Full Circle Communications

June 2015
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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 as dance lessons can help get you around the floor more gracefully, the goal for this newsletter is to share a tip or two to improve your writing.

Recipient of Constant Contact All Star Awards, 2011 through 2013!

Three Writers' Conferences: Takeaways  
In the past six weeks, I attended three different, but excellent writers' conferences: Biographers International Conference in June, Center for Plain Language sorkshop in May, and Books Alive in April.

(Please see below for a fourth conference, coming up in September.)

Some highlights from each:


BIO featured amazingly accomplished and published authors throughout the day, including a funny and inspiring lunchtime talk by Pulitzer-Prize winner Taylor Branch.

Yes, the focus was biography, but many points related to all topics and types of writing. From an on-stage discussion between Douglas Brinkley and Evan Thomas:
  • Look for "little revealing things" that will bring out surprising information about your subject;
  • Expect that you will make some enemies;
  • Don't overlike your subject or judge him or her too harshly; 
  • Proper sourcing is more important than ever.


Plain Language


This half-day workshop conducted by the Center for Plain Language focused on clear communication, whether in developing infographics, providing feedback, or relating to your audience.


I liked the suggestions from Chip Crane, a writing consultant and trainer, on "artful critique." They are variations on "teach a person to fish, don't just give them a fish"--don't just make changes, but rather explain and suggest for long-term improvement.

Next time someone asks for feedback on a piece of writing, whether an email or a book chapter, consider some of his tips:
  • Aim to convince the writer you are on his or her side (be collegial and kind, not harsh);
  • Explain style changes so they don't seem arbitrary
  • For grammatical and other less subjective revisions, explain the rule, don't just make the change. 
He also warned, "Don't become the writer." Other writers may not express a thought exactly as you would, but it's their creation, not yours.

Books Alive!

Last but not least, Books Alive! is an annual conference that covers both nonfiction and fiction. A highlight is a panel of agents, followed by "speed-dating" in which participants can pitch ideas to three to five agents.

Last year, I approached the agents for my five-minute pitch with an idea for my book. I received mild encouragement. This year, I came prepared with a proposal, based on a recommended format from the book Thinking Like Your Editor by Susan Rabiner. Much more positive reception.

I hope to both teach and learn at a fourth conference, coming up September 25 and 26 in Rochester, NY: Communication Central's Be a Better Freelancer.

My workshop is a hands-on session on "how to get--and keep--your ideal client." A few sessions focus on skills (editing across devices, working with Word); others focus on building a successful business and career (resilience, new niches). I am honored to be a presenter and hope you will consider the (short) flight to Rochester to attend.

Read about the conference here.

You can also email conference@communication-central.com for more information.
Full Circle Communications, LLC / Alexandria, VA / 703.212.0350