What do writers do when they’re not writing for clients?
They write for themselves!

My blog, WordPlay at Work, is where I share some of my insights (and maybe an occasional rant) from 25 years in the writing biz. You’ll also find tips on writing and marketing topics (like “writing by committee” and how to avoid common errors, produce consistent work, and save money). Here are some of the posts — take a look.

Plain English or Just Plain? — The Plain English movement has been around in earnest since the 1970s, some say even earlier. It advocates writing in a clear, nontechnical style, free of jargon and long-windedness. It’s a beautiful thing. Plain English turns this: NO PERSON HAS … Continue reading →

The Right Way to Write by Committee — Most of my projects involve some form of “writing by committee.” Despite the bad connotation, it doesn’t have to mean writing that takes forever, is watered down, reads poorly, and ultimately doesn’t do the topic justice. Unless my client is a one-person … Continue reading →

Newsletters — Read or Dead? Part I — Over the years, I’ve edited, written for, and proofread dozens of newsletters for my employers and clients. And, like you, I’ve been on the receiving end of newsletters from various organizations. Some of these have been successful; some haven’t. Here’s … Continue reading →

Newsletters — Read or Dead? Part II — Last time, we looked at what newsletters can do for your business. Now let’s look at what makes them successful…or not. These qualities are key: Consistent. The newsletter is published regularly (monthly, bimonthly, quarterly, biannually) and has been through several … Continue reading →

Newsletters — Read or Dead? Part III — In Parts I and II, we looked at what newsletters can do for your organization and what makes them successful…or not. To conclude, we’ll look at some of the many newsletter options as well as some alternatives when a newsletter … Continue reading →

Writing the Book on Style — Determining what style, what “voice,” your organization will use is one hurdle. Using that voice consistently is another. How do you keep everyone who writes for your organization on the same page? And how do you keep your published materials … Continue reading →

Be Your Own Proofreader: 11 Errors to Avoid – -Keep your writing polished — and save your proofreader’s red pen — by eliminating these 11 common errors.* 1. it’s vs. its This often confuses people because we usually add an apostrophe “s” to indicate possession: the boy’s bicycle, the … Continue reading →

Jargon or Plain English? Weigh in. — A while back, wrapping up a conference call, I told the other meeting participants I would “ping” someone after the meeting. I immediately felt foolish. Pinging someone is one of those buzzwords I had heard often, but never used. Originally … Continue reading →

Make Your Writing Dollars Count — Not everyone has worked with a professional writer. Some small businesses are used to handling everything themselves; some subject matter experts haven’t been involved in developing marketing materials or writing byline articles. If you’re new to working with a writer, … Continue reading →

Direct Marketing — The More Things Change… — When Julius the cat wants my attention, he jumps on my desk, situates himself between me and the screen, looks at me earnestly, and taps my face with his paw. It’s annoying and endearing at the same time. When his … Continue reading →

Why Experience Matters…and Doesn’t — Anyone in business knows what it means to compete for customers. You’ve had to put your goods, services, or know-how up against a competitor’s and strive to emerge the winner — the one the customer buys from or the client … Continue reading →

Does What I Do Matter? — I started reading a new work-related book yesterday on the topic of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The book’s author is highly successful; the book came recommended. Just a few pages into it, though, I was discouraged enough to put it … Continue reading →

Did You Say “Dinosaur”? Or, Doing Business in a Way Customers Understand. — In a great old Twilight Zone episode coincidentally named “Wordplay” (the name of my business), a salesman wakes up to find himself in a world where familiar words have suddenly taken on new meanings. In the end, he’s forced to … Continue reading →