Best Writing Advice I Ever Got

I've been in the communications business a long time?over 25 years. During that period I've gathered writing suggestions from all over, and put much of it in my new book "Words That Stick."

In the next few paragraphs, I'll give you some of the best advice I've received. Perhaps some of this will help you write better instantly.

Writing is a one-to-one communication. The best writing literally comes alive. It makes the reader believe the writer is speaking to him or her alone.

I hope you enjoy this list of tips. After you read them, try a few out.

1. The headline ? or heading ? of a report is the most important part. Research tells us it's read four times as much as the rest of the copy. That's why it's gotta be really good.

2. My favorite headlines are slightly incongruous. They just don't quite make sense. That's what forces me to read more.

3. One of the strongest first sentences is one that asks a question. Example: "Do you have these symptoms of fatigue?"

4. It appears that the faster the world moves, the more readers gravitate to short copy. Most of us are looking for quick explanations and simple solutions. Can you provide those to your reader?

5. Readers generally quit reading because they get bored. Therefore, each paragraph should be exciting, logical, and compel the reader to keep going.

6. One of the best ways to convince the reader to agree with you is to provide testimonials. A testimonial is someone else's validation of your product or service.

7. The ending to a report should sound natural to the reader. If you begin the ending well ? by signaling your readers you're nearing the conclusion ? they will know to expect it in the next few sentences.

Rix Quinn's new book "Words That Stick" offers lots more writing ideas. You can order it through your local bookstore, or through Ten Speed Press http://www.tenspeed.com/catalog/all/ite m.php3?id=1661

In The News:

Avoid These Bad Habits in Your Writing  LifehackerThe top copy editor at Random House has a book out about what you should and shouldn't do in your writing, and people are already arguing about it. All writing ...
Reader Idea: A New Research and Argument-Writing Approach Helps Students Break Out of the Echo Chamber  New York TimesTwo teachers describe methods for helping students examine multiple viewpoints and make thoughtful, nuanced claims about a range of hot-button issues.
Eight Scribes Selected for Disney-ABC Television 2019 Writing Program  DeadlineThe Disney ABC Television Writing Program has selected the participants for the 2019 program, with the incoming scribes hailing from Virginia, Florida, Alaska, ...
How to Keep Writers on Track with Military-Grade Planning  Search Engine JournalThis five-step plan will help your writers efficiently produce the kind of *content* that gets people talking about you, your *content*, and your brand.
Want to get writing and featured on TheJournal.ie? RTÉ Radio 1's short story competition is now open  TheJournal.ieThe winners of the RTÉ Radio 1 Short Story Competition will have their work featured on TheJournal.ie and on the station.
Sandra Cisneros on Looking Through Her Past Writing  PEN AmericaBelow is excerpted from the introduction to A House of My Own: Stories from My Life by Sandra Cisneros, who will be honored with the 2019 PEN/Nabokov ...
This AI is so good at writing that its creators won't let you use it  KSL.comA new artificial intelligence system is so good at composing text that the researchers behind it said they won't release it for fear of how it could be misused.
University of Iowa graduates win Hollywood honor for writing Stephen King TV show  Iowa City Press CitizenFour University of Iowa graduates took home a Writers Guild of America Award Sunday for their work on the Hulu show "Castle Rock," a show based around the ...
Kavan Smith Talks Writing, Cooking, Comfort Food and When Calls the Heart  ParadeWhen you see Kavan Smith, you know you've seen him before, but you might not be able to put your finger on what you've seen him in. Smith has been a staple ...
Top Tips of Free Tools for Polishing Your Grammar and Writing Style  Thrive GlobalWriting is a complicated skill which most students actually need to be able to successfully go through college. No wonder their writing appears to be so far better ...
Date change for Lehigh Valley Writing Project's annual conference  Penn State NewsThe Lehigh Valley Writing Project will host its annual "Best Practices in Teaching Conference: Make Writing Matter" from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, April ...
Two VandenBerge students honored for their writing | Elk River  ECM PublishersVandenBerge Middle School sixth-grade student Breanna Bode is a published essayist.
Plastic Parvati: The award-winning musician who is writing songs on mental health and sexuality  Scroll.inThe opening song of Suyasha Sengupta aka Plastic Parvati's autobiographical debut album, Songs About Lovers, ends with the line “The best is yet to come”.
How Did a Clever Reprint Lead to Roger Stern's First Marvel Writing?  CBRFind out how a clever use of a reprint led to Roger Stern's first writing for Marvel Comics!
JAMES LABRIE Says DREAM THEATER Wanted To Get Back To Writing A 'Classic' And 'Heavy' Album With 'Distance Over Time'  BLABBERMOUTH.NETJames LaBrie says DREAM THEATER wanted to "get back to writing a classic heavy album" with its upcoming 14th full-length effort, "Distance Over Tim...
SEO: 9 Tips for Writing Great Content  Practical EcommerceTextual *content* enables search engines to understand your site. The words you choose should engage shoppers and boost your site's relevance to the ...
Gerard Way Compares Writing Music For The Umbrella Academy To My Chemical Romance  Kerrang!Gerard Way has said that writing the music for The Umbrella Academy is similar to that of writing for My Chemical Romance. Speaking to Kerrang!, the former ...
Writing proper English: let's call it an act of resistance  Sydney Morning HeraldRule one: some rules should be broken. An English style guru has some tips for today's writers.
Pocatello Chapter Idaho Writer's League to meet Wednesday  Idaho State JournalPocatello Chapter Idaho Writer's League meets monthly on the third Wednesday of the month from 5 to 7 p.m. Meetings are held at Portneuf District Library, 5210 ...
Southern West Virginia is getting a creative writing retreat  WVVA TV(Lewisburg) A creative writing retreat is popping up in Lewisburg. The idea of the weekend long retreat at Lee Street Studios is to learn about and share.
Paddy Agnew: 'Is Dan Brown writing the script at Vatican?'  Independent.ieThe only question to be asked around the Vatican this week is who is writing the script - Dan Brown or Robert Harris?
The Case for Writing a Book Even If It Sells No Copies  Psychology TodayThe benefits of the process plus Amazon's amazing self-publishing platform.
Camp Chop: Braves hitters may be writing their own lineup card  FanSidedBrian Snitker floated an idea for the Braves' offensive lineup for 2019, and the players are already suggesting a change.
Richmond student named finalist in CBC writing contest  Richmond NewsFor as long as Katelyn Snell can remember, she's wanted to be a writer. The 17-year-old McMath student says she's dabbled in crime writing and journalism but ...
Writing the 2019 Elections: Conspiracism and the titill...  Daily MaverickThis article was written before the most recent conspiratorial theory of President Cyril Ramaphosa's alleged collusion with apartheid security forces. Between last ...
The technology behind OpenAI's fiction-writing, fake-news-spewing AI, explained  MIT Technology ReviewThe language model can write like a human, but it doesn't have a clue what it's saying.
Taco Bell employee goes viral for writing inspirational message in every takeout order  Yahoo LifestyleTaco Bell employee Kelly Stewart, 27, goes viral for writing personal messages to drive-through costumers.
Free history and creative writing workshops at Gwent Archives in Ebbw Vale  South Wales ArgusGWENT Archives, in Ebbw Vale, has two free workshops coming up soon.
Lessons from Eight Years of Writing an Adventure Blog  OutsideOur Semi-Rad columnist reflects on his life in the blogosphere.
Sign on the dotted line: Why millennials are writing contracts for their relationships  Chicago TribuneRachel Sibley and John Meyer had been dating four months when they planned out a night to reflect on their relationship. They dimmed the lights, lit some ...
Creative Writing Program Receives Record Number of Applications, Moves into Lamont | News  Harvard CrimsonUPDATED: February 14, 2019 at 3:50 p.m.. For the second year in a row, a record number of students applied to and enrolled in the English department's ...
God of War Wins in Best Videogame Writing Category at 2019’s Writers Guild of America Awards  WccftechGod of War got yet another award on Sunday when the Writers Guild of America announced the 2019 winners. The prize for 'Best videogame writing' went to the ...
Writing a Simple 'Wealth Mission Statement' Changed My Financial Life. Here Are 3 Steps to Creating Your Own  MONEYOne simple statement changed my financial life. Many people say they want to be rich. I was one of them. However, I was saddled with debt and faced a ...
Northwest instructors complete writing institute | News  DeSoto Times-TribuneRecently, Northwest Mississippi Community College English instructors Beth Adams and Doug Johnson completed the Invitational Leadership Institute for ...
God of War Took Home WGA Awards 2019 Trophy for Best Video Game Writing  PlayStation LifeStyleDuring the WGA Awards 2019 on February 17th, PlayStation exclusive God of War took home the trophy for Video Game Writing.
Bold writing, what is it?  Myjoyonline.comThis is where words stand independent of the entire sentence. The words carry weight in themselves which burden the entire sentence to stand apart from what ...
Rom-Com Queen Meg Ryan Is Writing a Swoon-Worthy New Movie  Vanity FairYou can't talk about American romantic comedies without talking about Meg Ryan. She is synonymous with the genre, having ascended to ultimate rom-com ...
Ministerial appointment: Okupe deserves award in fiction writing — Lai Mohammed  VanguardMinister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday, dismissed the statement credited to former presidential spokesman, Dr. Doyin Okupe, that ...
Writing About Writing About the Border Crisis  The New YorkerValeria Luiselli's intricate novel, “Lost Children Archive,” confronts the complexities of bearing witness, James Wood writes.
Trisha Yearwood Talks Writing For the Last Time With Garth Brooks: ‘That’s Our Story’  PEOPLE.comTrisha's new album "Let's Be Frank" features eleven standards and one original which she wrote with her husband Garth Brooks.
Heidi Toffler, unheralded half of a futurist writing team, dies at 89  Washington PostHeidi Toffler, who partnered with her husband, Alvin Toffler, to write best-selling books about the future of human society in an age of rapid technological change ...
Marina Warner Lays the Groundwork for Dynamic Art Writing  HyperallergicForms of Enchantment: Writings on Art & Artists by Marina Warner published by Thames & Hudson (2018) (image courtesy Thames & Hudson). There's a lot to ...
Giving students more music, theater, and dance boosts writing scores (and compassion), big new study finds  Chalkbeat New YorkOne of the largest gold-standard studies on arts education ever conducted finds measurable benefits to giving students more music, theater, and dance.
State's health-care giant opens door to writing cannabis recommendations to qualifying Utah patients  Salt Lake TribuneUtah's largest health provider has given its physicians the all-clear to recommend medical marijuana to qualifying patients, potentially alleviating a bottleneck ...
Neomi Rao, Trump’s nominee for D.C. appeals court, apologizes for past writing on date rape  The Washington PostNeomi Rao, President Trump's nominee to replace Brett M. Kavanaugh on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, apologized Monday for ...
Min Jin Lee on Her New Novel and Writing about the Korean Diaspora  Harvard MagazineAuthor Min Jin Lee, a fellow this year at the Radcliffe Institute, is best known for her epic novel Pachinko (2017). The story follows a Korean family from the ...
Florida is drowning. Condos are still being built. Can't humans see the writing on the wall?  The GuardianPeople tend to respond to immediate threats and financial consequences – and Florida's coastal real estate may be on the cusp of delivering that harsh wake-up ...
Written Bypasses Oakleigh Plate 19 February, 2019  Racing.comBlue Diamond winner won't back up after Lightning run.
Defeating Batman and Spiderman, God of War Video Game Wins Writers Guild Award  News18The Writers Guild of America has chosen the convention-challenging action game "God of War" as winner of 2018's Videogame Writing accolade. Read on for ...
Poetry day inspires young writers  News & StarONE OF Cumbria's rising young literary talents spent the day inspiring the next generation by bringing her passion for poetry to the classroom.
Why are so many women writing about rough sex?  The GuardianIt's no surprise a new generation of female authors is exploring sexual abuse and dominance, says Guardian columnist Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett.
This class lets students vandalize, experiment, and learn unconventional writing styles  The Daily PennsylvanianCollege junior Michael Greenstein graffitied “Welcome to Penn State” in blue chalk spray paint all over campus as part of a course assignment last week for ...
Israeli writer Ayelet Tsabari talks about being a literal 'wandering Jew'  Connecticut Jewish LedgerBy Emily Burack. Ayelet Tsabari says she cannot see herself not writing something Mizrahi, or Yemeni. “Of course, I might change my mind later,” she tells me in ...
Writer Edith Iglauer's legacy on the B.C. fishing village she made home  CBC NewsEdith Iglauer, 101, a ground-breaking journalist, brought an open curiosity and literary sensibility to the tiny B.C. village she made her home.
Upstate doctor charged for writing blank prescriptions, which were used to obtain oxycodone, DHEC says  FOX CarolinaLANDRUM, SC (FOX Carolina) – A medical doctor from Landrum was arrested after being accused of willingly, knowingly, and unlawfully signing blank ...
NAACP leader says Klan editorial writer should be investigated for threats  AL.comBenard Simelton, president of the Alabama NAACP, responded to an editorial in an Alabama newspaper calling for the Ku Klux Klan to "night ride again."
4-Step Guide to Writing Google Ads That Sell  Inc.Google ads not performing as well as you'd like? Apply these 4 simple strategies to take your ads from zero to infinity, fast.
Writers Babaloo Mandel, Lowell Ganz Reflect on 'Splash' Genesis  Hollywood ReporterWriting partners Babaloo Mandel and Lowell Ganz, who will be honored at Sunday's WGA Awards, talk about their process.
Trump Attorney General Pick Puts Marijuana Enforcement Pledge In Writing  ForbesWilliam Barr, President Trump's nominee to serve as the next U.S. attorney general, made headlines earlier this month when he pledged during his Senate ...
Writing Secure Shell Scripts  Linux JournalDon't expose your system with sloppy scripts! Although a Linux desktop or server is less susceptible to viruses and malware than a typical Windows device, ...
Expert Resume Writing Tips You Need To Know Now  ForbesYour resume is the one thing separating you from your next job. Read expert tips on how to put your best self forward in 2019 by the people who are hiring.
Lindsay Lohan Denies Writing Those Nasty Comments About Tamar Braxton After ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ Win  ETCanada.comAs fans of "Celebrity Big Brother" saw on this week's finale, Tamar Braxton emerged as this season's winner, and not every viewer was happy about it. One of ...
Much-loved coffee shop worker found dead after writing loving note in book  Liverpool EchoJardine Garvey, 25, had visited several popular Liverpool nightclubs with friends. Her devastated mum said: "It's totally out of character"
Russell Baker: ‘When Writing Is Fun, It’s Not Very Good’  The AtlanticFalling potatoes, reading lists, and humor critiques: a wide-ranging conversation with the legendary New York Times columnist, who died this week at 93.
Maronite language gets written for the first time  Cyprus MailThe Sanna language, spoken by only 800 people from the island's Maronite community, has received a writing system in an effort to preserve the language ...
100-Plus Writing Prompts to Explore Common Themes in Literature and Life  New York TimesUpdate, Feb. 15, 2019: Learn more about how to use our 1000s of writing prompts by watching our free on-demand webinar: “Give Them Something to Write ...
He was a big-time music writer who could party with stars, then he hit bottom. Now this Maine man is telling his story in pictures  Bangor Daily NewsPORTLAND, Maine — It wasn't easy for photographer Smith Galtney, 47, to find what he calls his “calm, *content* midlife.” It lay on the far side of a chaotic early ...
Novice writers given a platform to tell their stories | The Post  Independent OnlineA major step towards developing novice writers, giving them a platform and telling original local stories through literature ...
Zim writers mourn fallen literary giant  The HeraldThe domestic literary sector has described the demise of Dr Charles Muzuva Mungoshi as the fall of an institution as they regarded him as “writers within a ...
Writer helps drought affected farmers  The North Central ReviewAUTHOR and photographer Kathy Mexted has joined Matt Preston, Maggie Beer, Matt Moran and many other well-known chefs and writers to contribute to a ...
From Ian Fleming to Ann Cleeves: Desert Island Discs' best crime writer castaways  Telegraph.co.ukThe crime novelist Ann Cleeves is the latest castaway on the nation's favourite radio programme, Desert Island Discs. Many crime and thriller writers have ...
CNN's Jim Acosta is writing a book about Trump's war with the media  CNNNew York (CNN) CNN's chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta is authoring a book about the Trump administration and its battles with the news media.
Text analysis of thousands of grant abstracts shows that writing style matters  The Conversation - USGrant abstracts with more words, more complex language and more storytelling tend to earn more money – even if that's not exactly what funders say they'd ...
Cold Feet writer says there's "so much more to tell" as fans hope for series 9  DigitalSpy.comThe writer of Cold Feet has given *fresh* hope for another series. The eighth series of the ITV show wrapped on Monday (February 18) and taking to Twitter ...
Jeff Loomis Writing New Solo Album, Wants To Work With SEPULTURA's Drummer  Metal Injection.netJeff Loomis, of Arch Enemy and Nevermore fame, hasn't put out a new solo record since Plains Of Oblivion in 2012. That record featured ex-Megadeth frontman ...
JD Salinger's unseen writings to be published, family confirms  The GuardianExclusive: The Catcher in the Rye author's son tells the Guardian estate will publish almost 'all of what he wrote' over next decade.
Brooklyn Nets: One writer’s 10 favorite first-half Nets moments  FanSidedThe Brooklyn Nets had a wild, wacky first half of the NBA season, with some lows, a lot of highs and a number of memorable moments. Here are 10 of those.
Jill Abramson Plagiarized My Writing. So I Interviewed Her About It  Rolling StoneLast Wednesday, I was on assignment at a high school basketball game in Chicago's north suburbs, conducting interviews for a magazine profile about one of ...
Hull teenager's diary deciphered - 104 years after being written  Hull Daily MailStanley Hooker wrote the diary in Pitman shorthand when he was 15.
Chicago Sun-Times Letter to the Editor Writer Randy Rossi on wearing his MAGA hat to the auto show  WGN Radio - ChicagoChicago Sun-Times Letter to the Editor Writer Randy Rossi joins John Williams to talk about what happened, and what he expected to happen, when he wore ...
Bond 25: more delays as new writer hired to overhaul script  The GuardianRelease date pushed back to April 2020 following another twist in production of Daniel Craig's swansong as 007.
Pach: Academic writing needs to be more accessible  The Daily NorthwesternMy first year at Northwestern convinced me I couldn't read. It wasn't the amount of reading — although that in itself was alarming — but the style in which social ...
Tayari Jones Became a Writer After a Trip to Mars and a Year in Africa  Wall Street JournalThe author of 'An American Marriage' reflects on how her family's experience with politics and travel influenced her.
Alison Brie shimmers in glamorous sequined dress at the West Coast Writers Guild Awards  Daily MailThe GLOW actress showed up to the Writers Guild Awards in Los Angeles in a shining sequined gown. She presented her producer Jenji Kohan with a special ...
Kundali Bhagya February 19, 2019 Written Update: Preeta has a plan to stop Karan and Monisha’s wedding  Times NowKaran gets jealous with Preeta's closeness to Rishab. Preeta has a plan to stop Karan and Monisha's marriage. Will the plan work? Find out.
Bryce Harper's social media activity interpreted as 'writing on the wall'  YardbarkerWith spring training opening up this week, anything involving Bryce Harper is getting scrutinized to no end, including what he's done on social media. On that ...
Orioles writers Jon Meoli and Peter Schmuck break down first full-squad workouts of spring training  Baltimore SunThe Orioles held their first full-squad workouts of 2019 on Monday. Get caught up from Sarasota, Fla.
Award-winning writer, filmmaker Peter Wells dies  Radio New ZealandAward-winning New Zealand writer and filmmaker Peter Wells has died.
Trump decides rules are only worth the paper they’re written on  The Washington PostThe best comments and conversations at The Washington Post, delivered every Friday. Join the conversation. Thank You! You are now subscribed to Read ...
To All the Boys I've Loved Before Writer Sofia Alvarez Will Premiere Nylon Off-Broadway  Playbill.comSheila Vand will star in the modern day take on Ibsen's A Doll's House.
Irish women writers: ‘This country’s done punishing me. I can do whatever I like now’  The Irish TimesCatherine Toal's 'Brigid in Berlin' keynote speech praises Lisa McInerney, Eimear McBride, Sally Rooney, Anna Burns, Sara Baume and Louise O'Neill.
How 18th-Century Writers Created the Genre of Popular Science  Smithsonian.comFrench writers such as Voltaire and Bernard le Bovier de Fontenelle helped shape the Enlightenment with stories of science.
Emily Blunt & John Krasinski Twinning in Tuxedos at Writers Guild Awards is Major Couple Goals  News18The supercouple Emily Blunt and John Krasinski hit a new high as a trendsetting couple in matching tuxedos at the 71st Annual Writers Guild Awards at Edison ...
Kumkum Bhagya written update, February 19, 2019: Abhi and Pragya are expecting their second child!  Times NowIn tonight's episode of Kumkum Bhagya, Abhi and Pragya announce that they are expecting their second child together.
Writers Philip, Martin to be honoured  Royal GazetteVeteran journalist, author and historian Ira Philip will be honoured with a special tribute on Thursday.The Atlantic Publishing House and the Leopards Club, ...
Second Coming Writer Explains Why DC Canceled Jesus Comic | CBR  CBRLast week news came down that writer Mark Russell and artist Richard Pace's superhero Jesus comic Second Coming would not be published at DC Comics' ...
Media council upholds inaccuracy claim against writer's Herald column  New Zealand HeraldThe Media Council has upheld in part a complaint by Eddie Clark against the New Zealand Herald about a column by Rachel Stewart. Ms Stewart had written, ...
Sounds Like Titanic review: Jessica Chiccehitto Hindman’s debut memoir is terrific  Vox.comThis writer spent four years working as a fake violinist. Her memoir explains post-9/11 America.
Trump praises PennLive op-ed written by campaign head who bashes 'fake news media'  PennLivePresident Donald Trump declares a national emergency to build a southern border wall during a press conference at the White House on Feb. 15, 2019. (Olivier ...
Kasauti Zindagi Ki written update, February 19, 2019: Mohini promises Komolika for marriage with Anurag  Times NowIn tonight's episode of Kasauti Zindagi Ki, Komolika asks a comatose Molloy if he doesn't wake up then who will fulfil his promise of marriage with Anurag.

Time-Saving Skills to Get More from Your Writing

As you set out to create your first niche non-fiction... Read More

The Cost of Being a Writer

You are the only one who knows what being a... Read More

Business Letter Etiquette

Business etiquette is fundamentally concerned with building relationships founded upon... Read More

Do I Have To Be A Good Writer to Market My Own Business?

Many of the most effective low-cost marketing strategies require writing.... Read More

How To Write More Powerful Reports

There is one key difference between reports and most other... Read More

How to Publish a Book: Key Differences Between Publishing and Self Publishing

For many authors just starting out, it can be a... Read More

The Writing Game

There are a lot of tapes and books and CD... Read More

On Writing and Poetry: Harry Calhoun in Conversation

"This is just brilliant. The whole interview is incredible? I'm?... Read More

Write SMART: How to Create Terrific Writing Goals - And Achieve Them!

Open up your favorite calendar and circle today's date.Why? Because... Read More

How NOT to Get a Freelance Writing Job

In the business of freelance writing, it's not enough to... Read More

Good Writing

Good writing is like sex. Two people are involved ?... Read More

Write That Down! Compulsively Collecting Content for Your Writing

Have you ever read someone else's writing and thought one... Read More

Rules for Getting the Story Down

1. Write it fast, fix it later.2. Commit to writing... Read More

Writing Query Letters

A QUERY LETTER is written to an editor or agent... Read More

A Mode of Transportation

Great writing transports one vicariously to realms that the reader... Read More

Writing Your Best-Selling Non-Fiction Book Title

Your struggling to sell just a few copies of your... Read More

Suspense Novels Need Fast Starts

Suspense novels, unlike any other genre, need fast starts. Fans... Read More

How New Authors Can Keep Their Manuscripts Coherent

In large publishing houses, many manuscripts penned by first-time authors,... Read More

Five Minute Miracles

FIVE MINUTES ... Is All You Need ........to phone a... Read More

Writer?s Web Resources

The Internet has truly revolutionized the careers of writers worldwide.... Read More

A New Way To Self Publish

More and more good authors are turning to the Internet... Read More

Write A Better Newsletter!

You've decided to write your very own Newsletter to promote... Read More

The Writing Club

Typically when falling asleep in bed at night great thoughts... Read More

7 Book Publicity Tips for Authors and Small Publishers

The biggest mistake authors make when trying to get free... Read More

Writing For The Web: Where To Get Article Ideas

A friend and I were talking the other day about... Read More