Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Is Your Handwriting Really Affected By A Writing Desk?

Initially, when I set out on my quest to purchase a writing desk for my office, I did not entertain the idea of buying an industrialized looking desk, or a heavy executive style that would inevitably overwhelm the room. Scanning through the numerous types of desks, I searched for styles that would appeal to my decorating preference, as well as falling within my budget. Surprisingly, I discovered that all writing desks are not created equal.

Improving your handwriting is best done on a tilted writing surface. Many calligraphers and graphic artists tend to use slanted writing desks more than other styles. Writing at an angle is better for your posture, thereby eliminating the need to hunch. The design and style of your writing instrument, the surface of your writing desk and your seating position play an important role in learning, as well as writing.

Some portable writing desks come with a book rest for comfortable reading. Not being confined to a certain area for writing, these portable writing stations, desks and slopes were designed for mobility of personal writing utensils, while adding style and function.

To understand the factors affecting the way we write, first start by examining the surface of your writing desk. If we think about jotting something down on a piece of paper without any support underneath, besides the support of our hands, we will see that our writing may not be very legible. Angles and surfaces become a major player as we look for support and stability when writing things down.

Try this experiment: Write something on a sheet of paper stationed on top of an unfinished wooden surface or a cultured marble surface. Even if you have fabulous penmanship, the texture in the natural state of these surfaces will not permit a smooth and fluid choreography between your writing instrument, paper and handwriting. Whether or not your writing area is portable or stationary, the design, dimensions, surface and angle of your writing surface are pivotal elements that ultimately affect your handwriting.

Kym Gordon Moore is the author of the eBook, “Alphabet Soup: 5 Main Ingredients for Turning Words into a Bowl of Hot Topics!” Many of her articles, essays, short stories and poems appeared in a variety of magazines, newspapers, ezines and anthologies. She is a creative marketing strategist for Moore 2 It Productions and coordinates cost effective, creative marketing packages for budget conscious new authors and new small business owners.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cover Letter Writing Tips

Tip #1: Always Try To Submit One
Since you're usually up against many other candidates for the job, a cover letter is an ideal way to stand out. Although a cover letter might not be a requirement, make it a habit to include a well-written, customized letter with every resume you submit.

Tip #2: Make It Personal
How likely are you to read a letter that's addressed "To Whom It May Concern?" If you can, try to learn the name and title of the person making the hiring decisions - that way, you'll be able to personally address your cover letter, and have a much higher chance that your resume will get the attention it deserves.

Tip #3: Learn About The Job & The Company
Your chance of landing that first interview is greatly increased if you demonstrate some knowledge about the job you're applying for and the company hosting it. Read the job description very carefully, and research the company on the Internet. Go to a search engine such as or, and type in the company name, then click on the company's web site.

Tip #4: Answer The Question: "How Can I Help This Employer?"
After you've read through the job description and learned about the company from the Web, you should have a good idea what they're looking for. Instead of using your cover letter to let them know what you're looking for, let the company know how you can meet their challenges by improving efficiencies, saving them money, etc. In the process you'll not only demonstrate an active interest in their organization, but stress why they should hire YOU for this job.

Tip #5: Use Your Own Voice
Resumes, by their nature, tend to be factual and very dry. A well-written cover letter, on the other hand, gives you an opportunity to communicate more directly with the employer, and come across uniquely and individually. Write as you'd speak, but express yourself professionally and emphasize what you can do for the company by talking about the results you have achieved.

Tip #6: Get To The Point
You're probably very busy trying to find a job, but keep in mind that the employer is even busier filling them. Although you want to customize each cover letter with job and company information, and show the wisdom of hiring you, it's best to keep your letter to at most two or three paragraphs. So stick to what's important, and put yourself in the reader's shoes: Is your letter interesting? Is it a quick read? Would you want to interview the person who wrote it?

Tip #7: Proofread, Proofread, Proofread!
A great cover letter is the perfect chance for you to show your stuff - it's also the perfect chance for you to ruin your chances with typos, misspellings, bad grammar, or factually incorrect information. Double- and triple-check your letter after you're done, and it might even help if you read it out loud. Share your letter with friends or family, and have them read and proof it, too.

Source :

Monday, April 28, 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.

Drafting a Teaching Statement

Back to the Beginning. Think about the questions you ask when you're planning to teach:
  • What do I want students to learn?
  • What can I do to facilitate their learning?
  • What obstacles are there to student learning?
  • What can I do to help students overcome these obstacles?
If you feel like your philosphy statement is too abstract or impersonal, try answering the question, "What does this look like when I do it in class?"

Think about the times you have helped people learn in other situations, even when you weren't officially in the role of "teacher"; for example,
  • advising
  • tutoring
  • working with patients or clients
  • mentoring a new associate
  • working as a camp counselor
How is teaching and learning in those situations similar to what you do in class? How is it different?

Switch roles. If you originally wrote your philosophy statement from a teacher's perspective, try writing it from a learner's point of view. What does a learner typically experience in a class that you teach?

Annotating Materials for the Appendix

Supporting Materials. Select examples that demonstrate or reinforce the points you want to make in statements about your teaching philosophy, methods, or strategies.

Annotations are essential to hold everything together. They don't need to be elaborate or extensive, but they need to be clear enough for someone who's looking at your portfolio for the first time to understand what's important about it.

How to annotate? Write about a teaching activity, using these guiding questions:
  • What did I want students to learn?
  • How did it go (and how do I know how it went)?
  • What would I do differently next time?
Everything is a rough draft. Don't worry too much about making everything perfect the first time through. For now, simply go through the examples you want to include in the appendix and annotate on post-it notes:
  • Why do I think this belongs in the appendix?
  • If someone had never seen this before, what would I want them to notice about it?
Imagine your audience. For example, during a job interview, what would someone ask about
  • a sample lesson outline or class activity that you've included?
  • examples of your students' work?
  • summaries of your student evaluations?
    Once you've imagined their questions, write your annotations based on your answers to those questions.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Short Story Tips

Why do some stories truly ring in the mind while others leave you with the feeling of 'what was the point?'. To make your short stories more effective, try to keep in mind these following points while writing:
  1. Have a clear theme.

    What is the story about? That doesn't mean what is the plot line, the sequence of events or the character's actions, it means what is the underlying message or statement behind the words. Get this right and your story will have more resonance in the minds of your readers.

  2. An effective short story covers a very short time span.

    It may be one single event that proves pivotal in the life of the character, and that event will illustrate the theme.

  3. Don't have too many characters.

    Each new character will bring a new dimension to the story, and for an effective short story too many diverse dimensions (or directions) will dilute the theme. Have only enough characters to effectively illustrate the theme.

  4. Make every word count.

    There is no room for unnecessary expansion in a short story. If each word is not working towards putting across the theme, delete it.

  5. Focus.

    The best stories are the ones that follow a narrow subject line. What is the point of your story? Its point is its theme. It's tempting to digress, but in a 'short' you have to follow the straight and narrow otherwise you end up with either a novel beginning or a hodgepodge of ideas that add up to nothing.
Source :

Friday, April 25, 2008

Successful proposal writing: persuasion

Most folk don't enjoy having to write proposals, memos, reports and the dozen other things that seem to get in the way of their real work. Nonetheless, if it's your job to do it, you need to be able to do it well.

To do this, we need to look at how to construct a persuasive argument. To write persuasively, you need to answer four key questions before you start:

How are you perceived by the person reading your proposal?

If you received a stock-market tip as an unsolicited e-mail message would you take it seriously? Of course not. What, though, if you received a tip from a long-time friend who was a rich and successful investor? Would you take that seriously? Almost certainly.

The differences here are credibility and trust.

How likely is your proposal to be successful if it lacks these qualities?

So, before you start to write your proposal, you need to know in what regard you're held. Do you have an existing reputation for credibility, or will you need to establish one?

How can you show that you're providing what the client needs?

You must overcome the natural suspicion that you're proposing something that's in your own best interests. If you're really more interested in getting the grant, increasing your budget, selling a product or lessening your workload, it will be very difficult to establish a persuasive argument to the contrary.

It is thus vitally important that you really are submitting a proposal that will solve the reader's problems. It's no use submitting a pie-in-the-sky proposal and hoping that the reader won't notice that you're the main beneficiary.

You need to come up with a win-win proposal that makes such good sense that the reader would be a fool not to accept it.

Is your proposal presented well?

There's more to a good presentation than just putting your proposal in a nice binding. Indeed, an overly elaborate binding can backfire. You run the risk that your proposal might be seen as having more form than substance.

Here are some things you need to consider. Will it stand by itself, or will it be accompanied by an audio-visual presentation? Will it be the only one on the client's desk, or will it be one of a dozen? What length is the client expecting? Does is contain a clear summary of the problem and your proposed solution?

Who is the message directed at?

It helps to understand a bit about the preferences of the person (or persons) reviewing your proposal. What type of information do they like to receive?

For example, let's suppose you knew that either John or George would read your proposal. John is a real "numbers man" -- he likes to receive pages and pages of technical details and return-on-investment analyses. He likes charts and data. George, on the other hand, is an "ideas man" -- he goes with his gut. He'll carefully read your executive summary and recommendations, flip through the rest of the pages then make his decision.

Would knowing which of these two people was going to review your proposal change the way you wrote it?

Sure it would. Here then are a couple of questions to ask yourself about the person (or persons) who will evaluate your proposal:
  • Do they focus on details, or do they prefer the big picture?
  • Are they willing to act unilaterally, or are they consensus-oriented?
  • Are they willing to take risks, or are they conservative?
  • Are they technically adept, financially adept or both?
  • Are they the ultimate decision maker, or do they have to bump your proposal up the line?
These may not be the easiest questions to answer, but armed with this sort of extra information, you're in a better position to construct a persuasive argument.

For more information on proposal writing, have a look at my e-book Business Proposal Writing Made Easy.

Source :

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Creative Writing : Fiction

Fiction Writers

Fiction writers learn to write by writing. Although writing is an art, there are skills, tools, and techniques that can be learned in order to develop talent. And constructive criticism and feedback can help this process.

To be a good writer you need to read a lot, listen and observe everything about you carefully, and write a lot. Writing a lot takes discipline, because writing can actually be hard work- but very satisfying. Setting up a routine for writing is important; it is very easy to find something else to do besides writing. A compulsion to write is very useful.

Fiction writers should have a good grasp of the language, but most of all they must be storytellers. A really good story can compensate for less-than-brilliant writing, but brilliant writing will not save a bad story.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Five Tips for Writing CVs For Overseas Employers

Dreaming about a job abroad? Or maybe your spouse is transferring overseas, and you're scouting career options. When applying to employers abroad, you'll need a curriculum vitae (CV) -- the job hunter's document used outside of the U.S. that corresponds to an American-style resume. The differences between them are subtle but a CV is essential to moving through the first step of applying for positions.

There's no one way to write a CV. Still, there are some common elements and themes. Here are five things you'll need to know when writing a CV for international employers.
  1. Get personal.

    Your background and personal characteristics are important to many employers in European and Asian markets, says resume writer Wendy Enelow, president of Enelow Enterprises Inc. in Lynchburg, Va. At the top of your document under your name, list your birthday (including year), place of birth, marital status, number of children, and health status. A passport-size photo goes on the top right corner. If applying to employers in Asia, list your educational history, starting with kindergarten.

    Include any foreign languages you know and classes you are taking, along with travel experience (vacations count). Put these at the top or in greater detail under a separate heading. You'll be showing that you are a part of the global community, says resume writer Myriam-Rose Kohn, executive director of Jeda Enterprises, an international career-coaching firm in Valencia, Calif. "It is important to present yourself as culturally-oriented," she says.

  2. No 'default' option.

    CVs vary from country to country and company to company. In some countries, employers want only job-history basics; in others, certificates of work and letters of recommendation typically are included, says Daniel Porot, president of Porot & Partners, a career-coaching firm in Geneva. Find out if the employer has preferences about what it wants to see on your document. Sometimes a company's Web site will list its CV requirements, according to Ms. Enelow. If not, you can call the company to ask, she suggests.

  3. MacJobs in the limelight.

    When job hunting in most countries outside the U.S., you'll need to list your professional experience in chronological order, starting with your earliest jobs and ending with your most recent position. However, British employers prefer a reverse-chronological list similar to the typical American resume. In the increasingly global economy, says Ms. Enelow, some international employers may prefer this approach, so if it's a good idea to check if there is a preference.

  4. There's no 'I' in 'team.'

    "You don't want to boast," says Ms. Kohn. In many countries, she says, "everything is a team effort." Present your achievements in the context of your role within your group, be it as a low-level member or a leader, says Mr. Porot. If you were not solely responsible an accomplishment, use nouns rather than verbs to describe it. For example, write "Maintenance of profitable management," rather than "Maintained profitable management." When describing individual successes attributable to only you, use verbs.

  5. Keep it simple.

    Skip the fancy fonts, and use boldface for only section titles. Take the same plain-Jane approach in your word choice. Overly sophisticated language is likely to put off hiring managers. Use words that fit your experience level, says Ms. Kohn.
Write to James Caverly at


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Nine E-book Writing Tips

These days it's quite easy to make a lot of money online writing and selling e-books and other information products, plus, writing an e-book is a virtually risk free endeavor. Even in the unlikely event that you don't make any money, the initial investment is very small, that you have almost nothing to lose. If you are considering writing your own e-books then here are some e-book writing tips:
  1. Write about something that interests you. When you discuss a topic you enjoy, the e-book practically writes itself. You'll provide readers with valuable information, and make more money as a result.
  2. Use conversational language. Talk to your readers as if they are your friends and family.
  3. Before you write the e-book, create an outline containing topic ideas and points you want to discuss. As you write, follow the outline and flesh out the content.
  4. Set a deadline for completing the e-book. It will take some time to get everything written and proofread, but it's all worthwhile in the end. Don't rush to complete an e-book, quality work is more important than getting the job done in a day. Establish a deadline by estimating how many pages you can write on a daily basis, and then go from there. For instance, if you decide to write a 400 page e-book, and can schedule in 10 pages per day, plan to finish the book in 40 days.
  5. Always proofread and edit the book before publishing. Grammar and spelling errors are unacceptable if you plan to sell a lot of copies. To be blunt, it looks unprofessional and is a big turn off for most readers.
  6. Craft a great title that will really catch people's attention. If you can hook people with an amazing title, you'll come out a winner in the end. It doesn't matter how great your e-book is in between the covers, if you don't have a super title, no one will get past the first page.
  7. Create a professional cover. Hire someone to design a graphic e-book cover for you, it's worth the small investment. A catchy e-book cover will help you make more sales.
  8. Know your audience. If you write with a specific target market in mind, your e-book is more likely to contain sales worthy information. Do some market research and find out what your audience wants to learn, what will make them grab a copy of your e-book? Discover problems that haven't been solved, and create an e-book that offers the solution.
  9. Write sales copy that will cause your book to fly off the virtual shelves. In your sales letter, talk about the benefits of your book -- this is the best way to successfully sell e-books online. If copywriting isn't your strong point, hire a professional copywriter to handle the task. It will cost you a little bit of money, but it's worth it. If you've written a high quality e-book and then fail when it comes to marketing, all your hard work will have been for nothing. A good sales letter will convert prospective buyers into paying customers. For much more info on writing and selling your own high profit e-books visit my link below.
David O Connell: How to Write Publish and Market Your Own High Profit e-books


Monday, April 21, 2008

How To Write Great Queries Without Resorting To Threats, Bribery or Coercion

Imagine you are a literary agent sitting beside a box brimming with queries. You lift your letter knife high and the sun glints off its blade, illuminating your evil grin. "Whose dreams can I dash today?" you chuckle as you pluck the first victim from the pile.

Or try this: an agent waits by the mailbox, checking her watch for the tardy mail truck. Nervously twisting her hands, she finally sees the truck come reeling around the corner, and her heart skips a beat. Perhaps the ideal query letter will come today!

Neither is true, but you could never tell that from the query letters agents receive! Writers hear the horror stories, obsess about query writing and STILL botch it up so horribly that only the most tenderhearted, patient, brand new agent will even look at their material.

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Effective writing: Don't place those commas willy-nilly; there are rules

Not all commas are the same. Some are mandatory, others optional. Want to know the difference?

First, you need to ask yourself: Am I a heavy punctuator or a light punctuator? If you're a heavy punctuator, life is easy. You use commas here, you use commas there, you use commas everywhere.

If you're a light punctuator, you must be more discriminating. You use only mandatory commas. Although you work harder than a heavy punctuator, you seem up to date. Heavy punctuators drop in so many optional commas that their style seems cumbersome and old-fashioned. Light punctuators prefer to let the text flow without extraneous punctuation, a style that appeals to the modern eye.

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Friday, April 18, 2008

How to Write a Book Tips

Have you picked up a book to read and noticed a wall of text or a confusing order? Did it inspire you to read on? Or did it cause you to lose heart and put the book down?

The truth is poor organization is a turn off to most book readers. Chances are the author does not get a second chance. Not many will wade through sloppy book writing and organization to get to the real message.

Excellent book organization pulls your readers in for the read. Whether you are writing solutions for your clients in the work field or inspirational tips for the volunteers in a cause, your well organized words will work powerfully for you.

Ready to write a book your readers love to read? Start with this short checklist to translate your professionalism to more profits. Then write your ticket to success through a well organized book.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Seven Tips for Writing An Online Profile for Work

Haven't posted a MySpace or other Web page? You may yet be pulled into online profiles -- at work. A growing number of employers are encouraging or requiring professionals to post brief biographies on corporate intranet sites as well as companies' consumer-directed Web sites.

Companies use the intranet profiles to let employees throughout the organization know about their colleagues' expertise and backgrounds to share knowledge and insights. On public Web sites, they're typically intended to let customers, the media and others know a bit about key employees. Recruiters have been known to scan these pages, too.

Whether it's for your employer's Web site or a social networking forum, your online profile could have an impact on your career. Here are seven tips for writing one:
  1. Fill it with details.

    The more information you enter, the more likely a person seeking someone with your background will find you, says Anne Berkowitz, chief executive officer at SelectMinds, a technology firm in New York that runs online profile pages for about 50 U.S. businesses. If you list only your job title or department, someone searching for a professional with your particular expertise or experience may not find you, she says.

    Luis Duran, 28, posted a profile on International Business Machines Corp.'s intranet shortly after joining the Armonk, N.Y.-based information-technology company in May as a consultant in its Fairfax, Va., office. Soon after, he says a manager sought him out to help on a project. She was looking for a junior-level consultant in his area, with experience at a government agency and in business-process redesign, says Mr. Duran. His profile described all those criteria, he says.

  2. Avoid touchy subjects.

    These include politics, religion or other hot-button topics, says Charlotte Kullen, vice president, public relations and marketing at the Bellmarc Cos. in New York City. The real-estate company encourages its Realtors to post profiles on its Web site, so clients and colleagues can learn more about them, she says. Ms. Kullen, who edits them for the firm, says she's flagged several that describe the author's church- and synagogue-related activities, such as fund-raising work. "It can be your favorite thing to do, but if it's going to turn off 50% of readers, you shouldn't put it in your profile," she says.

    It's OK to list hobbies because that's one way you might bond with someone who reads your profile, adds Ms. Kullen. Just don't cite those likely to make a poor impression, such as playing beer pong.

  3. Look the part.

    Many profile formats have an option for posting photos, says business psychologist Wendy Alfus-Rothman, president of Wenroth Consulting, a leadership-development and executive-coaching firm in New York. "If you work for a company that expects people to post photos in their profiles, and most do, then you need to also," she says. "You want to show that you understand the rules and that you play by them."

    Dress in professional attire for your photo, even if your typical work style is casual, adds Dr. Alfus-Rothman. One client posted a photo of himself on a company intranet and a business-networking site with a jacket hanging over his shoulder, razor stubble and a smirk. "He got more offers for dates than he did for business prospects," she says. After replacing that photo with a more professional-looking one, he began connecting more with others about career opportunities, she says.

    Check the quality of your photo before posting it by emailing yourself a copy to see how it looks on the Web, adds Dr. Alfus-Rothman.

  4. Make it search friendly.

    Ensure that your profile contains the key words a person trying to find someone with your background would use, says Alesia Benedict, executive director at, a resume-writing firm in Upper Saddle River, N.J. Also, bear in mind variations on those words. "Manager" and "supervisor" are often used interchangeably, so if both words describe your career, find room for each. Just make sure the language flows, says Ms. Benedict.

    Profiles typically limit the amount of text you can enter, so it's important to choose your words wisely, Ms. Benedict says. She recommends avoiding unneeded descriptors, such as "results oriented" or "dynamic" -- they are unlikely to be used in a search.

  5. Use abbreviations.

    Most people plug in abbreviations when searching profile databases, says Ms. Benedict. A hiring manager is more likely to enter "MBA" than type out "master's in business administration." Likewise, avoid spelling out numbers, she says. "You want to write '8' years of experience versus 'eight,' " she suggests.

  6. Say it with numbers.

    Describe how your work has contributed to the bottom line at your current and past employers, says Supriti Bhandary, head of talent engagement and development for the Americas for Wipro Technologies, a technology-services company in East Brunswick, N.J., a unit of Wipro Ltd. in Bangalore. "You want to show that you increased sales by a certain percent, instead of just saying you were responsible for generating sales," she says. "Numbers jump out at people and help them conceptualize your accomplishments."

  7. Proofread.

    Give your profile the same level of attention as you would your resume by thoroughly checking for spelling and grammatical mistakes, says Victor Palumbo, a managing partner in Chicago at Lucas Group, an Atlanta-based executive-search and staffing firm. "I've seen ones where they say they're an expert in financial analysis, but they spell 'analysis' wrong," he says. "A typo is a red-flag indicator that you haven't thought things through very well. It just shows a lack of attention to detail and, in certain industries or fields, that's critical."
Write to Sarah E. Needleman at

Source :

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

'Technology helps boost students' writing skills

Students' writing skills were in the spotlight in early April, as a new report suggested that an increasing number of U.S. students understand the basics of writing. And one of several possible reasons for this trend could be the growing use of writing software tools among educators.

Results from the latest writing test administered as part of the National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as the Nation's Report Card, show that average writing scores were slightly higher in 2007 than in previous writing assessments in 1998 and 2002. Though the percentage of students performing at or above the basic achievement level also increased since 2002, the percentage of students who met the "proficient" level did not.

The test was given to eighth- and 12th-graders nationwide last year. Students had to demonstrate narrative, informative, and persuasive writing skills.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

How and Where to Publish Your Short Stories

One reader asks:

“What advice would you give to someone who has bags of passion and loves life and just happens to have lots of stories and would like to know how to publish or where to publish?”

I’m really glad this reader writes from the heart. A short story which is meaningful to you, which celebrates life and which is written with real spirit is much more likely to meet with success than a technically good story without meaning for the author.

If you’ve got a stack of short pieces that you’ve written for your own enjoyment and that of friends, consider sharing them with a wider audience. There are dozens of ways to do this, from entering writing competitions to submitting work to magazines to self-publishing, and I’ll discuss a few below.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

How to Write a Speech

As you hang up the telephone, the icy fingertips of panic grip your stomach; your heart races. Your most recent project was delivered on time, within budget, and is approaching payback one year ahead of schedule. As a result, your Industry Association wants you to address their annual convention. Relax! They believe you have something to offer. Here are some steps to ease your palpitations.

  • Remember that all great speeches, and even some not so great, require shape. The old saying is hard to beat: "Tell them what you will tell them; tell them; then tell them what you told them."
  • "Shake hands with the audience." You have something worthy of being said. Former Ambassador Robert Strauss used to begin his addresses like this: "Before I begin this speech, I have something to say." This passage was always composed in a style that enabled him to reclaim a powerful tone for the instructive portion of his remarks. Put on your smile; calm your nerves, then get to work. You may want to start with a smashing one-liner or an anecdote.
  • Rise to the occasion. In other words, feel passionately about your topic. Recall old Uncle Ned's tear jerking toast at the wedding? Even ordinary folks can deliver great moments of oratory if they rise to the occasion. Make sure the audience feels how important the topic is to you, so that they begin to think about why they should care.
  • Build clear and sensible transitions (segues) from one thought to the next. The biggest mistake speakers and writers make is to assume people will follow their leaps of logic. Spell out to the audience when you are taking a turn in your thoughts with phrases like: "As an example of this" or "This brings us to the larger problem of," and so forth.
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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Writing a Newsletter for Your Business

Newsletters can be an excellent marketing tool as they can be used to promote the products and services provided by a business. A good business newsletter can help to increase business and to make a sell. If you’re stumped on how to write an effective newsletter for your business, then consider utilizing the following strategies.

Before you produce the newsletter, you need to determine its purpose. Ask yourself who you’re writing the newsletter for. Since we’re talking about business newsletters, chances are that your readers are customers and potential customers. You want to cater your newsletter specifically to them.

Once you’ve identified the purpose, include information about your business. Include articles that emphasize company accomplishments and success stories of products sold. Articles such as these help lend credibility to your business.

Include people in your newsletter. A strong connection with the reader can be established by showing who your work is done for and who it is done by. Including guest columns about company successes written by employees or customers is a great way to show readers that you are making a difference by producing quality products.

An easy way to impress readers is to include a section listing your business’s most recent statistics. Along with sell statistics, you can include customer satisfaction ratings. Let those you serve vouch for the quality of service your business provides.

Include a “frequently asked questions” section. Identify at least five of the most asked questions about your business and/or the products and services it provides. Then provide both the questions and answers in your newsletter. This is a great way to not only provide information about your business but to solve questions about your business as a whole.

Source :

Friday, April 11, 2008

Learn the Basics of Writing a Grant Proposal

The Fayette County Public Library has partnered with the Georgia Humanities Council to present a free two-hour introduction to writing a grant proposal. The grant writing seminar will be held in the community meeting room at the Fayette County Public Library in downtown Fayetteville, on Tuesday, April 22 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. There is no cost to attend, but seating is limited, so those planning to attend should sign up in advance at the library, either in person or by calling 770-461-8841.

Arden Williams, program officer for the Georgia Humanities Council (GHC), will teach the basics of grant writing in general, as well as the specifics on how to prepare a competitive grant application to the GHC. The GHC supports educational activities that help Georgians learn about our heritage and stories, providing funding to a range of humanities programs including oral history projects, book discussions, teacher workshops, speaker series and historical exhibits. Questions about the Georgia Humanities Council or the content of the grant writing seminar can be directed to 404-523-6220 ext. 10, or

The seminar is hosted by the Fayette County Public Library and the Friends of the Fayette County Public Library. The Fayette County Public Library is located behind the Fayette County administrative complex in downtown Fayetteville, at the southwest corner of Highways #85 and #54. For additional information, please contact the library at 770-461-8841.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Travel Writing Tips

Here are some basic tips on how to write a half decent travel article. These are suggestions, not out-and-out rules. The best travel writers are flexible in their styles and change them to suit the story, but you are not yet the best [if you are reading this], so bear these ideas in mind until you have a few publications under your belt. Feel free to ignore some, if not all, these tips.
  • Read plenty of travel stories in magazines and newspapers, preferably by famous writers, and analyse
    what you like about them, and what you dislike. Apply the likes.AA Gill, Steve Keenan and Matt Rudd [often appearing in Britain's 'The Times' newspaper travel section] are among the best travel article writers, while PJ O'Rourke and Bill Bryson are the travel book equivalent. Be amused and learn from these stars.

  • Plan the article as a series of paragraphs.

  • Write a lot, leave it a while, read it again, then BRUTALLY edit it. Using a PC is brilliant as you can save a full length article while chopping the hell out of a shorter version - which will almost certainly be a lot better.

    For a start, cut out most adjectives and adverbs, repetitions, inflated imagery, weak descriptions, and the obvious until you are left with only 30% -50% of your original. In fact, try setting yourself a target of cutting 70% of the dead wood out of your tangled little forest and you'll be amazed how much healthier it looks afterwards.
    Try to find a friend or relative who is willing and able to offer constructive criticism or tips on your practice articles.

  • If you want to be published in most media, with the exception of Blogs, you'll have to get your grammar and spelling right, so if it's a bit rough, brush up on it. And learn the difference between i.e. and e.g!

  • Start your writing career with a REALLY interesting or unusual travel subject, or some kind of action. That way you only have to focus on getting your story-telling right, rather than having to perk up a dull subject too.

  • Try to ensure that the first paragraph has a serious 'hook', dynamic fact or point of interest in it to grab the reader's attention. The first paragraph should also clearly indicate the subject of the article. Follow that with a middle, then an end!

  • The last paragraph should neatly summarise the article's theme, tying up loose ends in an amusing or interesting fashion.

  • Keep paragraphs, and sentences for that matter, reasonably short so the reader is not intimidated by a huge chunk of text.

  • Travel articles generally appear more professional NOT using the first person. i.e. I went to Bhutan and I had a great time. Also avoid overuse of exclamation marks!!

  • Don't state the obvious, be different, use words imaginatively, even poetically. There are half a million non-technical words available to you in the English language. [And another half million technical words.

  • Dialogues with bright or exotic people can be an effective way to occasionally break up text and enliven things.

  • Ensure that your travel topic is clear from the start, and continues that way, with one paragraph leading on logically to the next, and the next, etc., with a concept link between each one. All paragraphs roughly the same size and in sequence is a good guideline.

  • Humour or drama are good selling points, and bad times, while unpleasant in real life, make great stories.

  • Selling a travel article cold to a magazine or newspaper is incredibly difficult. It helps a lot if you can offer high quality images to support the story, so the last tip is to practise your photography too.
Good luck and keep at it, it's a long, dusty road full of linguistic potholes, insane grammatical gravel trucks and brutal, drive-by editors,

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

How to Start Writing Quality Articles For Blogs and Article Marketing

Writing quality articles for your blog and article marketing campaign is essential to establish yourself as an authority in your chosen niche. Every day, people post tens of thousands of articles in blogs and article directories. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to start producing authoritative and resourceful articles that others will read, bookmark, and promote using social media sites.

A quality article provides benefits to its readers. Neither it should be detailed and lengthy to put readers to sleep, nor it should be a laundry list of items for others to scan and forget. It should have enough information to put the written words into actions, but not more.

Before you start writing an article, make a list of all the non-textual contents that you will include in the articles. Non-textual contents may be images, videos, sketches, links to other resources, etc. Collect all the non-textual resources in one place, preferably in a folder in your laptop.

So, where do you go to find all the resources you need before you start writing your article? People who churn out low quality articles rely on Google search engine and article directories. While Google search engine may be a source, you should never use an article directory as a resource for your article-writing project. Finding a good article in an article directory is like finding a needle in the haystack.

Read More Article...

How to Start Writing Quality Articles For Blogs and Article Marketing

Writing quality articles for your blog and article marketing campaign is essential to establish yourself as an authority in your chosen niche. Every day, people post tens of thousands of articles in blogs and article directories. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to start producing authoritative and resourceful articles that others will read, bookmark, and promote using social media sites.

A quality article provides benefits to its readers. Neither it should be detailed and lengthy to put readers to sleep, nor it should be a laundry list of items for others to scan and forget. It should have enough information to put the written words into actions, but not more.

Before you start writing an article, make a list of all the non-textual contents that you will include in the articles. Non-textual contents may be images, videos, sketches, links to other resources, etc. Collect all the non-textual resources in one place, preferably in a folder in your laptop.

So, where do you go to find all the resources you need before you start writing your article? People who churn out low quality articles rely on Google search engine and article directories. While Google search engine may be a source, you should never use an article directory as a resource for your article-writing project. Finding a good article in an article directory is like finding a needle in the haystack.

Read More Article...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

U.S. Student Writing Gets a Bit Better

CHICAGO -- American students are slowly getting better at crafting sentences and using the written word to persuade and explain.

That's the good news in the latest results from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), which recently released its 2007 writing results, the first time eighth- and 12th-graders were tested in the subject since 2002.

There's little change at the top: the portion of students reaching NAEP's "proficient" level in the test didn't change in either grade. But both grades saw significant jumps in the percentage scoring at the "basic" level - a particular achievement for 12th-graders, who as a group have stagnated in other subjects.

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Five Tips To Writing A Fantasy Novel

If you’ve never written a book before, don’t think that it is too daunting of a task. On the other hand you should know that the best way to finish writing a book is to keep at it every day, and once started don’t stop until it’s done. Here are some ideas that should help you stay on track with writing your fantasy novel.
  1. Make sure you know the world you are writing about.

    This is one of the first places that people get strung up. You need to know what your fantasy world is like. If you can’t describe what the vegetation and trees are like in your world, you will have a hard time crafting a story that is very lifelike.

    A good way to go about this is to take the time to think about your fantasy world. What is the landscape like there? What sort of creatures inhabit it? Are there any extremely different terrain features from the real world that would help make this world stand out? Think about yourself as a world builder when you are writing your fantasy novel.

  2. What political factions are there?

    A great way to bring more intrigue and plot lines into your fantasy story is to introduce opposing political or religious factions. Some questions to ask are: Who is the ruler of the land? Do people like him/her? Are there people who want to rule the land? What is the relation of this country to that of the other countries surrounding it?

  3. Know your characters.

    Often in writing text there is the section regarding the characters of the book. They often want you to write a character sketch of the person. This often doesn’t work that well for every writer. In some cases it is better to get a few chapters under your belt and see how the characters react to situations. Then go back and make notes about your characters.

    In a fantasy novel, there are plenty of times where the characters have varying physical or mental qualities that are not found in the real world. This sort of attribute needs to be well thought out in order for it to become convincing to the reader. A good course of action is to have a hindrance added to a special quality that would seem to give the character an advantage over others in the story. This lends to the character being a bit more believable and is a great opportunity to add sub-plots into the story.

  4. Magic

    If you have any sort of magic system introduced to your fantasy world you need to do your homework here. First, think about the magic system and how it affects the world and how it affects the individual. Here are a few questions to ask yourself when introducing magic into your fantasy writing.

    What are the qualities of the magic system? Can anyone have magical abilities? What about animals and humanoids? How does the average person in the world react to magic?

  5. Read the classics.

    It is a great idea to have read the classics before venturing out and writing your own fantasy novel. The biggest reason for this, is that you will know what sort of things have written about in the past and it will save you from becoming a poor repeat. In addition, by reading the works of those such as Tolkien, Wiess & Hickman, and more, you will come to appreciate just how tightly woven the characters and world come together and how they react with and against each other.

    Writing a fantasy novel has its great advantages- you can make anything up- however, you have to be more calculated with your writing to make it believable. Click on the link provided to learn more on how to better your writing.
Matt Ide lives and writes in northern Michigan. You can read more about the writing life and writing techniques at


Friday, April 4, 2008

Writing For Children

When writing for children a popular way of getting started is to begin with an incident or happening. Any particular incident, whether you've read about it, or maybe heard about it on the news, or maybe a chance phrase or a meeting with someone may create an sudden unshakeable conviction that this is something which may one day be the beginning of a book. Writing for children is, contrary to what many people believe, just as difficult and challenging as writing for adults, indeed in many ways more so, so when you are writing for children, do select your incident or happening carefully as you need to gain, and keep a child's notoriously fickle attention.

In any case it may take years for you to begin writing for children, but the idea remains firmly fixed in your mind, and so does its potential for a good storyline. Consider the story of the manager of an orphanage who was aware that many of the children in her care had invented"real belonging mother" all of their own. In some cases the mothers actually existed, but many of these absent moms were invented by the children themselves to fill an aching need, because they didn't know who their real mothers were, they simply invented them.

When you are writing for children, you could perhaps consider this situation- store it away in your mind and give it time to take root. Possibly years later you may be able to use and develop it. Here's one possibility ....

Children in an orphanage create fantasy mothers for themselves. Some fantasise about wonderful, cuddly moms who love them deeply and only left them at the orphanage because they had no other option in a cold, hard world. Maybe other children that fantasise about heartless, evil women who simply abandoned them out of cruelty and spite - sounds a bit like a wicked stepmother - doesn't it? And we all know what wonderful tales have been woven around wicked stepmothers!

Of course not all situations will develop well. You do need to consider carefully what might be worked into a good storyline and which scenarios should be left well alone when writing for children. After all, you don't want to make your stories too scary! Remember those fantasy moms - those kids needed make-believe mothers who would support rather than destroy them, and any writing for children should always leave the reader feeling warm and reassured after the conclusion has been reached.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Shorthand Writing

Why Try Shorthand Writing?

Have you ever noticed that the more important the information is that you are trying to write down, the more difficult it is to keep up with the speaker? We become flustered, and end up losing more information than we collect. This has been an age-old dilemma, but you don't have to struggle with it anymore!

Efficient writing and communication in the workplace is essential! How many of us could skip up the corporate ladder if only we were better at collecting and assimilating information? The time we have been spending to slowly and painfully re-write our notes and decipher our messages could be spent in learning new material, networking, and mastering our tasks.

Is There One Best Method of Shorthand Writing?

Precisely because of this universal need for a more efficient writing method, different systems of abbreviated longhand writing, called speed writing or shorthand writing, have been developed throughout the centuries specifically to address this issue. now introduces you to the latest shorthand writing developments.

Like anything else, shorthand writing has been honed and improved through the years, and is now so easy to learn that there is no reason not to jump right in and learn this astonishing skill. A few hours invested can change your life! If you have ever felt that you could be happier, more creative, and a more thinker if only you had the time and energy, this course is for you.

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Some Helpful Tips for Writing Philosophical Arguments

I've put together a list of some helpful pointers to take into consideration when trying to construct an argument in philosophical writings, but these could also prove quite helpful in other areas as well. The real key to successful philosophical arguing lies not in your content, but in the structure and organization of your argument. While content is of course important, it is natural that within this realm debates will ensue. However, the ways in which you construct your argument can have profound implications on the success of your argument. Many of these come from my own personal experience through multiple revisions and criticisms of my own works, and I hope these can be helpful to others as well.

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Prewriting Essays

What is the prewriting stage?

The prewriting stage is when you prepare your ideas for your essay before you begin writing. You will find it easier to write your essay if you build an outline first, especially when you are writing longer assignments.

Six Prewriting Steps:
  1. Think carefully about what you are going to write. Ask yourself: What question am I going to answer in this paragraph or essay? How can I best answer this question? What is the most important part of my answer? How can I make an introductory sentence (or thesis statement) from the most important part of my answer? What facts or ideas can I use to support my introductory sentence? How can I make this paragraph or essay interesting? Do I need more facts on this topic? Where can I find more facts on this topic?
  2. Open your notebook. Write out your answers to the above questions. You do not need to spend a lot of time doing this; just write enough to help you remember why and how you are going to write your paragraph or essay.
  3. Collect facts related to your paragraph or essay topic. Look for and write down facts that will help you to answer your question. Timesaving hint: make sure the facts you are writing are related to the exact question you are going to answer in your paragraph or essay.
  4. Write down your own ideas. Ask yourself: What else do I want to say about this topic? Why should people be interested in this topic? Why is this topic important?
  5. Find the main idea of your paragraph or essay. Choose the most important point you are going to present. If you cannot decide which point is the most important, just choose one point and stick to it throughout your paragraph or essay.
  6. Organize your facts and ideas in a way that develops your main idea. Once you have chosen the most important point of your paragraph or essay, you must find the best way to tell your reader about it. Look at the facts you have written. Look at your own ideas on the topic. Decide which facts and ideas will best support the main idea of your essay. Once you have chosen the facts and ideas you plan to use, ask yourself which order to put them in the essay. Write down your own note set that you can use to guide yourself as you write your essay.
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