Is it wrong to say “write to me?” The terrible telephone

You’re right in the middle of doing something that needs your full attention. You’re concentrating hard, just about getting to grips with it. You can see the A-HA moment ahead of you. The light at the end of the tunnel is beginning to wink at you. You reach out and almost touch it. Nearly there…

Then the phone rings. You answer.

why phone calls are disruptive

Miraculously the whizz-bang device of the 19th century, called the “telephone,” is still here with little other than the back-office technology having changed much.

“Hi Suze, it’s XXXXX. I was just having a read through of your YYYYY book and I’m not sure what you meant by your sentence about blog abstracts on page 178. Can you tell me more about it?”

Meltdown.

[Read more…]

Apostrophes: a potty-mouthed poem about their misuse

This is pretty horrible, but should wake up apostrophe abusers a lot more than the weedy articles we see politely explaining how to use the poor little things.

how to suse apostrophes

Do not fool with this small tool…

Apostrophe fascists around the (English speaking) world take note: share the following poem if you dare. Your readers may find it offensive but with luck it will get the message over.

A Poem For Apostrophe Dickheads

[Read more…]

What to write to bereaved parents – Part Two

It’s one thing to write about what to write in general terms. But when it happens to you, and the deceased child is a relative, wow – does that really bring it home.

What to write to bereaved parents

My cousin whom we lost a few days ago aged just 31. What the hell can I say to his parents? What can anyone anyone say to his parents that might help them?

On Tuesday this week I sat in my car after attending an excellent business networking launch of a new group and, feeling in a good mood, I took my phone off “silent” and looked through my messages.

One from one of my favourite cousins, a French-speaking Belgian (my mother was Belgian) began with the words – in French – “I am devasted to tell you that our son was killed in a motorcycle accident in the Philippines on Sunday.”

He was 31 years old. [Read more…]

Why writing capital Letters for the Wrong words makes them (and you) look Stupid

Are you one of the increasing number of people who think that all you need to make a word more important is to give it a capital letter?

Misuse-of-capital-letters

Very nice – but don’t overuse!

As my business partner (an ex-Oxford University publisher/editor/author) would say, “why capitalise your status as a Bricklayer? Does that really make it seem more important than bricklayer?”

Capital letters: after apostrophes, the most commonly abused characters in writing

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Snotty words and phrases: why you mustn’t write them

Do you ever write snotty (i.e. pompous, patronising, condescending) words or phrases … I hope, by accident?

Pompous language

Meet the Snotties.

It’s alarmingly easy to write stuff you think is precise and correct, only to find that as far as your target audience is concerned you come across as a pretentious old/young goat.

Who, moi? My writing is pompous, snotty and stuffy?

Could be. [Read more…]

How to write with a co-writer or two

Many of us – in any number of job roles – are well used to working within a team, which might suggest that writers can work in a team in a similar way. Uh, uh: not necessarily. Why? Read on. If you need to collaborate with another worker – whether for business or other activity, for a blog, article, report, white paper, brochure, etc…here are some tips you might find helpful.

Writing with more than one author

A camel is a horse designed (and written about) by a committee.

Probably the most difficult part of working within a team as one or two of the “writers,” is the way that these roles can become politically sensitive.

Why does being “the writer” in a team suggest authority?

[Read more…]

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