What to write when someone’s child has died

I will never, never forgive myself for once writing an email to a couple whose premature baby died just a few hours after he was born. In it I wrote, “never mind, you’re young. You can have another one.”  Stupid, ignorant, idiotic cow that I was.

what to write when a child dies

“We need your support, patience, understanding, love and friendship…” Dawn Allen, bereaved parent

At the time, I hadn’t become a parent. And unless you are a parent, it’s hard to understand just what agony the loss of a baby can cause – whether via a miscarriage (even an early one), via an actual birth, and of course later on through childhood and beyond.

It was only once I had a child of my own that it dawned on me what a vile, thoughtless and cruel thing that was to say. Here’s what I have learned that may stop you making similar mistakes… [Read more…]

How to use abstracts to introduce your blogs in social media

Assuming you don’t post full-length articles directly on to social media (and that’s not normally a good idea unless they’ve been published on your website first) how do you let your readers know when you’ve just posted something new?Using abstracts to introduce blog postsAnd more to the point, how do you entice readers to click through and read your full article on your website/blog?

Introduce your blog posts on social media using abstracts

[Read more…]

Writing style? What writing style?

“If any of you thinks you have your own writing style, you can leave the room now,” said the wonderful and inimitable Bill Galley, who was our senior tutor at the (then) Watford Art School Advertising Writing Course in southern England.

With his gruff voice, aggressive beard à la James Robertston Justice in the “Carry On” movies and an up-yer-nose attitude, Bill was a veteran of the 20th century Madison Avenue creative advertising era. Despite being a Brit his b*lls were more than big enough to make him heard above many of the famous types who populated the advertising industry at that time in the USA.

Writing style? What writing style?

Our beloved course tutor, Bill Galley, looked a little like James Robertson Justice from the old “Carry On” movies. His eyes weren’t quite so skewed, however…

In his latter years Bill freelanced back in London and paid the rent by teaching us little squirts how to write ads. After we graduated he became our mentor and go-to expert on anything from creative brainstorming to how to win an interview to how to cope with and mend broken hearts. We were distraught when he died; he had become like another grandfather to us all.

And we always remembered those words about not having your own writing style. [Read more…]

Grammar humor – what a difference a dot makes

If you think punctuation is for the precious grammar police, have a read of these. Yes, most of them are funny.

Grammar humor - what a difference a dot makes
But trust me … incorrect punctuation really can get you into some serious doo-doo. Be warned, read on, and enjoy!

If you don’t think punctuation is important …

…try forgetting the comma when you write to someone “I’m sorry, I love you.”

Other classic whoopsies

[Read more…]

Spelling: how to tell your Ances from your Ences

When you’re writing, have you always thought that whether a word ends in “ance” or “ence” is pretty much a guessing game? I did, until I started researching for this series. And I’m delighted to tell you that there is a little bit of logic in there, somewhere, after all. For some “ances” and “ences,” anyway. But let’s get the illogical ones out of the way first…

Spelling: how to tell your Ances from your Ences

Whether we like it or not, correct spelling does matter. And not just in the supermarket…

Words that end in either Ance or Ence, for no obvious reason

Of course with English being English, there are some exceptions. Most of the grammar resources I checked out basically throw their hands up in the air and say “exceptions? Just memorise them.” So let’s start with those: there is no reason why they end as they do, other than the peculiarities of this crazy language. [Read more…]

An interview about writing: catch up Sunday April 15th

This Sunday I am being honored with an interview by that amazing authors’ emporium Emma’s Detail Shop … based on the west coast of the USA but sharing stunning stuff the world over. Here follows a sneak preview of some of the content.

An interview about writing: catch up Sunday April 15th

My late Mom always said I had an overly-developed sense of the ridiculous.

BUT PLEASE NOTE … I will be on their Facebook page live from 7:00 a.m. Pacific time / 10:00 a.m. Eastern / 3:00 p.m. UK time Sunday April 15th, so do please catch us up on there if you can! Click here to join in… and ask me any questions you may have as long as they are not too embarrassing…

For now though, here is what I’ve shared about my writing, and advice for others

[Read more…]

css.php