Ease in Writing
Writing Tips from Full Circle Communications
January 2010

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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.

Note 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 That Annual (or other big-deal) Report...
bar graphsStaff at many organizations are returning from the holidays to face a grim realty: It's annual report time.

Remember your resolution last year that you would keep a file of ideas and good photos throughout the year?

Oh well. Let's work with what you have, or don't have, assembled. Here are a few ideas to get the process started and completed before 2011.

And if you don't have to do an annual report, keep these suggestions in mind for the next retrospective or other big-deal publication you need to put together.
  • Dream a big idea: Bring together a small group with at least a few people who know the organization well. Brainstorm a unifying theme for the year, something broad enough that it can encompass the disparate things your organization stands for and accomplished in 2009.
  • Think across departments: An annual report that summarizes the highlights by department -- policy, HR, etc. -- is usually only interesting to the people in that department.
  • Less Is More: Related to the above, departments often want to pack in every accomplishment of the year. Convey a stronger message with less copy, even if it means not writing about every activity of the year. Do not succumb.
  • Marry content + design: Always a good idea, but especially for a visual-rich piece like an annual report. Involve the designer and writer early, and together.
  • The financials: The finance folks may have a different timeframe than you do. If you can't negotiate an earlier deadline (assuming you want one), determine their space requirements. Then finish everything else so you can drop the numbers in at the end.
With the 2009 report behind you, you can collect ideas and images for the 2010 report. Start a file with annual reports you receive or view online for inspiration about what you like and don't like. Next year will be different. Right?

 Forum One Communications:
 New Web Site for the New Year
Forum OForum One logone, a digital communications firm based in Alexandria, works with nonprofits, government agencies, and other groups that do good things.

For several years, I've learned a lot about what is state-of-the-art in the online world from their blogs and presentations.

I got involved in helping them write and edit their revamped company web site. It looks good. After several months of planning, they worked toward a December 30 launch -- and that's what they did.

Check it out here.
New Year's Writing Resolutions
2010What would you like to accomplish in your writing in 2010?

I hope to/plan/will write 12 essays or other nonfiction pieces, in addition to my work-related writing. And I want to re-join or re-form a book club, something that I let lapse and miss. Whatever you have set for yourself, good luck. Just take one step (word?) at a time!