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...
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...
7 Ways to Slow Down Life…and How That Helps Your Writing at Work

7 Ways to Slow Down Life…and How That Helps Your Writing at Work

(Pssst: Scroll down for an adorable picture of my horse and puppy!) I had an epiphany while hauling a horse to a clinic the other day: I realized it’s not helpful to tell people to slow down to be better writers. Why not? Because I can’t expect people to slow down just one single part of their lives without looking at the bigger picture of a whole life lived in a hurry. I can’t expect people to slow down just one single part of their lives without looking at the bigger picture of a whole life lived in a hurry. We’re doing everything...
Oh, Comma, You Little Trickster You, Leading Us Astray…

Oh, Comma, You Little Trickster You, Leading Us Astray…

(Originally published August 2017) Why do people struggle so with commas? It seems we either tend to over-do it or under-do it, and using commas correctly eludes us. Maybe that’s because the comma is so easy to use and so easy to leave out. It’s just a little bit of punctuation, lacking the hardness or a period after all, right? What harm can it do to guess? Well, in my opinion, it can do plenty of harm if it: Gets in the way of clarity Makes you look dumb Or does both 1 and 2 So let’s talk about an easy way to know whether or not...
To Write Better, Read More. Period.

To Write Better, Read More. Period.

(Originally published August 2017) Would you read more if you knew you would be a better writer at work? Because you will be. And reading will also benefit your physical, mental and emotional health too. Sadly, too many of us aren’t reading. According to the National Endowment for the Arts, less than half of adults in the U.S. read literature. And the Pew Research Center says 27% of adults go an entire year without reading a book. That’s sad on many levels. As they say, the person who doesn’t read is worse off than...
The 6 Types of Punctuation We Get Wrong, and a FREE eBook to Fix All That

The 6 Types of Punctuation We Get Wrong, and a FREE eBook to Fix All That

Does punctuation matter? Yes! How you use punctuation can change the meaning of your writing—in ways you might dread! Punctuation exists for a reason: to help us communicate clearly. Consider the beginning of this blog post without punctuation: Does punctuation matter yes how you use punctuation can change the meaning of your writing in ways you might dread punctuation exists for a reason to help us communicate clearly Or consider this classic example of a sentence with two very different meanings, depending on the punctuation:...