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Posts in category Craft

3 Writing Techniques Nonfiction Autho...

3 Writing Techniques Nonfiction Authors Can Borrow from Poetry

(Welcome to guest blogger Rita Lewis, my editor extraordinaire!) It’s spring! It’s what you’ve all been waiting for… National Poetry Month! I can hear the eyerolling now. Nonfiction writers who want to change the world may find poetry a bit… irrelevant. Rhyme? Compressed language? Alliteration? Poetry can be all that—but so much more. It requires […]

Revision: You Mean I Don’t Have...

Revision: You Mean I Don’t Have to Get It Right the First Time?

When I first said, “I want to be a writer,” I took oodles of creative writing classes that incorporated “workshopping,” a process in which each student shares a draft and the group critiques it. After all the students had offered feedback, the instructor invariably would say, “I think your story starts on page three; cut […]

Find Your Voice to Engage Your Reader...

Find Your Voice to Engage Your Readers

“Find your voice,” writers are often admonished. We think we know what voice is, yet somehow it can be elusive. So let’s consider voice as it concerns your business book. Voice and its value Voice is the unique blend of elements—style, syntax, diction—that gives your writing a certain sensibility. It makes your writing distinct, individual, […]

My Top Business Writing Tips

My Top Business Writing Tips

Lately I’ve been fielding invitations to speak about general business writing—from talking with an NC State MBA class about making a strong business case to speaking with nonprofit arts organizations about writing strong grant applications. I realized I have some common principles for business writing that I consistently offer as feedback. First and foremost, whether […]

Crafting Strategy: Visionary, Intuiti...

Crafting Strategy: Visionary, Intuitive, or Both?

In my first real corporate management job, I was tasked with guiding our operations leadership team through a strategic planning process. One of my older, wiser colleagues gave me a 1987 Harvard Business Review article called “Crafting Strategy” by Henry Mintzberg. His article resonated strongly with me and became a touchstone over the years. As […]

The Secret to Earning Your Readers’ T...

The Secret to Earning Your Readers’ Trust

Welcome to guest blogger Rita Lewis! I recently wrote about the types of support you might need while working on a book project. If you hire only one person to help you, my top recommendation is an editor—and Rita is my editor, so I am delighted to have her sharing her advice here. When she’s […]

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 […]