Ease in Writing
Writing Tips from Full Circle Communications
September 2008
In This Issue
What Designers Need from Writers
Improve Your E-Writing
Attention, Authors!
Forward to a Friend

Past Issues
Scan previous issues on such topics as SEO tips and speechwriting.
Ease in Writing?

"Ease in writing" comes from a poem by Alexander Pope, the British poet:

True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learn'd to dance.

Foot step chartNote he (and I) didn't say "easy writing." But just like dance lessons can help get you around the floor with your partner more gracefully, the goal for this newsletter is to share a tip or two each month so you can improve how your organization communicates in writing.
About Full Circle

Writing, editing, and project management for print and online publications

Training and consulting on writing and other communication topics

Have a question about how to tackle an upcoming project?

Call 703.212.0349 or drop me an e-mail.
What Designers Need from Writers
Color swatchesIn the best print and online publications, content and design work together seamlessly. The end-product exceeds its objectives. The client (whether it's someone who hired you based on an RFP or someone who sits down the hall from you) is happy. Audience feedback is positive.

The chance of serendipity happening improves when writers and designers collaborate. Below, three designers share what they need from us writers to help the design process.

Know the client
"One of the things that would help me when I work with writers is to have them really take the time to understand--and even research--the tone and style I am looking for. Depending on the client and type of publication, some projects may take on a serious tone, while others a more humorous or a more academic one. It usually comes down to the basics--whatever part of the communications spectrum you fall on--know your client!"
---Julian Kiganga, Vibrant Design Group

Learn about the brand
"We specialize in brand development, and many times, we are working primarily on the visual brand elements. It is very helpful when a copywriter spends the time to read our brand briefs or other brand guidelines, and incorporates words and elements into content. We find that when a copywriter spends five or ten minutes to talk with the designer or brand strategist, they both benefit from the pooled knowledge and perspectives."
---Joey Tackett, Clear Sky Creative

Consider organization & structure
Another note from Tackett: "If we have already designed a visual concept for the marketing or communication tool, it is helpful for the copywriter to consider the determined space and write within these parameters. Other times, we develop a visual layout based on the provided content. In these cases, the intention the copywriter has for the order, flow and general structure are important to know. We like it when a copywriter provides notes in text, or provides an additional page that explains the vision for the text. Many times, a designer can accentuate text a different way to empower the copywriter's original vision."

Communicate with consistency

"When the writer is working directly with the client, remember to keep the designer posted about where the project is in the process. The writer and designer need to be consistent in their communication with the client, such as not giving conflicting information about deadlines."
---Sue Hoffmeyer, sjz design

Revise files with caution
Hoffmeyer also advises "providing files to the designer that are completely worked through before having them placed into the design template--otherwise, it creates the need to reflow the text because of word and paragraph breaks, etc." Of course, sometimes later-stage revisions can't be helped. In those cases, Tackett said "each designer is different, but we generally ask copywriters to use the track changes feature in Microsoft® Word or a similar text editor, or to provide a list of the edits, additions and rewrites."

Again, my thanks to Sue Hoffmeyer, Julian Kiganga, and Joey Tackett for sharing some great tips with me. I think I practice them--but a sum-up and a reminder is always a good thing!
E-Writing Workshop: September 30 and October 4
Is your website a winner or a wash-out? Does your blog boost your business or bog you down?

Foot step chartLearn and practice techniques to improve your online writing in the workshop I teach through Fairfax County Adult and Community Education.

Next session: September 30 and October 4, 7 to 9 p.m., at Marshall High School (just inside the Beltway on Route 7).  Participants tell me they go back to work with lots of ready-to-apply tips from me and others in the class. If you can't make it, consider suggesting the workshop to a friend or colleague.

E-mail me for more information or go to the Fairfax ACE website.
Attention, Authors!
Have you written a book or article? Do you have a communications-related blog or newsletter? I would love to share the information with others. Let me know what you have created. I'll write about it (and link to it) in another issue of this newsletter.