Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category
Tomorrow marks a little known holiday – Thesaurus Day – honoring the author of Roget’s Thesaurus, Peter Mark Roget, who was born January 18, 1779. This holiday is of particular interest as I’ve enjoyed learning new words since I was young. Words like “idiosyncratic” and “conscientious” were typical weekly suggestions from my father – words rarely used by children my age – but ones I determinedly, while sometimes erringly, employed.
In a recent blog post Words to Retire in 2013, I humbly echo my colleagues Samantha’s sentiment that we have accepted a decided laziness in writing, reusing clichéd buzzwords rather than searching for more compelling choices. To compound this observance, I am not particularly pleased with the shorthand additions to the Oxford dictionary this year – lolz, mwahahaha, ridic and tweeps.
The numbers are astounding: Approximately 4,400 apartment and condominium units are under construction in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville, according to my friend Paul McMorrow, who did the math. But that number is only half of what is in the pipeline in the same geography. From Jackson Square, to Downtown Crossing, the Seaport to Northpoint and Assembly Square, that’s a lot of housing – and it’s a lot to hit the market within a relatively short time period, making the competition for consumer mind-share fierce among developers.
But first, who’s going to live there? Since all of these units are urban, and quite a few will be super-small “micro units,” it’s clear that developers are targeting Millennials, also known as Echo Boomers. There are about 80 million of this cohort in the U.S. Born between 1980 and 1995, they’re the largest population group since the Baby Boomers.
Writing has always been a passion of mine — from scribbling pretend news stories when I was a child to penning blog posts and bylines as a communications professional. As in sports or music, practice makes perfect.
But we’re all human, so mistakes can certainly occur, especially in this digital age when it seems our keyboards are moving faster than the news cycles. The race to quickly publish is heated, but before distributing, writing needs thorough proofreading. After all, content is currency in public relations, and any grammar flops can disgrace circulated content almost faster than pushing it live.
The Associated Press Stylebook provides a right-hand guide for all writers and answers many questions about proper prose. Following are some common blunders in written content, with the AP Stylebook’s rules to help keep them straight.
I was inspired to write this post because every evening on my way home there is a middle-aged man who stands on the corner of a fairly busy intersection with a simple cardboard sign that states: Stop the Wars! A powerful message for sure, but probably not the most effective method of communications. Yet, contrast this with some of the ads we may have seen during the recent political season or during the Super Bowl, where the medium is as strong (and expensive) as possible, but the message was so weak that you probably couldn’t recall what it was after just a few minutes. This is why a successful communications program needs to be a strong combination of message and media.
Our office is working remotely today – as are most – because of the Frankenstorm. With many calls and all in-person meetings cancelled due to the weather, it’s freed up a lot of time to catch up on other assignments.
But in addition to preparing for the storm, it’s also an excellent reprieve to do some serious social media tending, weeding out followers who may no longer seem relevant, adding new ones to the list, writing that blog post we’ve been meaning to write (this will be my third today), connecting with new contacts and groups on LinkedIn, and building out more blog syndication channels (that’s how my morning went thanks to NetworkedBlogs and IFTTT, which is a pretty cool tool that lets one social media push trigger another social media action).
Show and tell. That’s the thing you did in second grade when you found a rock, assumed it had fallen from the moon and you wanted to share it with your classmates.
Then there’s show, don’t tell. Not to be confused with Truth or Dare.
Show-don’t-tell is what good journalism schools and what creative writing professors and literary editors preach all day, reminding authors that if you want to grab the reader by the collar, stating the facts isn’t enough. Yes, characters, plot and premise are essential. And yes, your writing needs to be crisp. But then what?
Here are four tips to get you going:
People make mistakes (myself included), but when you’re in the PR industry, the quality of the content you create is constantly being analyzed. That is why it is important to pay attention to grammar. While the industry accommodates and encourages different styles of writing, there are some things that don’t allow for creative freedom. There is right and wrong when it comes to grammar, so in honor of back-to-school season, take this pop quiz to find out if you have what it takes to make the grade.
Pop Quiz: Are you grammatically correct?
In a few short weeks, students across the country will settle into classrooms for another hopefully productive school year. While they might sport the latest fashion and technology trends to stay hip in the halls, here are some back-to-school-related terms from the Associated Press Stylebook to help us writers make the grade:
- academic departments: Lowercase except for words that are proper nouns or adjectives. The marketing department; the department of English.
- ballpoint pen: Proper style for students’ writing instruments.
- bus, buses: Proper style for the transportation vehicles. The verb forms: bus, bused and busing. Add an extra s, and you’re insinuating kissing.
- chapter: Capitalize when used with a numeral in reference to a section of a book or legal code. Always use Arabic figures. Chapter 1, Chapter 20. Lowercase when standing alone. The book chapters are short.