Storytelling in Action: Letting Go of the Mustang

“I need to know if  you are going to take the Mustang, or not because our cousin knows a guy that really wants it and who said he’ll finish the restoration,” said my sister. The car she was referring to was a 1966 Mustang, my dad’s last project car. It had been sitting in storage …

How Good Writing is Like a Barrel of Monkeys

When it comes to sentence and paragraph transitions, I want you to think of the game Barrel of Monkeys.  Barrel of Monkeys is a toy developed in the mid-1960s that is now sold by Milton Bradley / Hasbro. The game consists of a plastic barrel containing 10 plastic monkeys with arms going in opposite directions. …

Could You Write for 30 Minutes a Day?

About 20 years ago, I hired an NYC-based book coach, Jerry Mundis, to help me get the first of a bad novel done—a fictional tale modeled after the movie Working Girl with Melanie Griffith. (To be clear, the bad part is on me—I didn’t hire him to edit it, I hired him to help me …

What’s a Platform?

If you are thinking of writing a book—or even in the middle of writing one—and you don’t yet have a forum that allows you to connect with your target audience, you’re not alone. In book parlance, this forum is called an author “platform.”  A platform is important for many reasons but especially so if you …

Is it Really a Writing Problem?

Most client writing problems I encounter are actually thinking problems. The biggest problem is they haven’t taken the time to identify a point of view, i.e., decide what they really think about a topic so they can communicate that clearly to the reader. Instead, they “kitchen sink” it and assume the reader will sort it …

Passive Voice Should Be Avoided Unless…

Avoid using passive voice unless…you know what you’re doing. Unintentional or careless use of passive voice bogs writing down and damages the reader’s experience. Used strategically, however, it can be super useful. A good example of this is in the blurb I posted on Thursday where I said, “The job of a business book is …

What’s Your Agenda?

One of the many objects I helped my second ex-husband purchase was a 1983 Honda Goldwing. It belonged to a Chicago cop friend of ours. This thing had been sitting in the garage for at least a decade and so needed to be completely torn down and serviced. Luckily, we had another friend who owned …

How to Work with a Co-Writer

You want to write a book but intuitively you know you’re never going to make it happen on your own. You probably don’t even know why, so I will tell you.  You don’t have the 500 hours (or more) over 18 months (or more) or the inclination to devote that much time to turning your …

Five Things to Think About Before You Agree to Co-Author a Book

I’m having a fabulous experience right now helping two professors get out a book on AI and machine learning for marketers. They are both brilliant and personable and respectful, not just of each other’s expertise but mine, too. As you can imagine, given the topic, it’s a bit of a beast, but the book is …

Academic to Business Communications: Making the Jump

In academic writing, you offer a hypothesis, present all the facts in an objective manner, and then offer a conclusion. The objective is to get your thinking in front of other academics (people thinking about the same topic) who will then consider all of your facts and then either validate or challenge your hypothesis/conclusion. The …