The most abused word in the English language

Some words in the English language take a whipping every day. Here is my pick for the most abused word in the English language.

Pop quiz time. Please read the following four sentences and tell me what’s wrong with them:

  • He only ate the green peppers.
  • They only had ten minutes to get there.
  • She only wants a few firecrackers.
  • We only ate a dozen hamburgers.

“Only” is a word with an unspoken implication – that there are many possibilities, but all are false except one. [Read more…]

Three ways to write for the Web

There are three ways to write for online readers.  Learn the basics on how to write for the Web below.

You might have heard that writing for the Web is different than other writing. And you would be right.  But it is not that simple.

There are three types of writing for the Web.  Each serves a different purpose.  Each takes a different approach.  If you master these three styles, you can write anything you will need to reach an online audience:

  • Sales copy
  • Task-oriented content
  • Storytelling

Your conversion rate, however you measure it, depends on directly identifying the style you need. [Read more…]

Freelance writers, this is your guide!

If you read only one book to boost your freelance writing career, you should read Start Here. You get the top tips from 40 successful freelance writers

Perhaps you are struggling to keep focused or stay organized. Perhaps you need more clients – or even the same number of clients, without working so hard to get them. Perhaps you need to overcome fear or inertia, or you need better marketing or ways to make more money from your freelance writing career. [Read more…]

Not all words are created equal

Not all words are created equal. Some are more powerful than others. Some are more precise. Some will elicit the right reaction.

Every writer knows just how important it is to choose just the right words.

No.  Wait.  That’s not true.  Every writer knows that it is important to choose just the right words, but most have no idea just how important it is.  But sometimes it can be quantified. [Read more…]

52 more signs that you might be a writer

Being a writer is more than just a profession.  It’s a special kind of bizarre. Check for these 52 tell-tale signs of being a writer.

In July last year, I shared with you 54 ominous signs that you might be a writer.  Writers are “special” people.  I offered that guide to help you self-screen for this condition before it becomes terminal.  Now I offer you another 52 signs you can use to self-diagnose your condition.  I strongly urge you to read that guide first, before proceeding with this one, for no particular reason.  Please feel free to let us know in the comments below if any of these signs apply to you.

CAUTION: 4 out of 5 writers who read to the end of this guide have found their writer condition to be terminal. [Read more…]

Four writers spill the beans on the habits that make them awesome

It takes more than spelling and grammar to be an effective writer, as these four respected writers explain.

Not all jobs are alike, and writing comes with its own set of challenges and benefits.  As in any profession, writers develop habits to make their work more productive, more effective, less prone to errors and more satisfying.

Today I present the input of four writers I know who are NOT affiliated with THGM Writing Services, but are nevertheless well-respected writers who serve their clients well. They will share with us the habits they use to make themselves superior writers and more productive with their time.  Please feel free to address any of them individually in the comments.  I have also included their Twitter handles, so that you can follow them there if you wish. [Read more…]

14 songs about writing

What is your favorite song about writing? Here are 14 to choose from.

This week, let’s have a little fun and inspiration. While most songs are about mushy stuff, like love and romance, or about painful stuff, like heartbreak and social turmoil, there are some songs about writing or at least paying tribute to writers.

Here are a few of them: [Read more…]

Is my story good enough to publish?

Before hiring a ghostwriter, many people want to know if their story is “good enough”.  OK, let’s see if it is.

Many people who approach us to help them write their books want to know what we think of their story.  They ask if it’s good enough.  They want to know if they have a bestseller. Can their story keep readers perched on the edge of their seats, drooling for more?

Of course, the bestseller question comes too early, given how many factors go into the making of a bestseller (I list some of them here).  But it’s a fair question to ask if their story is good enough to be published – or more to the point, whether it is good enough to be worth publishing. [Read more…]

K.I.S.S. your readers

Big words suck.  Gargantuan expressions fail to fulfill your readership’s expectations.  See how small words win the day?

Have you ever felt the need to use big words to sound more important or authoritative, or just to fill up space? Big words usually just make you sound pompous, at best. At worst, you make your text more challenging to read, and people do exactly what you might expect; they stop reading. Your writing should be as easy-flowing as possible. You should use the simplest words possible. [Read more…]

A sneak peak at the leaked CIA Style Guide

This is not satire; this guide really exists and the quotes in this post really come from the CIA’s Style Manual and Writer’s Guide.

People love a good secret. In fact, few things can be spread to all corners of the globe faster than something that nobody is supposed to know. So it is little wonder that when the CIA’s Style Manual and Writer’s Guide was leaked, we got our hands on a copy without even having to double-cross anybody, steal it or escape over a wall with machine guns blaring at our backs (lucky for us). [Read more…]