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Professional Writing

Proposals, Demos, How-Tos, Presentations, Speaking, Scripting, Voice-overs, Speech Writing, White Papers, Marketing/Advertising Collateral, Graphics & Animation, Web Sites and Social Media. Not SPAM or UCE.

The other non-fiction genre! :)

  1. Self-Promotion in the Social Media World... a few thoughts...

    by , September 25th, 2016 at 01:51 AM (Professional Writing)
    I am all about free. I even like the sound of it... "free".

    This short piece is just me putting down my advice for people looking to peddle their wares (in this example a book/eBook) to the millions of potential buyers out there. The take away is that people hate to be sold to.

    Q: "But... how do I advertise? I am a well kept secret right now!"
    A: You advertise by NOT advertising.
    Q: "OK, now I know you're nuts..."

    An ...
  2. A mild homework assignment for those wanting to dip their toe in this genre!

    by , September 10th, 2016 at 10:56 PM (Professional Writing)
    The 'homework' idea got tossed about by Annie & others, but fizzled out. I still think it is a great idea, as a member asked to learn about the genre. I'm exclusively non-Academic, with the exception of my classes, so I'll forward an 'exercise' I give new Sales Engineers. I won't post suggested exercises that take a long time, don't worry.

    There are only a handful of 'tried and true' methodologies (structures) to writing a compelling argument, which is all this kind of writing ...
  3. Virtual Machines and Instructions: Tell me, Let me read about it, Show me

    by , April 18th, 2016 at 12:13 AM (Professional Writing)
    Lately at work I am creating several VMs for users to do their thing (using our software) with, as hosted machines simply can't meet their requirements.

    In order for them to know what to do, which users are there, passwords, use cases, etc., I have a few documents for them to read, print out, reference as they get familiar with the VM.

    Looking at the docs, I am struck by how different they are, due to my 'writing to my audience'. But it isn't as simple as that. My audience ...
  4. My favorite keyboard line-unmarked keys! Das Keyboard! Just got better!

  5. Why my writing works with a little XXX!

    by , March 18th, 2016 at 02:24 AM (Professional Writing)
    Catchy subject, no? It's true, though. Read on...

    I can't just write like the experts here. I will just get stuck at some point, lose the story/plot momentum, stare until eyes relax & things get fuzzy, then go lie down.

    My whole life is like this! In my case (we're all different), I need to map out the whole thing ahead of time, and though I poked fun at for it, you're welcome to see what that looks like here. But the way I have found from my day job writing is that ...
  6. How an Engineer Approaches Fiction!

    by , March 15th, 2016 at 08:01 PM (Professional Writing)
    ...excerpt from a post here about how I avoid getting lost in a scene/chapter:

    Do you do an outline in either XMind (free mind-mapping SW) like I do as a very first step, or even writing software that makes it easy (WriteWay or Scrivener)? I had lots of 'now what?' moments until I stopped diving in, and instead outlined first. WriteWay has a mechanism for this, and you can add/edit your own chapter templates. In my case, asking & answering the 'cards' from these templates after ...
  7. What is up with apostrophes?

    by , March 14th, 2016 at 06:09 PM (Professional Writing)
    Learned Authors & Writers,

    I am not very concerned with the definitions and proper use in generic English language usage, as in the below quote from English Club. That is not the nature of my question...

    What I am asking about is when to NOT (or NOT to)use them in situations where conversationally you would. Technical and academic writing avoid them, but conversationally we seldom say, "What is up?"

    I guess I'm fine with the 'it depends', but ...
  8. Why do people talk? [...and perhaps write?]

    by , March 5th, 2016 at 03:45 AM (Professional Writing)
    It was said to me that you talk/write/communicate for 2-and only 2-reasons:

    90% of the time to hear yourself talk, and
    10% of the time under a fantasy that you can convince someone else that they are wrong, and that you are right...

    The latter never happens.
  9. Tell, Write or Show... How do you get your point across?

    by , March 4th, 2016 at 03:35 AM (Professional Writing)
    A difference between traditional writers (virtually all on WF) and what I am loath to call professional writers includes what happens to what we write. It is rare to ask an 'author' to read what they write to others. Yes, there are audio books, but I'm talking about presenting.

    A writer of material that is presented, and later appreciated at leisure, has totally different rules about almost all they write. Most times, there is a limit put on the work up front, like "You have ...
  10. Are you writing about a Solution or an Opportunity?

    by , March 4th, 2016 at 03:34 AM (Professional Writing)
    One of my more frequently used sayings/axioms regarding helping people, businesses, whatever is:

    There are only 2 ways to conduct business:

    Either you have something you don't want, or you want something you don't have.

    The old school way of writing proposals was to "Fix Their Pain". So older sales people and even prospects are trying to zoom into the "pain points". But I vehemently disagree. There is tangible worth & value in creating ...
  11. Can you explain the differences between features, functions, and capabilities?

    by , March 4th, 2016 at 03:33 AM (Professional Writing)
    Getting these 3 confused with each other makes your writing of their descriptions muddy, and none of these is a statement of need, though many slide an aspect of that into these with mixed success.

    -How do you keep them clear & separate, and in which situations are they best utilized?
    -If more than one at once, in which order?
    -Are you shooting for the obvious pitch, or allowing your readers to come to your conclusion on their own?

    Ultimately, the most ...
  12. "Tell them what you just told them..." Whuh?

    by , March 4th, 2016 at 03:32 AM (Professional Writing)
    Ages ago I heard a college professor say...

    "The key to good writing in academia is to tell them:
    what you are going to tell them,
    what you are telling them,
    what you just told them."

    I use this all the time in my technical writing-especially on 1-pagers or marketing slicks, and on web sites where the page is at the top level of that product or service's description.

    Do you have any simple methodologies like this that you use? ...
  13. The Pitch, or Death By PowerPoint?

    by , March 4th, 2016 at 03:30 AM (Professional Writing)
    When it comes to written pieces, spoken, presented or video, I break them down as follows:

    Elevator Pitch/"What Do You Do?" (10-20 seconds)
    "What Is This?" (3-5 minutes)
    "How Does It Work?"/"What Does It Do?" (10-15 minutes)
    The Menu/Function Crawl (30-60 minutes)

    Each is geared toward the attention span of the intended reader. The more invested or engaged they are with your subject, the longer they will ...
  14. Intentions...

    by , March 4th, 2016 at 03:27 AM (Professional Writing)
    Hello & welcome to this blog. Not even sure if a blog is better than a forum for this, but here goes!

    This genre is hard to put into a single box, as the skills needed in compelling writing that communicates well are needed in a variety of job descriptions. While there are Proposal Writers out there, in my case as a Sales Engineer I am expected to bring that skill to the table. So if you find yourself routinely doing any of the following (incomplete list), you are still a writer, ...
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