3 Brainstorming Tips for Your Next Writing Project

Be prepared to jot down writing ideas whenever you get them. (Photo: janeb13)

For many people, one of the hardest things about writing is choosing a topic. Once you choose the topic, it gets easier from there because you can begin narrowing your focus.

Whether you’re writing text for a marketing brochure or a novel, you’ll probably need to brainstorm several ideas before choosing the final topic.

If you’re struggling at the brainstorming stage, you’re definitely not alone. Here are three tips to get you on the right track. Continue reading “3 Brainstorming Tips for Your Next Writing Project”

Writers: How to “Steal” an Idea and Put a Personal Spin on It

Don’t steal. But do let other writers’ ideas influence your own. And then build on them, ethically. (By: Sebastien Decoret)

Have you ever read or heard something that influenced you, but you didn’t want to use it in your writing because you were afraid of stealing someone’s ideas?

If so, that’s a normal feeling. Many writers and artists have had the same fear.

But it can also be a mistake. Sure, you don’t want to plagiarize or completely copy a person’s work, but it’s human nature to be inspired and influenced by others, so it’s better to embrace that.

Let’s say you work at a company and recently got some great ideas from a business book. You would like to include these ideas in a blog post or white paper, but you’re a little unsure because you didn’t come up with them yourself.

There’s no reason you can’t use the ideas in your writing just because someone else has covered them already. It’s important, however, to do this in an ethical way and put your own spin on it.

Here are some tips for doing just that. Continue reading “Writers: How to “Steal” an Idea and Put a Personal Spin on It”

5 Techniques to Help You Get Over Writer’s Block

Sometimes the best way to beat writer’s block is to take off for a while. (Photo: Sevak Aramyan)

If you’ve written anything, and we all have, then you’ve surely had the experience of struggling to get your words down on paper.

Whether it was a professional assignment last week or an essay for homework back in fifth grade, it can be daunting to stare at a blank page and try to get your ideas down.

Writer’s block is universal, but the good news is that there are several effective strategies for getting over it.

If you’re struggling with writer’s block, try any of the following techniques and see what works best for you. Continue reading “5 Techniques to Help You Get Over Writer’s Block”

Why Style Guides Matter in Business Writing

Pick a style guide, any style guide.

You have a sense of style with your wardrobe. You have a sense of style with your home furnishings. You may have even created a sense of style with your car.

But what about with your writing?

Do you use the first person in some articles and third person in others? Do you spell out state names sometimes and other times abbreviate them?

To be an effective business writer, you need to have a consistent style.

The best way to achieve consistency is by following a style guide or a style manual.

Two of the best-known style guides are The Associated Press Stylebook and The Chicago Manual of Style. Many publishers use one of these books as a guide for language use, such as spelling, abbreviations, and punctuation. They’ll then add their own style preferences that are particular to their own organization.

Copy editors are tasked with reading and editing copy that is in keeping with that house style. Continue reading “Why Style Guides Matter in Business Writing”