Short courses

Writing courses for your office, work group or association.

Choose a combination for a long session. Select one short class for a lunch-time or brown-bag seminar.

What to write.

Write for the digital age Learn how to write for people facing computer screens. How digital writing differ from print. Words you can omit. Writing for websites, blogs. Write tight. Involve readers. Use imperative verbs.

Write your op-ed, commentary or rant: 4 hours on winning essays Write what you think about 1 narrow topic. Write about homework for kids with incarcerated parents, not about education in America. Write everything you think about that topic. Stick to the point. Wrestle it to the ground. Be cranky. Be anything but insipid. Like this.

Write technical manuals Organize before you write. Follow logical patterns. Deploy powerful verbs, starting every command with an imperative verb. Write a single instruction per line. Standardize comparable elements. Learn tips for deleting extra words. Test the instructions before sharing.

Master creative nonfiction Raise your copy to the next level. Choose powerful words, especially verbs. Observe visual, auditory and sensory details. Weave clever images and anecdotes into your copy. Improve beginnings and endings. Learn to interview people for publication. Try scene-by-scene construction. Hone anecdotes and vignettes.

Write interesting newsletters Learn newsletter-writing tips. Determine which subjects to cover in every issue and which to use occasionally. Learn how to interview executives and choose their most quotable quotes. Edit your newsletter until you want to scream.

Sharpen your interviewing skills Interview people about simple and complex ideas. Relax your subjects in order to make them feel safe talking. Pose tough questions to get great answers. Extract pearls of wisdom from reluctant subjects. This class precedes the one below.

Use quotations as spice Choose only quotations that invigorate the story. Find shiny quotes in trite interviews with executives, experts. What’s noteworthy is not always quoteworthy. Differentiate speech from written text, quotes from paraphrasing. What’s fair quoting? This class follows the one above.

How to write, for advanced practitioners.

Rely on active verbs Wield active verbs to make your copy brighter, richer, stronger – it’s the numero uno way to improve your writing fast. Choose imperative verbs for writing directions. Avoid passive verbs and the verb to be. Just do it.

Learn 16 striking ways to begin Agonize over your opening because you have to hook the reader immediately. Up top, identify the message of the e-mail, web page or article. Learn new ways to begin a piece of writing. “A lead ought to shine like a flashlight, down into the whole piece, if possible,” John McPhee says.

Write super e-mails Learn to produce dynamic, powerful e-mails. Organize your thoughts about the topic, purpose and audience. Know what you want to say before you write. Develop efficient openings. Say what you want to say. Then stop.

Revise your copy painlessly Revising is the only way to get it right. “The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug,” said Mark Twain. Step back from your draft and excise excess words. Learn to shorten copy so it hits the point home.

Revise someone else’s copy In business, you may help a colleague polish a report. Here’s how. Whether you edit a co-worker, an assistant or the CEO, your insight and marginal notes can help or hurt. Determine which words to amputate and how to carve with kindness. Read more here.

How to write, for novices.

Avoid writer’s block Do you have trouble starting to write? Don’t despair. Novelist/playwright Joseph Heller says, “Every writer I know has trouble writing.” Erica Jong says it’s easier not to finish a piece of writing, “because, when you finish something, you can be judged.” Learn 20 ways to break through your writing barriers.

Personal writing for professional writers People who write for a living often wish to write about personal experience. Discuss the form and function of memoirs, personal essays and commentary pieces. Read your drafts aloud and proffer kinder, gentler critiques to others. Learn to express your ideas.

Grammar for grown-ups Reboot your database of commas, complete sentences and abbreviations. Learn about active verbs. Learn 21 rules for good writing, 8 ways to tame your computer, 4 ways to proofread your work.

Left-brain/right brain processing as it affects business writing. This session lets each participant evaluate her/his own writing style and gives her/him information about possible improvements. It’s excellent for individuals, invaluable for a team.

Tame Microsoft Word Make your computer behave. Stop letting software limit your expression. Learn how Word can enhance your writing and editing. Gain skills with spelling and grammar, track-changes, the “insert” menu and more.

Additional writing classes.

What writing class do you want? What writing course do your people need? I can create the classes you want for your audience. Just ask.

Some of these classes take an hour or two, and some a full day. Combine multiple elements to create unique training for your organization.  To learn more or schedule a class, e-mail me.