 100 years ago.

And quite right, too. I’ve never understood why some people get so uppity about the fact that a language has evolved.

Well, you and I haven’t got time to mourn the relegation of Shakespearean English to the theatre, even if we want to. We’ve got work to do here and now, and these days we write as we speak.

“Writing as people speak” is not a cop out

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A fumbler’s guide to live online video chats and meetings

How are you doing with your Zoom / MS Teams / Facebook Lives / Facetime and various other incarnations of live video on the internet, especially now that there are very few – if any – ways to communicate with our clients / customers, colleagues, friends and family otherwise?

The Zoom meeting … our new normal?

A while back I wrote about, and asked my learned colleagues to share their advice on, how to perform on online video as you’ll find from this incredibly comprehensive guide here. And that was before the coronavirus stopped us talking F2F.

But today, as we cope with the most recent restraints … let’s take another look at how we are communicating now. Speaking as a prime techno-fumbler myself and a beginner at this talk-and-chew-gum-at-the-same-time online video lark, I sympathise with other beginners starting out … especially as so many friends and colleagues are becoming online TV superstars…

Some tips about live online video that I’ve discovered the hard way

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Diary of a self-isolator: WTF would we have done without the internet?

When I hear people bitch and moan about being under lockdown due to coronavirus/Covid19, I think back to my dim and distant youth when the internet was no more than a twinkle in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye.

Telephone landline handsets from the 1960s and 1970s – now museum pieces as you can see.

Earlier incarnations had been trialled but mostly had hissy fits and blew up once someone actually input a little bit of content. It was only when Tim Berners-Price took hold of it all in around 1990 that they managed to make it work. As we know, that revolutionised everything. And even better, it can’t catch COVID-19.

Imagine,” I say helpfully between their bitchings and moanings, “what lockdown would have been like if we didn’t have the WWW?[Read more…]

Working and writing from home? A veteran’s tips for Corona times

As the novel Corona virus pours increasing amounts of poisonous snot all over our daily lives, equally increasing numbers of workers are considering (and some are obliged to) work from home.

COVID-19 EPIDEMIC: After you’ve washed your hands and sung Happy Birthday for the 18th time today and fought the best of three rounds in the grocery store to nab a roll of toilet paper, read this article. It will cheer you up. A bit.

I have been working from home since the Ming Dynasty and am still alive (and solvent) to tell the tale. If you look on Google there is lots of serious and very valid advice about working from home. But here, on the other hand, is some slightly less serious but a damned sight more pertinent advice straight from the coalface. Enjoy.

New to working from home? Here’s the knickers-off reality …

How to dress
Many advisors who regularly drive their kids to school in scarecely-camouflaged pyjamas and slippers insist that for you to feel genuinely that you are going to work now you’ve been asked to do so at home,  you should wear your normal work clothes even when hacking at your laptop from your kitchen table which still is cluttered with last night’s Chinese takeaway detritus. This is utter b*llocks. [Read more…]

At last, my new baby’s here – to get your book out there!

Welcome to How To Write Better’s (HTWB’s) bouncy, bolshie young sibling … Better Books Media™ (BBM)! This is the new home for everything you need to get you started with a book or book-related project – even if you’ve never written a book or eBook before.

Like many youngsters BBM is still living at home with a parent (HTWB) but will have its own site one day when it’s earning decent money and has learned how to do its own laundry. In the meantime here’s how its concept can achieve what many more stuffy publishing services would say is impossible: it’s a blend of literary agency, author coaching, and a publishing service.  Eat your heart out, traditional publishing thinkers.better books media
Better Books Media™ is a wholly owned imprint and brand belonging to me, Suzan St Maur. For now it is delivering my own books – and of course my self-publishing clients are welcome to have their books published under this imprint if they wish, too. In fact two such clients already have joined me as BBM authors.

It is also delivering my very special, bespoke author coaching and publishing advice via my own experience and skillset, and that of my brilliant, hand-picked virtual team of nonfiction and fiction editors, book producers, book designers, illustrators, audio recordists, and more.

My business model is simple … [Read more…]

Written a nonfiction book? 10 ways to repurpose its content (and grow sales)

One of the best things about the current spread of media and publication options is the fact that the basic content from your print and/or Kindle book can be shared in many more different ways than was the case 20 or even 10 years ago.

Repurpose, reuse, recyle … and max up your book’s earning potential

10 ways to max up the earnings of one single source of content: your book

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