Your message. In focus.

Posts in category Craft

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 […]

Judge not? Judge a lot! Learn to Asse...

Judge not? Judge a lot! Learn to Assess Writing Quality

While there’s something to be said for “Judge not lest ye be judged” on a personal level, if you want to quickly gain an understanding of how to improve your writing, take advantage of opportunities to play judge. When you teach a skill, you reinforce the learning for yourself. When you judge a skill, you […]

Freshen Your Eyes; It’s Time to Revis...

Freshen Your Eyes; It’s Time to Revise

I have a confession: I am a lazy poet. I’ve been writing poetry for many years, taking class after class, workshop after workshop. Sometimes all that learning shows up in my poems, but recently I’ve become lazy. I blurt something onto the page, make a few changes, and call it done. My poems have become […]