Friday, April 29, 2011


For what it’s worth, my advice is to stop thinking in terms of “muse” and “zone”.
Writing is simply a craft, a job, very similar to brick-laying.
One word at a time gradually builds a book manuscript.
First, write a story outline.
Then set a quota of words you will write each day.
Start writing.
Never give up.
Never give up.
Never give up.
Never give up, ‘til your manuscript is completed.
Then revise/rewrite every page.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Writing thank-you notes always has rewards out of all proportion to the slight effort of putting pen to paper.
 As simple as it sounds, people seldom take the time to write a quick note thanking someone. To an empoyee for having succeeded at a difficult task. To a friend for being so supportive. Even to a total stranger for a small passing kindness.

A hand-written"well-done" note (on paper, not e-mail) accentuating the positive never fails to encourage an employee, or renew old friendships across the years.
The simple act of writing "thank you" can pay off enormously out of all proportion. Perhaps because such notes of appreciation are so rare. Try it this very moment, and see the amazing results for yourself.


Diane Balloun, a Dallas, TX, communications consultant, has made a study of the differences between men and women memo-writers. "Women tend to be more wordy in memos", she says. "They put in too much detail, too much explanation, taking them longer to get to the point."

Balloun believes that the same qualities that make women such excellent managers when dealing with people are their downfall when faced with a blank sheet of paper. She thinks that female willingness to explain an issue in detail, especially their desire to soften bad news or present alternatives, can hamper their style with a memo.
Ms. Balloun observes, "The rule in memo-writing is, whether it's good or bad news, just give the information straight. Clear, concise, and to the point. But women are uncomfortable with this approach. As well, women seem to want to make even short memos look like letters, resulting in word-flow longer than the ideal maximum single page." She adds, "Most men don't like writing letters, so they're happy with point-form and bullets in memos to get info across fast." Hers are thoughtful -- if perhaps contentious -­observations...

Thursday, April 21, 2011


One of the most crucial areas for clarity is when writing about health and medicine to the general public. A recent study of hospital patients found that 66 percent do not understand medical language. Such words as cardiac, respiratory, and malignant are incomprehensible to the average reader.
     A report by the Canadian Pharmaceutical Association concludes that 97 percent of the pamphlets and booklets written about drugs and health care require a Grade 11 or higher education to read. The average Canadian reader has a Grade 8 comprehension.

If you're writing medical brochures, strive for an informal, conversational style. No medical or technical terms without simple translation with familiar words. Use examples or human interest stories to illustrate facts. But make sure they can reflect daily life of readers. Best test: try explaining the key points to a 10-year-old child. If you can make the child understand, you are on track for communicating health care information to the "average" person.