3 Ingredients for a Productive Day of Writing

WORDS YOUR WAY BLOG

3 Ingredients for a Productive Day of Writing

Freelancers are frequently asked how we “discipline ourselves” to work away from the office. Discipline can be a challenge. The flip side – the office falls short three essential ingredients for actually getting things done: 1. Solitude – a physical space with a social barrier to entry, whether an office door, a private apartment, or a cafe populated by strangers 2. Physical movement – writing in 90% thinking, 10% typing. The 90% can be done while walking, running, or lifting weights rather than at a desk 3. Background bustle – espresso machines operating, the soundtrack from a movie playing in the next room, that soothing ambiance that makes you feel alive and not like a piece of machinery
Barbara Ruth Saunders is a writer, editor, and writing coach.

Managing Terms is Tough

WORDS YOUR WAY BLOG

Managing Terms is Tough

The USDA site ChooseMyPlate.gov features a new icon for nutritional guidance. (Bye bye, food pyramid.) Here’s an amusing snippet from the section entitled “Beans and peas are unique foods”: “Green peas and green (string) beans are not considered to be ‘Beans and Peas.'”
Barbara Ruth Saunders is a writer, editor, and writing coach.

Writing Benefits-Centered Copy

WORDS YOUR WAY BLOG

Writing Benefits-Centered Copy

I’ve adopted a quick new test for figuring out if I’m conveying benefits clearly. A graduate school prof, lecturing on behaviorism, said, “There are only three primary reinforcers: food, air, and orgasm.” Everything else is a secondary reinforcer, learned by association. I think there are really only three essential benefits:
  • Make or save money
  • Save time
  • Increase chance at happiness
A product or service should promise something no more than fairly obvious step away from one or more of those three.
  • “Dating coach who helps singles over 50 find love” = Increase chance at happiness
  • “Accelerated course of study” = Save time in getting the degree or certificate that will lead to making more money
  • “Proven corporate wellness program” = Make employees happier and healthier so company can make more money
Try it with your next marketing piece!
Barbara Ruth Saunders is a writer, editor, and writing coach.

Trust Words

WORDS YOUR WAY BLOG

Trust Words

I’m working on some outward-facing materials for a large corporation. My charge: to make them more “customer-friendly.” I’m perplexed at the resistance I get to edits that seem like no-brainers to me. For example: I’m going back and forth about the word “necessary,” as in, “you may incur additional charges for necessary work done by a contractor.” (Will there be no charges for the “unnecessary” work?) I can only guess that the inclusion of the word is meant to make the sentence more precise.
Barbara Ruth Saunders is a writer, editor, and writing coach.

What is a Book?

WORDS YOUR WAY BLOG

What is a Book?

Just began a project on a team revising a book. The title is old enough to contain vague references to “the World Wide Web.”

The challenges: more visuals! use links to information that may expire! use interactive calculators online where there were previously worksheets!

Some people insist that the Web is killing the book. I think this project is an example of the ways the Web enables us to let books be books again, of freeing them from the desktop publishing revolution’s legacy of easy, cheap books used as teachers.

Eject the sensory content and interactivity from the book, put it on the Web, and books can go back to being unique worlds like they used to be.

Barbara Ruth Saunders is a writer, editor, and writing coach.