Ease in Writing
Writing Tips from Full Circle Communications
December 2009
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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 as 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 to improve how you and your organization communicate in writing.
 Happy Holidays!
Best wishes for a peaceful holiday season and a healthy 2010.

As you celebrate with friends and family, consider what William Makepeace Thackeray wrote: "A good laugh is sunshine in the house." Make some sunshine!
A Year's Worth of Writing Tips
notepadEach month, this newsletter covers a topic related to writing or editing. Often, the subjects stem from a question that someone asks me--or that I wonder about myself.

Didn't read all the issues in 2009? No worries. Check out the Ease in Writing archives.

Or, check out a specific topic. Here's a rundown of 2009 issues, with a few main points about each one:

Writing Resolutions (January)
  • Nine do-able ideas to improve your writing, such as attend one literary reading, read one book on the craft of writing, and revise one more time. 
  • It's not too late to do one or more of them!
  • Read the full list here.
Fruitful Interviewing (February)
  • As interviewer, do not fill every silence.
  • Show the interviewee that you know something about him/her and the subject, but don't make believe you know more than you do.
  • Read more tips here.
Quoting from Your Interviews (March)
  • Use a direct quote if the source has something unique to say. Otherwise, consider paraphrasing in an indirect quote.
  • Revising is okay if it does not change the meaning and avoids embarrassing the speaker (for example, a grammatical mistake). If in doubt, check back for an okay.
  • Read more tips here.
Web Writing Re-Visited (April)
  • Put the most important information first.
  • Aim for three key words per page, with pages no longer than 350 words.
  • Read more tips here.
Flip Chart to Finished Report (May)
  • Sift through information with your finished product in mindas you sit in the meeting.
  • Within 1 to 2 days, circulate a short summary of main points and action items.
  • Read more tips here.
Writing a Meeting Summary (June)
  • Come prepared with extra batteries, comfortable pens, etc.
  • Understand the expectation for the final product in terms of level of detail, attributing names, and other variables.
  • Read more tips here.
Writing a Federal Proposal (July)
  • Make the proposal client-centered, not bidder-centered.
  • Keep it easy to read, visually attractive, and free of unsupportable claims (no one is "uniquely qualified"!).
  • Read more tips here.
Daydream to Improve Your Writing (August)
  • Use daydreaming to look at ideas in new ways.
  • Tap into them by first allowing yourself to daydream, then writing down or otherwise capturing what you come up with.
  • Read more tips here.
How Long Will It Take to Edit? (September)
  • Very rough metrics: 2 to 4 double-spaced pages per hour for a substantive edit, and 6 to 8 for a copyedit.
  • Read a few pages of the manuscript first to see its condition before providing an estimate.
  • Read more tips here.
How Long Will It Take to Write? (October)
  • Factor in the research needed, expected number of revisions, and familiarity with the topic.
  • Get as much information up front about the intended audience, objectives of the piece, and tone to save time in the long run.
  • Read more tips here.

Building a Better Brochure (November)
  • Think of producing small print runs digitally so you can update or have different versions for different audiences.
  • Include a clear call to action, compelling language, graphics that add to the message, and lots of white space for easy scanning.
  • Read more tips here.

What else are you curious about? Let me know. I'll write about it in an issue in 2010.

And please consider sharing this newsletter with a colleague.

Thanks! Have a great new year!
Community Perspectives on Childhood Obesity
numeralsFinancing to encourage supermarkets to locate in low-income neighborhoods. New ways to work with parents to get their children more physically active. These were some of the ideas that community leaders, policy advocates, and elected officials had at a meeting sponsored by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine.

You can download a free copy of the workshop proceedings, which I co-authored, at the National Academies Press website.