How to write with a tomato

Do you do Pomodoro? Yes, it’s Italian for tomato, but also it’s biz-speak for a productivity-increasing method. We writers like to think we can use methods like this to crank out the words faster. (Or do we?)

Pomodoro for writers

It’s named after a timer that looks like a tomato. Not exactly romantic, but it has caught on.

So we asked business admin expert Jean Weir to give us the skinny on how this technique works. And then we asked some other writers what they think about writing with tomato …

Over to Jean… Sz 

What is the Pomodoro technique from a writer’s point of view?

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An English writing grammar fiend walks into a bar…

You may think you’ve heard all the jokes about ‘A xxxx walks into a bar,’ but I guarantee the majority of you won’t have heard all of the following. English language lovers will adore them and even grammar fiends and fascists might crack a smile.

horse in bar

A horse walks into a bar. “Why the long face?” asks the barman. “I’m a horse.”

I have tried to find the original author but it seems these have been circulating on the internet for some time so have become embedded in the ‘anonymous’ category as far as I know.

If any of you know otherwise, please let me know on suze@suzanstmaur.com and of course I will accredit the right people.

In the meantime I thank my good friend and fellow business networker Anne Bryant for flagging this up to me on my Facebook page

The ultimate writing about ‘walking into a bar’ – bar none

A malapropism walks into a bar, looking for all intensive purposes like a wolf in cheap clothing, muttering epitaphs and casting dispersions on his magnificent other, who takes him for granite. [Read more…]

Should we ladies write swearwords? Discuss.

Well, f**k my old boots and call me potty-mouthed, but I swear. I swear when I speak and I swear when I write. How about you other ladies? (Or if you want to be PC, “women?”)swearing by women Many of us “gals” the wrong side of 40 grew up believing that if Daddy stubbed his toe and said the F-word we would smile and tut-tut sympathetically, but if the same happened to us we would be told that swearing is unladylike and deserving of chastisement — not an ice pack and analgesia.

Unladylike? An ancient word?

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Great writing tip from Ann Handley, top US content expert

Please welcome the one and only Ann Handley, content head honcho of the famous US site MarketingProfs.com for which I once had the honor of being a columnist (and whom she named “Little Wacky.” Probably because I am, er, a little wacky.) 
Ann is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author with her brilliant book, “Everybody Writes,” and writes an incredibly useful and entertaining bi-weekly newsletter called Total Annarchy. Here’s an excerpt from the current edition which I really wanted to share with you. (Below you’ll see her in action live in this video, but don’t forget to read her tip below!)

Hey, Homeslice!

A friend asked me to look at a few chapters of a book he’s writing. It’s a strong book with a strong premise. But he’s struggling with making the writing equally buff. [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?

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How to write in body language

Have you ever expressed regret about written communications because they don’t allow you to “read” – and use – body language? I have, and many others appear to have done so as well.

Writing in body language

There are ways to compensate for lack of body language when you’re communicating in text.

One of the most obvious places where the lack of body language can cause misinterpretations leading to discussions, arguments and worse, is in social media comments. Just one sentence that’s a bit thoughtless or flippant in the wrong circumstances can make a fire break out and within minutes there are dozens or even hundreds of trolls fanning the flames into the second Great Fire of London.

But that’s not the only problem area. [Read more…]

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