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Writing Tip of the Week

Fear, Son of Fear, and Fear Meets the Three Stooges.




The character Gordon Gekko from the film Wall Street uttered one of moviedom’s most famous lines. “Greed is good.”

I’d like to twist that technique and apply the phrase to something all writers face all the time. “Fear is good.”

Fear of starting the next novel, short story, non-fiction book, report, e-mail or angry letter to that old SOB down at city hall is natural. And it’s a good sign for the writer.

If you’re afraid it’s because you’re challenged.

Challenge is good. It means you have an opportunity to stretch as a writer. It’s a chance to grow, improve your skills, and earn a well-deserved sense of achievement.

Look at it this way: if you don’t feel challenged, if you don’t feel that uncomfortable cold spot in the pit of your stomach it’s because you’re comfortable with the writing ahead. The reason you’re comfortable is that you’ve done it before. Where’s the challenge in that? Where’s the opportunity for growth? Been there. Done that. Bought the t-shirt. Got the mug. Why repeat the process?

I’m not saying that you should feel fear every time you write, but when that cold spot in the old gut does show up - embrace it. That feeling marks the next step and the next improvement in your writing career.

In Up the Organization Robert Townsend reminds us that, “Growth is a by-product of the pursuit of excellence and not itself a worthy goal.” That twinge of fear you feel at the beginning of a new writing project is a sign post: Excellence Ahead.



Quote of the Week: “A good scare is worth more to a man than good advice.” Edgar Watson Howe

Recommended Reading: A Farewell to Justice by Joan Mellen

Recommended Links:






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© Dan Baldwin 2017

This blogette may be shared provided there is no charge associated and that the source is credited.




Effective Communications Tip of the Week

A Comment on Puff Pieces


Writers who product public relations materials for clients often face the challenge of drafting a news article or feature that has at least a snowball’s chance in hell of passing through the electronic Hades of a news editor’s desk. The editor’s desk/computer is loaded with articles and each one (to him) is of equal news value. Puff Pieces are among the first to make it to the round file or to experience the delete key. Positive Aspect stories at least have a fighting chance of making it in print or on screen.


A positive aspect article differs from a puff piece primarily in that the PA is written strictly according to standard journalistic style. It promotes only the positive side of the person or organization; it is a legitimate news story told in the traditional manner.


A puff piece jumps from straightforward reporting right into unabashed praise. The writers generally don’t follow an accepted stylebook. They often use first names throughout the piece. Unnecessary and inappropriate adverbs and adjectives are often tossed out like Mardi Gras throws from a parade float.


For example, a puff piece might read:


"Bob is a terrific boss and we can go in to see him with a problem any time. We think that's really cool."


A writer who wants the piece to have a lifespan beyond the editor’s, “Bah Humbug!” will follow appropriate style.


"Smith maintains a good rapport with his staff by managing the office with an open door policy."


Notice that the puff piece and the positive aspect piece say the same thing. The difference is that the latter will possibly see life in print. The first version will be terminated with extreme prejudice.


The difference is mostly a matter of style, although sometimes the puff piece will slip into

outright falsehoods. "Bob supports women's rights in the office place" is pretty hard to believe when everyone in the community knows he refers to his universally buxom female staff as "My little groupies."


The biggest problem with a puff piece is that it is so obvious. The editor knows his publication will suffer from a loss of credibility. The writer knows this, too. Sadly, Bob (the swell boss) often doesn’t. Unless his craving for puffery is held in check, ultimately he is the one whose puffed up bubble bursts the loudest.


Quote of the Week: “The devil’s boots don’t creak.” Scottish Proverb

Recommended Reading: The Chicago Manual of Style

Recommended Links:








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Isn't It Time To Write Your Book?

 Dan Baldwin 

Author . Co-Author . Ghost Writer

   Motivational . How-To . Management Theories & Techniques . Self- Help . Sales .

Corporate History . Family History . Get It Off Your Chest

   Write That Book and Write It Now!

            Most people have a good book in them, but lack the professional training or time to bring it out. That’s my job. I can take your concepts, experiences, and inspiration to create that book. More important, the manuscript will be your book – guided, refined and polished by your personal vision. I work with major publishers and self-published authors and I have the talent, experience, credentials and drive to help you produce your book.

            Isn’t it time we started writing?

Connect With Dan At baldco@msn.com or www.fourknightspress.com