Archive for January 2017

'A Prayer under Pressure of Violent Anguish' by Robert Burns, born on Jan. 25, 1759

'A Prayer under Pressure of Violent Anguish' by Robert Burns, born on Jan. 25, 1759
UPDATE: I originally published this piece on Jan. 25, so I used “born on this date” in the headline. I knew it would get outdated, but I wanted to feel something that Burns could never know — how strange it is to just hit the button marked “Update” and have the edits I made work... Read more »

'Championship Writing' -- Fresh approaches

'Championship Writing' -- Fresh approaches
For the final post in my series on “Championship Writing” by writing coach Paula LaRocque, I’ll review her recommendations for “Fresh approaches.” (This is only column, or chapter, 28 in her subtitle’s list of “50 ways to improve your writing.” Previous posts, such as the ones linked to highlighted words, have considered nine other columns/chapters.)... Read more »

'Championship Writing' - Avoiding the predictable

'Championship Writing' - Avoiding the predictable
My penultimate favorite chapter in “Championship Writing” by Paula LaRocque is “Avoiding the predictable.” (Of course, if you read last week’s post, you knew I was going to write that.) Writing coach LaRocque’s book is full of advice on different topics; the subtitle is “50 ways to improve your writing,” and we’re at the next-to-last... Read more »
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'Championship Writing' -- Notes on usage

'Championship Writing' -- Notes on usage
In Paula LaRocque’s book “Championship Writing: 50 ways to improve your writing,” chapters were originally columns in Quill, the magazine of the Society of Professional Journalists. That makes it feel fitting that this week’s entry among my favorite chapters, “Notes on usage,” is labelled “columns 18 & 19.” Part of this section is the typical... Read more »

How to keep your new diary going on 'ordinary' days

How to keep your new diary going on 'ordinary' days
Have you just started a diary? Maybe it seemed like a good idea on Jan. 1, or whenever you got it as a present — but today’s just an ordinary, foggy weekday. What’s so great about writing in your diary today? Well, what’s ordinary today isn’t going to be ordinary in a few weeks… or... Read more »

'Championship Writing' -- on Spell-checkers

'Championship Writing' -- on Spell-checkers
When you use your computer’s spell-checker or grammar-checker, Paula LaRocque advises in her book “Championship Writing,” be careful. “The grammar-checker’s shortcomings recall the truism that to create artificial intelligence, it takes the real thing,” writes LaRocque, assistant managing editor and writing coach at the Dallas Morning News (when she wrote this book at the turn... Read more »
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