How To Fix the MLK Memorial: Get a Writer on Board

What a small mess they’ve made of the Martin Luther King memorial. And all for the want of a good writer. If you haven’t been following the controversy, they botched the main inscription on the front of the statue — so badly, in fact, that Maya Angelou said it made King sound like “an arrogant […]

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A Little Self Promotion

One indicator that you’ve come upon a subject that you’re passionate about is that in all the thinking and analyzing and dissecting, you constantly come up with new ways to talk about it. I’m doing a couple of PR industry speeches in the coming months, and this is what I hit on the other day: […]

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Stupid Holiday Tricks

It’s human nature. With a big holiday approaching, you want to clean off your desk, clear out your inbox, attend to all those undone to-dos and leave the office with a clean slate and clear conscience. Of course you don’t always think about the poor chumps downstream whose inboxes are now overflowing with your detritus. […]

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Michele Bachmann’s Crime Against Grammar

Some might say that the very least of Michele Bachmann’s problems in her run for president is her command of the English language and rules of grammar. To that, grammar purists the world over say “nay.” Or possibly “pish.” I was alerted to this fundraising letter by the people at the political blog Balloon Juice. […]

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A Lesson From Hemingway on Writing

When you think about Hemingway’s writing style, certain things come to mind. Spartan prose, free of excess modifiers. Short, choppy sentences. A distinct masculine bent. For me, Hemingway is about honesty. One idea that has influenced my writing more than any other is this one from Papa himself: “All you have to do is write […]

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SEO is for suckers

This is the kind of headline professional bloggers tell me I’m supposed to write. Provocative headings that get right up in the reader’s face and force them to pay attention. I’ve tried it a few times myself. “What Hollywood Knows About Leadership That You Don’t” was the first of three articles I submitted to Business […]

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Confessions of a Recovering Language Purist

We are likely to hear the word “tragedy” used a lot this week. For years, the overuse of this word has bothered me. As an English major, I was trained in the classical definition of a tragedy, which is essentially the story of a hero falling from grace due to some flaw in his or […]

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7 Reasons You Don’t Have Writer’s Block

Got writer’s block? No you don’t. That was a trick question. There’s actually no such thing as writer’s block. That may surprise you as you sit there, staring helplessly at the screen, trying to get started on that presentation or report. I know, I know, you’ve seen the movies with the tortured artist holed up […]

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I assure you, you’re using insure incorrectly

Even the Big Sur coastline of California has its moments of imperfection. But they’re mostly man-made. And since vacation is no time to let down your grammar/usage guard, I endangered myself and others in order to snap this photo and pass along an invaluable lesson. Insure should be reserved for insurance matters. Like if you […]

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What the World Needs Now is Another English Major

I admire this instructor’s self-control. I might have slapped the little twit. I have no regrets about my English major. Indeed, I’m proud of it and have actually found it helpful in my career. It helped with my writing, but mostly it sharpened my analytical skills. When you’re picking apart every phrase or even every […]

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