Ease in Writing
Writing Tips from Full Circle Communications
January 2009
In This Issue
9 Writing Resolutions for 2009
Better Blogging
Attention, Authors!
Past Issues
Scan previous issues on such topics as design tips for writers and speechwriting.
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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.
  9 Writing Resolutions for 2009

numeralsIn thinking about the resolutions I have made over the years, I have concluded that incremental changes have a better chance of adoption.

In this spirit, I would not venture to suggest something like "write a novel" or "get published in The New Yorker." Instead, here are a few, do-able things that will not take long but will improve how you write.

1. Revise one more time. No matter how many times you usually revise something, go through one additional revision. You will catch all sorts of things that otherwise would slip by.

2. Ask one more person than you usually do for feedback (which means, of course, if you don't normally ask anyone, ask one person). Another set of eyes will give you a fresh perspective.

3. Attend one literary reading. Bookstores, the Library of Congress, and universities all schedule regular readings by poets and prose writers. I'm not suggesting weekly or even monthly attendance, unless that is what you enjoy doing. Just try one. It is very inspiring.

4. Read one book about the craft of writing. Two of my favorites are by William Zinsser (On Writing Well and Inventing the Truth). Others I go back to include On Writing by Stephen King (yes, that Stephen King) and Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande (written in 1934!).

5. Write one piece in a genre you have never tried. A poem, an op-ed, a travel article--something you don't normally try. Make it short. Don't spend a lot of time on it unless you get inspired. But stretch yourself a bit.

6. Read one literary classic. Go back to an author of your choice--Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Herman Melville, or any other author that you have been "meaning to get to."

7. Bookmark one new reference website that you will actually use. A few possibilities: The Columbia Gazetteer of the World Online, Chicago Manual of Style Online, or the Mayo Clinic, depending on your needs and interests.

8. Schedule an artist's date that does not involve words. Those familiar with Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way know she suggests a weekly "artist's date"--a walk in nature, a museum, an interesting shop--to get the creative juices flowing. In this case, help your writing through something visual, musical, or tactile.

9. Write a letter (not an e-mail) to a friend or family member. You might even consider doing something really daring, like handwriting it.

Nothing too bold, nothing too time-consuming. Just a few suggestions that get at both the art and craft of writing. Let me know what other ideas you have--I would love to hear them. And best wishes for a healthy, happy 2009!
Better Blogging
I wrote a blog for a while, but it was not frequently read and got boring (two obviously related problems). When I decide to revive it, I will refer to this handy list written by Bob Cargill that I discovered thanks to a posting on the Progressive Communicators of Washington, DC (PCDC) listserv:
"15 Types of Posts to Make a Blog Easier to Write and More Interesting to Read."

Nothing revolutionary (interviews, lists, questions, etc.), but a compact list with links to good examples of each type.
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.