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Posts in category Craft

What Writers Can Learn from Artists: ...

What Writers Can Learn from Artists: Practice & Release

My friend Julie just started her final year of art school. Over the past three years she’s been blogging about her experience, and I’ve enjoyed watching her progress. After a recent touch-base, I started thinking about art—painting especially—and what lessons it can offer writers. I put my finger on two core principles: practice and release. […]

The Key Difference Between Speeches a...

The Key Difference Between Speeches and Books (& How to Plan for It)

Many of Clear Sight’s clients are both speakers and authors—not surprising, considering what speaking and writing have in common. Both benefit from strong storytelling, precise language, good construction, and unexpected imagery. There is a creative synergy as well as business synergy. However, there is one key difference between writing a book and giving a speech: […]

Book Quality: Lessons from Judging Ja...

I’m in the midst of judging the student essay contest for the Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA). When you read a lot of one thing at a time—essays, grant applications, poetry—you quickly start to see the differences. (Teachers know this!) I use a scoring rubric to test my impressions objectively, but the essays […]

Avoid Distractions: Focus Your Reader...

Avoid Distractions: Focus Your Readers on Your Message

My last three blog posts all were triggered by my irritation with poor communication—whether words or formatting. My goal—my purpose—is to help people get their ideas onto the page in a way the audience will understand and embrace. After many years of corporate business writing (and a boss who knocked it into my head), one […]

Excessive Irritation: A Little Bit Go...

Excessive Irritation: A Little Bit Goes a Long Way When You Use These Items in Writing

I attend a book club periodically. For a recent meeting, I’d heard of the assigned book, I knew people who liked the concepts in it, and the topic was relevant to my field of work, so I was looking forward to reading it. A fellow reader emailed me a week before the meeting: “The author […]

Tips for Creating Effective Headings

Tips for Creating Effective Headings

In my last post, I discussed emphasis—the use of bold, italic, underline, ALL CAPS, and so on—primarily looking at the main text of a book or article. I mentioned headings briefly, and in this post I want to expand on the effective formatting of headings. When I say “headings,” I’m referring to the types of […]

Tips for Using Emphasis Effectively

Tips for Using Emphasis Effectively

I recently read a blog post and found myself getting annoyed. And it wasn’t even a post about politics! Frankly I can’t tell you what the article was about because I was too annoyed with the article’s formatting. The author used every conceivable form of emphasis—bold, italic, underline, ALL CAPS, and COMBINATIONS THEREOF—with reckless abandon. […]

Writing Advice from Horror Novels to ...

Writing Advice from Horror Novels to Business Books

I’ve never read Stephen King’s novels. I don’t like scary stories—books, movies, campfire tales. But his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft is a classic if you’re looking for writing advice. What can a business person trying to write a nonfiction book learn from the king of horror? A lot, it turns out. […]

Contrast: Harry Potter and the Light ...

Contrast: Harry Potter and the Light in the Dark

Harry Potter has returned to Hogwarts in search of what he thinks is Voldemort’s final horcrux; meanwhile, Voldemort’s forces prepare to attack the school. Professor McGonagall assures Harry that she and the others will do everything possible to give him time to search. On the steps of the school, she intones “Piertotum Locomotor!” thus calling […]

The Value of Visuals: A Guest Post fr...

The Value of Visuals: A Guest Post from Becky Sansbury

Welcome to guest blogger Becky Sansbury, author of After the Shock: Getting You Back on the Road to Resilience When Crisis Hits You Head On. Becky and I worked together for many months on her book. I can assure you she draws on deep personal and professional experience when she talks about crisis and resilience. […]

Stop Labeling Yourself: Getting Beyon...

Stop Labeling Yourself: Getting Beyond the Plotter-Pantser Dichotomy

I was puzzled by these drafts. My client had presented this material a thousand times. Why, then, did it sound like the concepts were being explained for the first time? When I finally asked, I got a laugh. “Oh, you know me, I’m a pantser.” The Plotter – Pantser Dichotomy If you hang out in the writing […]

How Not to Schuss: The Four Steps for...

How Not to Schuss: The Four Steps for Developing a New Skill

In my wilder and [much] younger days, I spent two glorious years as a ski bum in Steamboat Springs, Colorado (peak elevation 10,568′, vertical drop 3668′). As a Midwestern girl, I’d learned to ski on icy artificial snow at Mount Kato (peak elevation 840′, vertical drop 240′) near Mankato, Minnesota, and Fun Valley (peak elevation […]