Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Inspirational quotes for writers

"When life seems overwhelming, take things an hour at a time - find comfort in the little triumphs." by Lee Woodruff

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

How to write for your website

How do you construct text for your website pages?(from How to write effective web copy) for more details

Before you write a word of text you need to decide what pages you want and the purpose of each page.

Pages shouldn’t be there because everybody else has them. Each of your web pages needs to work hard for you.

KEY POINT - Remember each page is a sales person who should work for you 24/7.

If you already have a website this maybe is the place to say you should get your head around using the analytics for your site. These will tell you how visitors arrive at your site, which pages they go to, how long they stay there and how many bail out without doing anything. The current phrase is “sticky”. That is to create pages that keep your visitor involved and on the site.

Not having a website really isn’t an option these days but you need to understand its position as a major part of your selling strategy. You need to work with a website developer who will explain all the technical underpinning of a site in plain English to help you with writing the text.

There are two variables you need to consider for each page.
your live animate visitor
your inanimate search engine visitor

Each of these visitors has to be satisfied and each has different needs.

For the inanimate visitor you need to identify the most appropriate keywords to use. For your live visitor you need to delve into the psychology of why they've visited your site and what they hope to gain from the visit.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Writer's block

If you want to write something but you’re scared, ask yourself what’s the worst thing that can happen to you by writing it?

If you think what you want to write is important then that should be stronger than the fear of writing.

Writers - a wake up call

If you haven’t written something in the last 24 hours why not?

You’re a writer aren’t you?

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Writing a book - reasons to do it


You have a passion for sharing knowledge.

What passions do you have that you can share? One of the facts the Internet has thrown up is that since we’re no longer restricted to the people in our neighbourhood the world is full of fans with interests.

You might be the one with the in-depth knowledge. You don’t know till you try. You can share knowledge on many levels. Let’s take an example of bringing up children. A book could be written from different perspectives.

Expert to beginner.
Paediatrician to mothers giving advice in a down to earth way.

Expert to expert.
Paediatrician to other doctors sharing findings of research.

Peer to peer.
Mum to other mums sharing their experiences, good or bad.

Lay person to expert
Mum to doctors telling them why in her experience some of their theories are wrong of unhelpful.

Mum to children
Talking about the problems of motherhood, or particular parts of it like dealing with teenagers.

For more reasons see The Writer's Little Book of .... Business Writing for Results

Business writing for results-key points

Key Point Summary From The Writer's Little Book of... Business Writing for Results (for more details about publication go to

Knowing what you want to achieve with your writing increases your chances of achieving it.
Remember this at all times when you write. Only one person will read your piece at a time
Keeping your radar tuned for opportunities for writing will pay results.
What do you want your writing to do for you?
Feature + that means for you = benefit
Time spent researching the market to find the gap is never wasted.
Does the title of your blog entry, or article or book create curiosity in your reader?
Writing for your website is simply another medium for marketing your business.
There’s always something you can do to move your writing on.
80% of the most effective writing relies on thorough editing. Never believe that your first effort will do the job – it won’t.
Use your blog as part of your complete marketing strategy and over time it will pay off for your business.
Tweeting may seem like a waste of time but it can have a power beyond what you can imagine.
Positioning yourself as an expert in your field produces opportunities to build your business profile
Writing has one purpose and one purpose only. To transmit the ideas, thoughts and knowledge of the writer across to the reader.
Matching your reader’s language can make life easier for you.
Clear layout can increase the chances of your reader understanding your text and responding to it.
Subheads make your case fast.
Headlines are your ad for your piece of text.
Having a system for your writing projects means you’re more likely to achieve your aim and less likely to miss out something important.
Clear notes are the key to efficient writing.
Writing business proposals that connect to your reader’s needs increases your chances of success.
Consider purpose of any report before you write it.
Minutes should be impartial and a factual record of events.
Always angle the text to what interests the reader not what interests you.
Expanding your ideas about what a book is will give you the key to how you can write a successful one.
Keep your sentences simple.
Making friends with grammar gives you freedom in writing.

And finally, enjoy your writing!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Writer's block

Here's a technique to kick you into writing

Set a timer for 15 minutes and write about yesterday. You can write what happened hour by hour, you can write as if you're telling a friend or you can choose one incident and concentrate on that.

When the timer buzzes, stop even if it is mid sentence.

Count how many words you’ve written, multiply by 4 and you have a measure of your writing speed per hour. If you can write 100 words in 15 minutes that equals 400 an hour. There's no right or wrong figure because we all work at different speeds.

Saturday, 19 September 2009


I love cats and this compilation made me giggle. Recognised quite a lot of the behaviour too.

and if you hate cats, watch it and have your prejudices confirmed.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Dorothy Parker

"Brevity is the soul of lingerie." Dorothy Parker, (What Fresh Hell Is This?)

Writing clinic

If you're struggling with writing with clarity and simplicity then here's a tip to help you.


Go to a bookshop or the library or wherever there are children’s books. Find one that is on the subject of your book. How do they put it across to a child?

More mud wrestling techniques in The Writer's Little Book of ... Business Writing for Results. More details at

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Integral Enlightenment

Over the summer I've been listening to an fascinating audio series on the future of spirituality in an evolutionary context. Since I always have my own challenges in meditating and overcoming ego I've found them very helpful.

You can download free meditation by Craig Hamilton - awakening to the great perfection.

Speakers in the series have included Ken Wilber, Michael Murphy, Andrew Hamilton and Genpo Roshi. All new speakers to me except Ken Wilber so it's opened up many lines of enquiry for me.
I hope you find it interesting too.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Scarborough Jazz Festival

Spending weekend at Scarborough Jazz Festival
Annual treat this time includes John Etheridge, Michael Garrick, Trudy Kerr and Liane Carroll. With the unique Alan Barnes as compere.

Still not too late to book a ticket. Incredible value - get it while it lasts.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Inspirational quotes for writers

"Success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others." Marianne Williamson

Writing for your website

Here's another excerpt from 'Effective writing for the web'
When you ask these questions about your business it will concentrate your efforts and give you the focus you need to write targeted text.


These are your best friends. Before you do anything for your business they’ll work hard on your behalf and shortcut your path to a website that brings you the results you want.

Let’s wind them up and set them off working for you.

WHO are your customers?
WHAT do they want?
WHEN do they want it?
HOW can you deliver it?
WHY should they buy from you?

This is research I expect my clients to do before I start to write. They are in the best place to know it. My research is based on what they’ve already done though I don’t rely on it completely.

If I told you that doing this research can be the difference between having an okay site and one that brings you the business you want, how prepared are you to put in the effort?
Where do I start in writing the text?

At this point in the book I’m assuming that:
1. You’ve carried out all your research. If you haven’t go back and do it. Any time you spend writing before you have a clear focus in your mind will be wasted otherwise.
2. You’ve checked out websites in your market sector and worked out what you like what you don’t and found out how successful these sites are.
3. You’ve looked at the language they use on the sites and why you like it or don’t.

KEYPOINT: Never steal from them. Develop your own approach based on ideas you like. Making it your unique site is important in the long term.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Encouragement for writers

Did you hear about the miners who stopped digging 6 feet from a rich gold seam?
How close are you to your writing gold seam?

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Inspirational quotes

"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves." Carl Jung

How to beat the blank page

Here is a way to take the terror out of starting to write.


Make a list of all the things you know about your subject. Now choose 2 and imagine you’re talking to someone about them. What would you say? Write down how you’d introduce the topic to them if they began with zero knowledge.


There’s always something you can do to move your writing on.

This is just one of the techniques, tips and strategies to improve your business writing that you'll find in my soon to be published Writer's Little Book of Business Writing for Results.

email me for more details:

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Today's writing challenge

Write 122 words about chickens.

What's the offer

This morning I was talking to a fellow writer who like me helps authors to edit their books. We were discussing some of the challenges writers face in reaching even a finished book.

It may sound very anti beginner writers but this is said with a wish to be helpful to them. And save them wasting their valuable creative energy.

Look I know exactly how much effort goes into creating a book, any book. So I think it makes sense to direct the creative energy in the best possible way. And when you think about writing a book, then my question is 'what's the offer' in the book.

This might seem to only have relevance to non-fiction books. But even in fiction there has to be something for the reader to get hold of. To hold onto even if the writer takes them on a roller coaster ride from the start to the finish.

And it's fundamental to any non-fiction book that doesn't have a monopoly of an audience. Unless you've reached the fortunate harbour of people waiting with excitement for your next book then that has to be a major consideration.

What's the offer of my books?

That if you work through the books they will help you develop a writing system, speed up your writing and negotiate all the different stages of a writing project.

So if you're thinking of writing a book or you've started and it's not going as well as you hoped, then go right back to basics.

What's your offer to your reader?

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Chocolate and good intentions

If you've dipped into this blog before you may have read about my love for dark chocolate. That intense taste, mmm.

Came across this site recently - it's American but interesting in what they're trying to do.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Terry Wogan leaves

Sad to hear about Terry Wogan leaving the BBC morning show. He's enlivened more than one morning for me in the past.

As a listener, even if you don't like his humour you can admire the style of speaking. So easy, so fluid and drawing in his listeners.

As a writer that's a style to copy. Even if you think you don't want to listen it's very easy to be pulled into to his stories and the relationships he builds up. Suddenly despite yourself you're hooked and laughing and having an opionion.

He's a great role model for broadcasters and writers. And the fact that he makes it look so easy just underlines how good he is at his job.

Don Beck and Spiral Dynamics

Recently I came across the work of Don Beck and Spiral Dynamics building on the work of Dr Claire Graves. He is speaking at an event in the UK in September. More details here-

September 19-20 Pennine Summit on the Future of the United Kingdom
Second 2009 Summit on the Future of the UK, organized by CHE-UK and led by Dr. Beck.
Venue: Wakefield, UKContact: Jon Freeman at Website:

Nottingham events

Women of Influence Award 9 November 2009

Storming event for women to get together. Takes place at the East Midlands Conference Centre. For more details email

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Writng effective words for the web

This is an excerpt from my digital download book called "How to write effective web copy." More details at

If you have to write for your website, maybe for your book, then here's a simple way to start off finding what are the most important points to include in your text.


Sit down and write out all the questions people have asked you about your business over the last few months.

Now answer them, clearly and in simple terms.

Then discard your frequently asked questions page and instead write your website based on the questions.

If there are constantly similar questions that come up when you’re out networking, or explaining your business to people, then that’s what’s important for your website to focus on.

They will be the core pages of your site. How you arrange the information within your site will depend on how you want your visitor to access the information.

Heritage Open Days 2009

I've just been looking at the places open during the Heritage Open Days next week in the East Midlands. For more information about what's available to see then go to and check for your area.

In Nottingham I'm going to make sure I go to the Bromley Library in the city centre. Open next Saturday and you don't have to book.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Inspirational quotes

"Whether you think you can write or whether you think you can’t you’re definitely right." Eileen Parr (with a nod to Henry Ford)

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Inspirational quotes for writers

“If you practise an art, be proud of it and make it proud of you. It may break your heart but it will fill your heart before it breaks it; it will make you a person in your own right.”
Maxwell Anderson American Playwright

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

How to manage any writing project

People keep asking me how I manage to write as much as I do, as fast as I do. Well without a system I'd fall apart so this is the method I've evolved over my 6 years as a business writer. And in case you think this won't won't for fiction, then I used it to spec out and write a novel.

No it's not published... yet. May never be if I don't think it works but that's for another day.

Take this system if you like, run with it, change it and make it your own. It's a place to begin if you're floundering at present.

Step 1

Decide what you’re writing.
Think audience/problem/solution.

Step 2
Decide who you’re writing to.

Step 3
Decide why you’re writing.

Step 4

Collect all the research you need to write your piece.

Step 5
Write your first draft.

Step 6
Run the grammar and spell check. When you see the Readability Stats, aim for no more than 3% passive sentences.

Step 7

Check the layout. Do this in “Print Preview” at 75% and look for blocks of text that need breaking up.

Step 8

More grammar checks: now for the following:
X “I/We” sentences – turn them into a “You” focus.
X should/would/could – turn wherever possible into shall/will/can.
X all forms of the verb “to be” – is, are, was, were.
Wherever possible replace with a more active verb.

Step 9

Print out corrected draft. Then read out loud yourself, or better still ask someone else to read it.

That will show up long sentences, inconsistencies, places where the text doesn’t flow.
If they hesitate when reading aloud, that’s where your reader will hesitate in silent reading and maybe will bail out at that point.

Step 10

Correct and then print another draft. Ask someone else to look for typos. Your eye knows the text by now so well that it sees what it expects to, not what’s there. Make any necessary changes then you’re done.

Having a system for your writing projects means you’re more likely to achieve your aim and less likely to miss out something important.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Inspirational quotes for writers

'One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words.' Goethe