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
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
Reading: A Farewell to Justice by
Shameless Self Promotion
Available for pre-orders in e-book and paperback. Release date: May 8, 2018
with Spirits of the Old Southwest – Conversations with Miners, Outlaws and Pioneers Who Still Roam Ghost Towns
Check out more of my
A Four Knights Press Production
© 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
Comment on Puff Pieces
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
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
is mostly a matter of style, although sometimes the puff piece will slip into
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
NINE REASONS TO HIRE A GHOSTWRITER
One: You have a good book within you. This is the most important factor. I believe everyone
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Some of the people with the most to share are often the same people who just don't have the time to share their gifts, insights
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Three: You lack the skill. A lot of successful
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Seven: You don't want to put out just another
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my author's book is his/her book and not Dan's version of that book. You are unique and your book should be a unique
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You'll become an instant expert. I have a multi-book client who had been trying unsuccessfully for
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Nine: You lack the gumption. That's all the
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