The Future Is Freelance…and Your Writing Will Matter More

The Future Is Freelance…and Your Writing Will Matter More

Have you seen the meme about how the first 40 years of parenting are the hardest? Not to throw my kids under the bus, but it has stopped being funny lately. Both kids are in their 20s and both seem hellbent on being self-employed. As their mother, who has spent most of the past 30 years self-employed, this makes me nervous. I envied friends with steady incomes, retirement plans, sick leave and paid vacation. I had hoped my kids would have all the bennies I went without. But my kids are on the right path…and I am wrong. Why? Because...
How Your Smartphone Dumbs Down Your Writing…and 6 Ways to Fight Back

How Your Smartphone Dumbs Down Your Writing…and 6 Ways to Fight Back

At our farm, “horse logic” is an oxymoron we laugh at as we deal with the fallout of equine choices. “Smartphone” is another favorite oxymoron around here. Why? Because—although our phones are smarter, to the point that they are pocket computers, not phones—they can make us humans dumb, or at least dumb down our writing at work. Notice I said they can make us dumb, not do. Being mindful of the effect of our supposed smartphones means we can choose not to let them affect our writing skills. But it starts with the awareness, the...
Monday’s Mistake for July 19: Titles Tripping You Up? Here’s Help…

Monday’s Mistake for July 19: Titles Tripping You Up? Here’s Help…

This week’s Monday’s Mistake deals with a common error because we don’t seem to know how to properly capitalize the words in a title. As a result, I often see the word “is” lowercase when it should be capitalized because it’s verb…as just one example. Do you see the error in this title? “The” should not be capitalized. If the writer had capitalized “to” as well, it would be okay because we’d have consistency with every word capitalized. Then it would look like:...
Monday’s Mistake for July 19: Titles Tripping You Up? Here’s Help…

Monday’s Mistake for July 12, 2021: How People Get Periods and Parentheses Wrong

Here’s yet another mistake from real life. Do you see the error? “It is true that if you are farming on the moon or in the desert, then hydroponics might make sense (If you have to grow in such a parched landscape.)” It’s a common punctuation error. And it’s about the period inside the parentheses. When you use parentheses, the period goes either inside or outside. How do you know which? If the words inside the parentheses are not a complete sentence, then don’t treat it as such and the period goes outside. If the words inside the...
3 New Rules for Writing Paragraphs in an Online World

3 New Rules for Writing Paragraphs in an Online World

(Originally published August 2017) Sometimes it’s not worth re-inventing the wheel, like this week when I was all set to write about paragraphs and then I read this post on the topic.* Rather than rehash what Mike Blankenship so eloquently said, I’ll sum it up for you below (with his new advice, as his post is recently updated)… In brief, Mike says long paragraphs don’t work in digital. Instead, you need to follow some “new rules”: New Rule #1: Write shorter paragraphs. Not always, mind you, as you’ll see in rule #2, but...