Friday, February 29, 2008

10 Rules for Writing Numbers and Numerals

How do you express numbers in your writing? When do you use figures (digits) and when do you write out the number in words (letters)? That is, when do you write 9 and when do you write nine?
  1. Number versus numeral. First things first, what is the difference between a number and a numeral? A number is an abstract concept while a numeral is a symbol used to express that number. “Three,” “3″ and “III” are all symbols used to express the same number (or the concept of “threeness”). One could say that the difference between a number and its numerals is like the difference between a person and her name.

  2. Spell small numbers out. The small numbers, such as whole numbers smaller than ten, should be spelled out. That’s one rule you can count on. If you don’t spell numbers out it will look like you’re sending an instant message, and you want to be more formal than that in your writing.

  3. No other standard rule: Experts don’t always agree on other rules. Some experts say that any one-word number should be written out. Two-word numbers should be expressed in figures. That is, they say you should write out twelve or twenty. But not 24.

  4. Using the comma. In English, the comma is used as a thousands separator (and the period as a decimal separator), to make large numbers easier to read. So write the size of Alaska as 571,951 square miles instead of 571951 square miles. In Continental Europe the opposite is true, periods are used to separate large numbers and the comma is used for decimals. Finally, the International Systems of Units (SI) recommends that a space should be used to separate groups of three digits, and both the comma and the period should be used only to denote decimals, like $13 200,50 (the comma part is a mess… I know).

  5. Don’t start a sentence with a numeral. Make it “Fourscore and seven years ago,” not “4 score and 7 years ago.” That means you might have to rewrite some sentences: “Fans bought 400,000 copies the first day” instead of “400,000 copies were sold the first day.”

  6. Centuries and decades should be spelled out. Use the Eighties or nineteenth century.

  7. Percentages and recipes. With everyday writing and recipes you can use digits, like “4% of the children” or “Add 2 cups of brown rice.” In formal writing, however, you should spell the percentage out like “12 percent of the players” (or “twelve percent of the players,” depending on your preference as explained in point three).

  8. If the number is rounded or estimated, spell it out. Rounded numbers over a million are written as a numeral plus a word. Use “About 400 million people speak Spanish natively,” instead of “About 400,000,000 people speak Spanish natively.” If you’re using the exact number, you’d write it out, of course.

  9. Two numbers next to each other. It can be confusing if you write “7 13-year-olds”, so write one of them as a numeral, like “seven 13-year-olds”. Pick the number that has the fewest letters.

  10. Ordinal numbers and consistency. Don’t say “He was my 1st true love,” but rather “He was my first true love.” Be consistent within the same sentence. If my teacher has 23 beginning students, she also has 18 advanced students, not eighteen advanced students.
Source :

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Writing Tips: Organize a poetry workshop

Tips for generating interest and topic ideas for conducting poet workshops. Ideas on exercises and reasonable goals.

Those of us who enjoy poetry often find reading and study venues quite scarce. This is especially true in small towns and rural areas. If you are planning to hold a poetry workshop, here are a few tips that can help you get organized and get the most from your efforts.

You should start by determining the interest for a workshop in your area. Placing an ad in the lifestyles section or classifieds of your local paper is a good way to advertise the workshop, but be sure to state that you are currently collecting information to determine if there is enough interest to warrant the workshop. As few as four or five people can make for a productive workshop, but you should decide in advance what your set minimum participation will be.

Another very effective means of advertising is to create flyers and post them at the local library, bookstores and schools. These are best done with some type of desktop software, but if that isn't possible handwritten announcements will suffice.

Check with the local high school to find out if they are willing to post announcements for you. Some schools will permit language instructors to make an announcement for you to their students. When approaching schools, be prepared to answer all their questions concerning what the objectives of the workshop will be, along with meeting times, location, and any fees or materials needed for the workshop.

Public libraries are generally very accommodating to literary projects. Check with their activities director to find out if a meeting room can be arranged with the library, as well as to establish a convenient day and time for the sessions. Often, they will help market the workshop by announcing it in their bulletins or newsletters and posting an announcement in the library.

Your workshop objectives should be clearly defined before your first meeting. If developing writing skills and the study of elements within poetry is the focus, give everyone who attends an outline of upcoming topics. On the other hand, if your workshop is more focused on reading and discussion of poetry, it may be beneficial to outline your sessions as you go along. This allows those who attend to give input, offering a wider variety of material.

Ideas for topics can be gathered from poetry writing books that go into detail on poetic tools, styles, forms and other elements. Also, find web sites of other workshops and gather ideas from their syllabus. It is a good idea to select one quality poetry writing book and one book of poems to be used from time to time, so that all participants can read and study on their own time. Certainly other materials can also be used, but having standardized books for everyone will help keep things moving along in an organized fashion.

Workshops can benefit greatly from guest speakers or video productions. For example, if you arrange for an experienced poet from a nearby university to speak, this will draw local interest. Such an event should be well advertised to gain the most local support. If you use a video production, such as a public broadcast production, explain before viewing what you believe to be essential about the presentation. After the viewing, open the room to collective discussion. This type of group brainstorming can trigger very interesting questions about the elements of poetry.

Workshops can range from a few weeks in duration, to ongoing weekly sessions. Much depends on your objectives, which may (and probably should) be altered somewhat after participants offer input on their expectations of the workshop. While a poetry workshop works best when there is someone at the helm leading the discussions and arranging topics, as it progresses the workshop should naturally become more of a cooperative effort. When that happens, everyone involved feels more of a vested interest and the overall group reaps the benefits of required enthusiasm.

Source :

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Writing from within the reality

It took the young American Jewish writer Todd Hasak-Lowy an entire summer to read Yaakov Shabtai's "Zichron Dvarim" (lit. "memory of things"). He read the book in Hebrew a few years ago. He was drawn into Shabtai's world, was fascinated by his long, precise sentences and felt that Shabtai was taking the words from his own consciousness, transferring his inner voice to the page. Just after finishing the book, Hasak-Lowy wrote his first short story, "How Keith's Dad Died," an attempt of sorts to import Shabtai's prose into English.

Now Hasak-Lowy's first book, the excellent short-story collection "The Task of This Translator" is being published in Hebrew. He wrote the stories in English from 1996 to 2002 and is now helping translator Yitzhar Vardi render them into Hebrew. There is something very strong in his writing: long, clever, precise sentences that offer a sharp look at the world and its people - and quite a few original ideas.

Hazak-Lowy was born in Michigan in 1969 to a Jewish family. He was a member of the Habonim-Dror Zionist youth movement, and after high school lived for a year on Kibbutz Urim in the Negev. As part of his bachelor's degree studies in history and the Middle East at the University of Michigan he studied at Tel Aviv University for one semester. It was there he decided to research Israeli society.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How To Develop Your Business Through Article Writing

There are many ways to gain exposure for your business: direct advertising, testimonials, branded website and article writing. Each method has the ability to increase your exposure in your target market and build credibility. Building credibility and establishing relationships is key to turning prospects into loyal customers. Article writing is the most effective way to build credibility. It is an irrevocable fact, however, that you can’t develop a business by bad article writing.

Here are some guidelines for effective article writing.
  • Learn to self-edit: The most effective way to ensure the quality of your article is to read your article over and over again, preferably out loud. This way, you will feel the flow of the article as well as read slowly enough to spot errors in the individual sentences. This will provide clues to help you restructure your article for increased readability.

  • Take a break mid-way: Many entrepreneurs who are not comfortable with article writing, prefer to sit down and write the article in one session. While it may seem like an effective strategy, it is best to avoid article writing in one session. It is advisable to take a break for several minutes or engage yourself in another activity, especially if you feel at a loss for words or are having trouble organizing your thoughts. When you resume the task of writing your article, you will be back with a fresh supply of new ideas.

  • Consult an expert: This could mean consulting a professional writer or simply reading a style guide book. There are plenty of style guide books in the market. Buy one to suit your business needs. There are style guides for technical writing, business writing and even freelance writing. Style guides provide tips on grammar and syntax.

  • Create a structure: Article writing requires a good structure. The best way to create a structure for your article is to form an outline. Outline the points you wish to discuss in your article and refer to it as you write.
The Body of the Article

Once you have formed the outline, your next step is to create the main body of the article. Here are four tips to help with your article writing:
  1. Create a peaceful atmosphere. Article writing is difficult when you are under stress.
  2. Gather all reference documents. Ensure that you have all resource documents and notes at hand before you begin to write. Having to break your train of thought to clarify a fact or search for a citation will affect the flow of your article. Gathering all reference documents ensures that you will be well organized. You will feel clumsy if you go searching for data midway through your article.
  3. Ensure that the facts and figure that you provide are correct. Blunders can create havoc for your reputation.
  4. Stay focused and stick to attainable schedules only. Hurried article writing compromises the quality and poorly written articles to not attract quality business prospects.
Enhance Visual Appeal

While the content of the article is what will ultimately turn words into traffic and attract a stream of customers to your website, the visual appeal of your articles also has an effect on it’s readability.

Here are the top four tips to enhance the visual appeal of your articles:
  1. Create headings and sub headings to enable readers navigate through your article easily.
  2. Limit paragraphs to no more than 8 to 10 sentences. Keep the sentences as short as possible.
  3. Use bulleted and numbered lists. This helps to enumerate your points of view easily and also to avoid lengthy sentences.
  4. Proofread your article. Nothing spoils your credibility more than an article with grammar and spelling errors. Take care to read your work minutely and exhaustively.
Remember, building and enhancing your business through article writing means sharing quality information. Kick start your business the right way by mastering the skills of effective article writing.

Source :

Monday, February 25, 2008

Experimental online writing course is elementary

The online course has changed the way people attend college. It has begun to affect high schools. And now, it is being introduced to local elementary school students.

A group of students from Ballston Spa, Fort Ann and Newcomb is participating in an online course on persuasive writing, an experiment by the local BOCES that could lead to other Internet programs.

The 12-week pilot program, which ends this week, involves 15 students, a mix of fifth- and sixth-graders chosen because they were talented writers and had high scores on their state English exams.

Officials wanted to offer courses that had a broader focus on a subject, known as an enrichment course. So for the trial run, they chose persuasive writing because of the importance of writing skills.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

How to Write and Publish Articles for the Internet

Many people are beginning to see the importance of writing and publishing articles on the Internet as part of their search engine marketing (SEM) campaign. This is also a great way to answer client questions, drive traffic to your Web site and be seen as an expert in your field. The challenge is how to begin writing.

Here's a sampling of the hundreds of Web sites that allow you to publish articles online:
  1. ArticleCentral
  2. Web Articles
  3. Ezine Articles
  4. Power Publish Directory
  5. 1Line Articles
Some of the above sites require registration along with a user name and password every time you publish. I recommend using the same user name and password with each publication. This makes things a little easier. I would also create a template in Notepad so when you're ready to publish everything will be in one place.

Use the following as an outline for your template:

Article title: This is the title for your article; make sure to have your main keyword phrase in this title.

Author biography: 200 characters. Some allow more, but I think shorter is better. Most article directories don't allow you to link to your Web site in the content of the article. If you're allowed two links, make one to the page with the article and the other to your home page. Make sure that readers know you're experienced in helping people with the specific problem that you write about and for more information go to your Web site.

Sample Bioigraphy: Terry Stanfield is a SEM consultant with over 15 years of sales and marketing experience. His company, Clickadvantage, manages PPC and SEO efforts for his lead generation and ecommerce clients. For more information, visit:

Some article directories don't have a location for your biography. In those cases, you can create a short biography that will fit at the end of your content. Remember, in most cases, the only place that points back to your Web site or the particular page of the article is the biography section.

Keyword list: It's best to use one or two keyword phrases. Then think of the questions behind these phrases and write your article to answer the questions. Limit yourself to two or three keyword phrases and use those phrases in the content of the article. These keywords will help keep you on track.

Article Content: Don't include the title of the article in this box. I suggest that articles be from 500 - 550 words, since the minimum number of words with many article directories is 500. Writing 550 words is a safe bet. If you have a long article (of a thousand words or more), break that into two articles.If you're new to writing articles, here's an outline you can follow:

Introduction: In the first one or two sentences introduce the problem that you’re going to solve by writing this article. The next sentence states what you're going to cover. i.e. Five reasons not to xxxxxx, six misconceptions about xxxxxxxx, the 5 best methods of xxxxxxxx - you get the idea. These sentences can also be used in your title.

The meat of the article should include:

Point1: Two or three sentences

Point2: Two or three sentences

Point3: Two or three sentences

Conclusion: As an example, "We just looked at three ways around the problem of ... The challenge is, what are you going to do from here?" Make some suggestions on what to do next. Invite them to look for upcoming articles on what you've written about or related topics.

Spelling and grammar are important. If you're not experienced in this area, find someone with the necessary qualifications to help you. Initially, add the content to your Web site and leave it there for a week or more before you publish the article in directories. This establishes your site as having the content first.

[Ed. Note: Make sure the content on your site is different from what you submit to the article directories. If it's the same, you could be penalized by the search engines for having duplicate content.]

Once you've used this outline for a while you'll become more comfortable with it. If you're looking for article ideas, a good source is from the questions you're being asked by your clients. This article was inspired by a question asked at one of my seminars. Also, whenever I write an email to someone about how to do something or how something works I save the e-mail and use it as the beginning of an new article.

[Ed. Note: If you're considering writing and submitting many articles, you might want to consider purchasing a program to automatically submit your content. This will save you a ton of time. The application I recommend is Article Announcer.]

About the Author
Terry Stanfield is a SEM consultant with over 15 years of sales and marketing experience. His company, Clickadvantage, manages PPC and SEO efforts for his lead generation and ecommerce clients. For more information, visit: Mechanics of Writing And Publishing Articles for the Internet.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Become a Successful Freelance Business Writer for Magazines

Writing about business, your major challenge will be injecting some life into IPOs, P/E ratios, 401(k)s and numbers, numbers everywhere. You’re often in the position of having to educate readers, yet you don’t want your article to read like a textbook or the small print of an annual report.

I recently spent some time in my library’s periodical room finding examples of business articles that were quite the opposite of dry. Here are some techniques skillful business writers use to make challenging intellectual material come alive with human interest and drama.

Explore the fringes. Any business or business sector with a high weirdness quotient becomes interesting. Worth magazine ran a well-written piece on an Internet pornography business with just the right touch of incredulity at the studio shenanigans and respect for the company’s profitability. In another issue of Worth, readers got a behind-the-scenes, hush-hush look at a private banking operation, whose clients are referred to in the article by pseudonyms.

Use a personal voice. Worth runs a good number of pieces in first person – such as the Internet pornography piece, and a gripping chronicle of one man’s marriage-threatening addiction to online auctions on eBay. Even Bloomberg Personal Finance, generally more conservative in tone, includes some first-person writing in this vein, surrounded by traditional journalistic facts: "Me, I’m patient. I’m not giving up on value. I’m not giving up on asset allocation, either. Yet many of us need to revisit the asset classes we’re using."

Find surprising anecdotes. An article in Worth on paying for health care begins with the case of a man who offered up his credit card for an $800 doctor’s bill instead of an insurance card – and asked for and received a discount. In Boston magazine, an article about how Boston has changed from a business capital to a branch office town begins with the story of the department store chain Jordan Marsh’s demise through the eyes of a local boy who grew up in its heyday and sold it off.

Insert quick ironic details. A profile in Boston magazine of the Citizens Bank CEO prominently mentioned that he once lived in an ashram in India. Likewise, Worth says this about a money manager whose performance is slipping: "And 'safe' isn’t exactly a virtue to the man whose idea of fun is sailing his 45-foot boat, Nunaga, into a storm off the Maine coast." In the Worth health-care piece, it turns out that the man who coaxed a discount from his doctor is a partner of a medical savings account management firm. Similarly, note this little fillip from the same piece: "The implacable daughter of a physician, Smith... files appeals on a client’s behalf when plans deny benefits."

Relate the esoteric to the familiar. If medical savings accounts seem new and forbiddingly complicated, tame them through a household name: "The basic notion was advocated by Ben Franklin (though, in his day, for fire insurance): Insure only the part of your risk you couldn’t possibly pay for, self-insure the rest, and bank the premium savings in an interest-earning account."

Put a mythical spin on money. In Worth, again, we don’t just read about billionaires, but about "The Ninth Zero Club" (which of course never actually meets or charges dues). The same lofty effect comes from a sentence like this, in a Worth real-estate piece: "Zinn may sound a bit like Scarlett O'Hara surveying Tara – though in the current housing market, Tara would be a teardown and the land would be subdivided into miniature 'estates.'"

Use unusual, colorful words. This example from Worth sent me to the dictionary: "Buy more stock or sell? You never know. It isn’t easy being an indecisive, anxiety-ridden mugwump." You can get a similar zing from using more familiar words in an unexpected context: "the value flameout"; "load up on market castoffs." Look how Worth brought up the two biggest names in travel guidebooks: "And what of the two F-words: Frommer's and Fodor's?" Bloomberg Personal Finance surprises occasionally too: "As you cuss traffic on your way to make a deposit to your savings account..."; "Then take all your funds and brokerage accounts and calculate a dollar-weighted average total return for the whole shebang."

Cop an attitude. This lead from Bloomberg Personal Finance assumes a certain cultural snobbishness on the part of readers: "Hearing a television guru tout a company with a name like Global Crossing, Level 3, or Qwest makes many of us wince. It isn’t that we’re Luddites – who doesn’t believe in the future of technology at this point? It’s just that we have a hard time buying a stock that sounds rather too much like a spaceship from Star Trek."

Use incongruous organizing metaphors. In Bloomberg Personal Finance, an article called "Anatomy of a Startup" began with the image of two different kinds of health checkups: "Traditional Chinese herbalists feel your pulse and lay on hands to monitor the flow of chi. Traditional American internists send fluids to the lab. Different approaches to the art of medicine, with identical conclusions: You’re fit. That’s how it goes with high-tech investing, too." The subheads for the "Anatomy of a Startup" piece carry through the biological metaphor: "Lifeblood: The Management"; "Great Bones: The Product"; "Lung Capacity: The Market": and "Muscle Mass: The Numbers." The illustrations pick up this theme as well.

Master these nine techniques, and you’ll be able to turn your fascination with business and talent for clear, accurate writing into a prosperous freelance writing career.

Source :

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"How Did YOU Start Writing?"

A reader sent me, via my website, a bunch of questions about my own beginnings as a writer. In answering her, I found myself struggling both to remember and to be honest. You can imagine, especially after the blog’s at times intense discussion concerning books on writing, that I’m apprehensive. But it’s just another kind of dare, right?

So with a deep breath, here goes:

“How did you start writing?”

When I started to write They Used to Call Me Snow White, But I Drifted, I was 31 years old. I had no idea what I was doing—that’s what you need to understand before I say anything else. I was deliriously relieved and delighted to have a tenure-track job at The University of Connecticut but I was still commuting back and forth to Manhattan, dividing my life (I thought I was doubling it but indeed I was splitting it—more about that in a later post). I was in the city three days a week and at UConn the rest of the time.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Giving Yourself the Right to Write

"But I've only been on the Internet 3 months! How can Iwrite an article?" That was my reaction back in 1999 when Ibegan my online career and heard that writing articles wasthe key to bringing targeted visitors to my website.

But I went ahead anyway and wrote my first article. I soondiscovered that writing articles is the quickest way tobuild your reputation as an expert in the world of onlinemarketing.

So don't wait for someone else's permission - start writingarticles and grab your space in the limelight.

Here are some other mental blocks and how to deal withthem:
  1. "I don't where to start". Start anywhere - it doesn't matter where. Putting words on paper is like planting a seed in your subconscious. Your mind will go to work on it while you're busy doing other things: while you're driving,while you're sleeping, while you're doing the dishes.Suddenly, out of nowhere, will come the next idea. That's the power of the subconscious and the power of putting words on paper.

  2. "I don't know how to finish". Again, it doesn't matter.Just write and the conclusion will come to you of it's own accord.

  3. "It's just an idea". This is another mental trap - the fear of turning ideas into reality. Look around you and realize that every skyscraper, every ocean-going liner, and every symphony was once "just an idea".

  4. "I'll do it tomorrow". Tomorrow never arrives. Give yourself a deadline. Imagine that your article must be finished within the next 12 hours - you'll be surprised how much you get done!

  5. "My article will be a flop". This is a big one - fear of failure. It's much safer to never try. But remember,with every article you write you are one step closer to developing your own unique style, your "voice". In that sense, you can never fail.

  6. "I can't get it right". Some times you simply can't find the right words. Turn off your inner critic and just write. When you have something down on paper, you have something to work with. But you can't work with something that remains an idea in your head.

  7. "I can't sort out my ideas". The easiest way toorganize your article ideas is to use a technique thatmirrors the way the mind works. This technique is calledMind Mapping. We are taught in school to use lists toorganize our ideas. But lists are linear and the minddoesn't think in a linear fashion. You can find out moreabout Mind Mapping at:
Michael Southon has been writing for the Internet for over 3 years. He has shown hundreds of webmasters how to use this simple technique to build a successful online business. Click
here to find out more:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Resume Writing Tips for Preparing A Curriculum Vitae

What Makes a Curriculum Vitae Stand Out?

You'll generate a better response with your curriculum vitae if it is well organized and is packed with relevant information to match and support your professional, academic or research objective.

As a Job Placement Specialist for the University of Washington, Bothell I worked with students submitting curriculum vitaes for graduate programs. In this capacity, I applied several unique strategies when writing each curriculum vitae. The first was to prioritize and list the most relevant academic, research, volunteer or work history experience first within the curriculum vitae. The second was to include an Objective and Summary of Qualifications section at the top of each C.V. The third was to incorporate many of the strategies and resume writing techniques you'll learn by perusing the resume tips in this site as well as in my sister site which offers 40 Free Resume and Job Search Workshops.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Writing is an easy job, says Theroux

Chennai: “Leaving home, having a mentor…that’s what helped me in my journey as a writer,” said Paul Theroux, in an interactive session at Landmark in Apex Plaza on Saturday last.

The event, organised under the auspices of the US Consulate General, Chennai turned out to be a memorable one, laced amply with sparkling wit and riveting anecdotes. The eminent American travel and fiction writer had the audience hooked to his words for an hour, taking them through his early years and personal journey as a writer.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Effective writing: It's time for these trendy, inane phrases to 'go missing'

Have you seen those articles about the catchy words and phrases of 2007? How about annoying phrases such as "went missing"?

As many of my readers have pointed out, "went missing" makes no sense. The phrase combines two antithetical concepts: movement and disappearance. One can "go home" or "go to the store," but can one "go missing"?

Nevertheless, print journalists and broadcasters have embraced the phrase. One might argue it's handy, it's better than "was found missing," it makes as much sense as "turned up missing," it's less melodramatic than "disappeared" and "vanished," and if one can "go crazy," why can't one "go missing"?

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Friday, February 15, 2008

A chance to brush up your writing - for free

Year after year through her manuscript evaluation business or while attending writers' conferences, Kathryn Craft heard authors wailing about being unrecognized by publishers, and even agents.

"Some agents get as many as 300 manuscripts a week. It is overwhelming," said Craft. "They often read them at night in their beds, since they are spending their days trying to get their current clients into print. You have got to get those first few pages attractive, or else you are going to be lost."

Craft is one of the seminar leaders for a new series by the Philadelphia Writers Conference, the PWC Community Outreach Free Forums. Each month through May, the Writers Conference will hold these free writing seminars at the Drexel University Anthony J. Drexel Picture Gallery.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Seven steps to superb online writing

In an email, you have 15 seconds to hook your reader. Only 15 seconds. Then they either close up and move on, or skip past all of your beautifully crafted paragraphs to the end, to find out what you really want from them. And this, even in cases where they've requested contact from you. Fifteen seconds is all you've got.

What's more, power cuts and inconvenience have made your readers more impatient and more dismissive of your message and the time it'll take to read it. So the goal is to write emails that are simple, understandable and compelling. Luckily for you, there are seven easy ways to achieve this. Read 'em quick before the power goes…

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Friday, February 8, 2008

Writing Tips to Help You Get Started on a Teaching Portfolio

Feeling Stuck?

Here are a few writing tips compiled by CIDR to help you find your ideas and put them into words. This is NOT a series of steps to be followed in sequence, but a set of suggestions -- some of which may be more helpful to you than others.

For now, we have tips for drafting a teaching statement and for annotating materials that you include in the appendix. Skip around, try a few things, and let us know what helps. If you come up with other helpful tips, let us know and we'll add them to the list.

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

Seminar to discuss best practices for grant writing

The Greater Louisville chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals will hold a breakfast seminar on best practices in grant writing on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

Sonia Johnson, director of development for the Cerebral Palsy School of Louisville Foundation, will speak about the top 10 mistakes people make in the granting writing process and the top 10 best practices.

The seminar will be held from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at The Olmsted, located on the Masonic Home campus off Frankfort Avenue in St. Matthews.

The cost to attend is $20 for members and $25 for nonmembers.

Reservations must be made by 1 p.m. on Feb. 21, and cancellations must be made by noon on Feb. 22. For reservations, e-mail

Source :

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

How To Edit Your Articles As You Write

Increase your ezine subscribers by submitting articles once or twice a week to the opt-in ezines. Read by thousands, even hundreds of thousands, you get 10-25 new subscribers for each submission. Your articles also bring people to your Web site to buy your products. Use this checklist to edit your own work.

Knowing these benefits, you want to create and submit as many excellent articles as you can. At times, you have the articles complete, but don't have anyone handy to edit them. While it's best to get at least two other edits from business associates, you can edit your articles yourself with a little help.

Use this checklist to edit your own work:
  • Start your introduction with a question or startling fact. You must hook your readers with something that reaches their emotions.

  • Make your introduction only a few sentences. Your readers want to get to the heart of your article fast. They want easy-to- read quick tips. Long stories can bring a yawn to your reader.

  • At the end of your introduction, include your article's thesis to stay on track and make your article clear and compelling. For instance, "use this checklist to edit your own work."

  • Make all of your sentences short. Since standard sentence length is 15-17 words, make most of your sentences under that number. Complex sentences and multiple phrases make the reading tougher. Make it easy for your readers to find the subject and verb of each sentence, so they get the point fast.

  • Avoid dull, slow sentences. To avoid passive construction, start them with a subject, and then follow with a verb. For instance, "The coach marketed her business and books through submitting articles online" is an active sentence. "The coach's books were marketed online through submitting articles." is passive. Drop linking verbs such as "is," "was," "seemed," or "had." Replace them with power, active verbs. Instead of "She is beautiful," you could say, "Her beauty compels you to stare at her."

  • Aim for compelling, clear copy. Write for the 8-10th grade reader. Don't try to impress with pompous words such as "utilize." Always think "What's in it for them?"

  • Use specific nouns and names. General references don't engage your readers' emotions. Let them see the size, color, and shape. Rather than say, "Write your book fast to make lifelong income," say "Write and finish your book fast so you can take that long vacation to a Caribbean island." Money alone doesn't motivate, but what we can do with it does.

  • Let go of certain adverbs. Words like very, suddenly, and sparingly, tell instead of show. Use adverbs as often as you celebrate your birthday. Did I show, rather than tell? Your readers are hungry to experience feelings as well as picture themselves in your examples.

  • Let go of adjectives. Instead of saying, She is a super-intelligent person," you could say, "She's a genius."

  • Appeal to the senses of sight, sound, and emotions. Telling is not effective. Instead of "Buy this book today because it is so useful," say, "Would you like to double, even quadruple your Online income in three months?"

  • Cut redundancies. Too much repetition in your articles speaks boring or "talking down" to your readers. Be willing to part with some of your "precious" words. Your first edit should reduce your words at least by one-fourth.

  • Don't use pompous words to try to impress your reader.

    Use the shortest, simplest, most well-know word. Check your word's number of syllables. The more syllables, the more difficult.

  • Keep the subject and verb as close together as possible. Don't make your reader work to get the meaning.

  • Use the present or past tense of the verb rather than the "-ing" form of the verb. Instead of "she is singing," say, "she sings or she sang.

  • Put your point at the end of a sentence, a paragraph, or chapter for emphasis. This position hooks the reader to pause and notice or hooks him to keep reading.

  • Cut clichés. Once, original metaphors, clichés age and become trite. Instead of "Birds of a Feather Flock Together," you could say, "Birds of a Feather Need to Fly Away."
Make your articles sculptured and painted like a fine work of art. Your word choices do make a difference--both in commercial acceptance as well as audience understanding.

Self-editing will help.

Judy Cullins, 20-year book and Internet Marketing Coach, Author of 10 eBooks including "Write your eBook Fast," and "How to Market your Business on the Internet," she offers free help through her 2 monthly ezines, The Book Coach Says...and Business Tip of the Month at and over 140 free articles. Email her at

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

11 Essential Tips to Writing the Ultimate Tutorial

Why Write a Tutorial?

Creating value-packed content is key in attracting and retaining readership. One of the best ways to create such value-packed content is to write an informative tutorial or guide on a subject that is sorely lacking one. Writing such a tutorial can be a great way to develop your reputation, increase web traffic to your site, build incoming links to your site, and can also make you an authority on the given topic.

tutorials are a great source of traffic that is maintained over time. Regular blog posts bring in the majority of their visitors during the first couple days of their existence. Afterwards they might as well be deleted from your blog because they will most likely rot in the archives, never to be read again. Tutorials on the other hand, provide consistent traffic that will bring in more traffic over its life time than many of your other posts. It is not a stretch to say that a good tutorial can bring in as much traffic (or more) compared to 20 well written posts.

Take for example, Caroline MiddleBrook’s Twitter Guide or Skelliewag’s Flickr Guide. Both are great examples of a well written tutorial that have greatly enhanced the popularity of the author by providing tremendous value to its readers.

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Monday, February 4, 2008

New Copywriters Are Looking For a Recession-proof Home Business

Veteran copywriter and writing teacher Angela Booth reports that people with writing skills are looking to copywriting to provide security against recession.

"Where last year hobbyist writers would be working on a novel or writing short stories, this year they want to capitalize on their writing skills" she said.

She went on to explain: "Their thinking is that copywriting is a form of writing that’s recession-proof. No matter how good or bad the economy gets, people still need to buy and sell, and as long as there are buyers and sellers, there will always be a need for people who can write copy"

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Power in pen: creative writing

HOWLAND — In this age of abbreviation-loaded e-mails and instant messages, some wonder if writing is becoming a lost art.

Don’t say that to more than 130 seventh- and eighth-graders from three counties who competed Saturday in the Power of the Pen District Tournament at Howland Middle School.

“I just love to be creative,” said Karley Sullivan, an eighth-grader at LaBrae Middle School. “It’s great to think out of the box.”

“It’s fun to make things up,” said Anthony Yassall, 13, a Howland seventh-grader. “I think writing makes you become an all-around better person.”

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Friday, February 1, 2008

How to Write an Annotated Bibliography

Writing an annotated bibliography for your research paper requires some experience and professional advice. Our writers have come up with a list of tips for writing an annotated bibliography that are based on the information available online.
  • How to Write an Annotated Bibliography.

    1. The Purpose of Writing
    2. The Process
    3. Important Questions
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