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…]

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?

[Read more…]

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?

[Read more…]

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?

[Read more…]

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