Writing Toolbox

Best Practices

  1. Establish a template to use across all forms of writing. It should include the company logo, a header, a dateline and subheaders that stand out against everything else on the paper. The consistency will help you spend less time contemplating the format and redirect that time towards content generation. Here is a template I like to use everyday.
  2. Find credible influencers who can participate in an interview. After grabbing their quotes and soundbites, ask about the resources they use to stay informed on the topic.
  3. Explore the influencers’ research reservoirs to gather facts and figures. In addition, audit other authors to explore how they discuss the larger conversation behind your topic.
  4. Once the first draft is complete, rewrite your piece to tighten sentences. Remove any unnecessary words like “the” and “that.” Translate passive voices into active voices.
  5. Check for scannability. In other words, how can you make the content easier to read for your audiences? Can they take away the key points through a quick glance?
  6. Always find two trusted friends for the final editing phase. Read through their revisions to learn the grammatical rules you missed and extra writing tricks.

Exercises

Favorite Tools

Palomino Blackwing Pencils, $24.95 on Amazon

Markings by C.R. Gibson, Black Bonded Leather Journal, $14.99 on C.R. Gibson


Sharpie Plastic Point Stick Water Resistant Pen, Ink, Fine, Pack of 12, Black (1742663), $14.98 on Amazon

2018 AP Stylebook, Spiral Bound Book, Updated Each Spring, $22.95 on Associated Press

Additional Resources

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips (Podcast and Blog)

New York Times’ “Copy Edit This!” Quizzes

How to Write Like Hemingway by R. Andrew Wilson, Ph.D.

642 Things to Write About by the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto

Working with Words: A Handbook for Media Writers and Editors by Brian S. Brooks, James L. Pinson and Jean Gaddy Wilson

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Askt: Daily Thought-Provoking Questions (Smartphone App)