Branding: who needs a logo when you wear glasses?

How seriously do you take branding for your business? OK, if you’re Coca Cola or Kellogg’s it’s very, very serious and you don’t have a choice. But for those of us running rather, er, smaller enterprises, do you realise that branding is just as important?

Now, those of you who know me personally know that I don’t do fancy, but I do branding, sort of, for my meagre writing business. Here, therefore, is the “living logo” that has been working very hard for me for the last six years:

Suzan St Maur's glasses

Who do you think of when you see a woman with a mop of short, blonde hair and big black glasses? And don’t you dare say “Maxine...” I don’t do hats. LOL.

Why a pair of glasses for branding, when I’m a writer?

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Some alternative conversation starters for networking events

Recently I tripped over an article I had saved a few years ago about conversation starters to help break the ice at business networking events. Given that a while has passed since the article was published I thought I would use its thoughts as a basis for a, er, new article on how to create a little fun with business networking conversation starters today.

comedy article about business networking

“Hello. Is this your first time at this event?”

With many thanks and commiserations to the original author of this article: I would love to have credited you properly but as my admin systems are a mess, voilà. Sorry. Message me and I will make amends. Promise.

My evil thoughts about the following:

1) “Well, while we’re here, I might as well introduce myself.” Give them a dark look, then say “I was just on my way to the toilet. Shall we go and introduce ourselves there?” [Read more…]

How to write insults without swearing

UPDATED JULY 20, 2019. Further to our recent article about whether women should write swearwords or not, here is an updated and expanded version of some glorious, clean (well, cleanish) insults sent to me a couple of years ago by my cousin Alyson in Ottawa, Canada.

funny article about insults

William Shakespeare, King Lear

William Shakespeare was a master of insults, as you can see from above. That full quote, said by Lear to his daughter Goneril (why does her name always make me think of a sexually transmitted disease?) goes as follows:

“Thou art a boil, A plague-sore or embossèd carbuncle, In my corrupted blood.” Gee thanks, Dad. More of Willie’s best insults below. Meanwhile…

There was the exchange between Winston Churchill & Lady Astor:

She said, “If you were my husband I’d give you poison.”  He said, “If you were my wife, I’d drink it.” [Read more…]

Please welcome ReaderReady writing. (This time around.)

ReaderReady? Yes, I just coined that word. It means the same as most of the terms and descriptions mentioned below going back to about the 1950s or so. So why is it new?

conversations in slaes

In both business writing and sales, success now lies in conversations – not presentations.

Short answer? It isn’t. But along with every new incarnation of the concept, we get the accompanying yee-hahs and whizzing bow ties assuring us that this is how we should be writing our books, online content, blogs, ad copy, and everything else down to the note you stick on your front door asking the delivery people to leave your stuff around the back. [Read more…]

54 grammar fumblerules to make you grin

Although we’ve looked at funny grammar rules before, here is an even more comprehensive list to give you some smiles!. Enjoy (and learn, of course…)

grammar article

I wonder how much grammar rules have changed since 1558– ?

Fumblerule? Whassat, Wikipedia?

To quote the Wikipedia oracle:

fumblerule is a rule of language or linguistic style, humorously written in such a way that it breaks this rule.[1] Fumblerules are a form of self-reference.
The science editor George L. Trigg published a list of such rules in 1979.[2] The term fumblerules was coined in a list of such rules compiled by William Safire on Sunday, 4 November 1979,[3][4] in his column “On Language” in the New York Times. Safire later authored a book titled Fumblerules: A Lighthearted Guide to Grammar and Good Usage, which was reprinted in 2005 as How Not to Write: The Essential Misrules of Grammar.

I love them already–

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Why you need to know the difference between writing errors & writing mistakes

Most old-fashioned editors (hereafter known as OFEs**) and all my happy clients know that when it comes to “sticking to the rules” of writing I am an anarchist.

mistakes in writing

The fact that information crosses approximately 3,400 miles of Atlantic Ocean in less time than it takes you to sneeze does rather make a mockery of trying to preserve the good olde days of British English. British, American, Australian? They’re all OK.

Please note, however, that I’m not particularly anarchic in any other ways. I never burned my bra for Women’s Lib (although I was too young to need one then) and I didn’t even go to the anti-Trump protests in London in 2018 but only because there was no-one available to let my dogs out for wee-wees.

Grammar, spelling, punctuation: do you control them or do they control you?

This question has been bothering me for a long time over issues like the Oxford comma and whether you use a capital letter after a colon or not. Short answer? Issues like that do not matter worth a pinch of coonsh*t, as my dear old Canadian dad used to say. [Read more…]

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