What Is CONTENT?

What Is CONTENT?

If you’re like most people, when I ask you to define CONTENT in a piece of writing, you’d say it’s the information, the facts, the details, the data conveyed in the writing. That’s what almost everyone believes, and everyone is about 25% correct.

CONTENT is better thought of as one of seven systems operating in any piece of writing. CONTENT is a system with four main components. Knowing these four components will help you generate CONTENT that’s more useful to your reader. Here’s how….

Please! Have Students Write to Real People…their writing interest and skills will explode

Please! Have Students Write to Real People…their writing interest and skills will explode

If you’ve followed this blog, you know that my NUMBER 1 complaint about how writing is taught in school/college/grad school is that most of the writing students are assigned to do has no real audience beyond the teacher. But when students go to work, they must always write to a real person, usually many real people.

The writing skills students learn in school, writing for no real audience, fall short when they go to work. Having a real reader makes writing suddenly important, risky, valuable, and, for many, frightening.

So please have your students get a lot of practice writing to a real person. Students from the first grade through grad school need to practice, practice, practice, and practice some more writing to a real person. Actually, it’s fun.

Let me first say what they’d learn from this real practice. And then let me give some suggestions for real-writing assignments….

Powerful Writing Made Easy

Powerful Writing Made Easy

If you want to do Powerful Writing (or Powerful Editing/Reviewing) you should have a systematic approach for developing a document draft and making it truly powerful. This post gives you guidelines for Powerful Writing, for developing any workplace document, from a simple email to a complex report….

Do YOU Write with an Accent?

Do YOU Write with an Accent?

I have taught people from all around the world to write better...in English. Just as each of us speaks with an accent, no matter what language we speak, we also write with an accent

Who owns the English language, anyway?....

A Primal Key to Effective Writing...Procrastination!

A Primal Key to Effective Writing...Procrastination!

Hi. My name is Harvey...and I'm a procrastinator.

...Hi, Harvey...

Today I'd like to share with you a little aha moment about writing. When I have important writing to do, I find myself thinking about it...a lot. As in, need another stalk of string cheese...think, think, think...better run to the store, almost out of dental floss...listen to some music...watch some TV with the sound off. Oh yeah, that thing I have to write. Okay...let's see. Hmm, suddenly a great idea for a screen-play pops into my head: 

Naïf ad copywriter, assigned to create a new for-profit religion for atheists, falls hard for the gorgeous woman contracted to kill him when he goes rogue trying to save the world. FARFA! Finally A Religion For Atheists.

Ahem...right...that thing I was supposed to write....

Well, as it turns out, you can waste a whole lot of your precious time, productively, and get yourself to a place where you actually look forward to the actual fingers-on-the-keyboard writing that's just lying there like a bear trap ready to snap your soul in two.

Here's how to make procrastination work for you and improve your writing (kind of like putting globs of whipped cream on your broccoli)....

Learn the New Fundamentals for Teaching Writing

Learn the New Fundamentals for Teaching Writing

I believe I have a much more productive and systematic way to help students from first grade through college become better writers and to help writing teachers become better teachers. The following discussion does two things:

1) it briefly analyzes the big problem--from first grade through college, students aren't being taught to write as well as society needs them to--and

2) it offers a conceptual and practical solution--a solution that has helped writers write better in the classroom and the workplace over the past 35+ years of my teaching....

The 8-Fold Path for Effective Everyday Writing

The 8-Fold Path for Effective Everyday Writing

This is a long post that will take you into territory that's unusual for those interested in workplace writing. Fair warning! I'm interested in everyday writing as an everyday Mindfulness Practice. So here goes....

The Trick to Making Your Workplace Writing Impressive?

The Trick to Making Your Workplace Writing Impressive?

Answer interesting questions interestingly!

That's the trick! (...to making your workplace writing impressive) 

You probably assume I'm talking about something easy, a quick TRICK, something you can learn in a flash, a quick solution to a difficult problem. Presto! ...as if by MAGIC. These days, how we all crave as many quick FIXes as we can get!