How to Apologize

“You know they can teach you everything about being a cop except how to live with a mistake.”
–Al Powell, Die Hard

Making a bad mistake with a coworker or client doesn’t happen very often with me, but often when I do the situation ends up one of two ways: the relationship is permanently damaged or the incident that sparked the failure results in a discussion of what went wrong, which in turn leads to a deeper, better relationship in the long run. The goal today is to help you get to that latter condition. Continue reading

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Handling Last-Minute Requests

We all get them, even if we’re not technical writers in our professions. Is there a sensible way to deal with last-minute requests? Fortunately, yes. Is there such a thing as hard-and-fast rule that covers every situation? Alas, no. But fear not! I’m here to help. Continue reading

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Back to Basics, Continued

I’m continuing with my effort to sort and organize the book visually on my office wall. This has been an interesting exercise, as it has allowed me to trim the foolishness, improve chapter titles, and better balance the content across more sections. I hope you find this educational. I have. Continue reading

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Back to Basics

This past week I found myself slogging through edits of the ongoing book project, not having much fun, to be honest, and feeling like I was missing the overall picture of what the book was doing. My friend Melinda graciously offered some advice on how to get me to look at the forest before concentrating on individual trees. I think I’ve also got a path forward for getting this project finished by the end of the year (Thanks, Melinda!). Continue reading

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Another Late Post, More on Book Writing

A former U.S. Army general I worked for, upon discovering an error (such as something being done late, like this post), would say, “Don’t give me an excuse, there are no excuses. Just tell me how you’re going to fix the problem.” So rather than offer you an excuse, ladies and gentleman, I’ll just say, “There’s no excuse madames/sirs,” and get on with my day. Today I’ll be talking a bit more about organizing the nonfiction tech writing book. Continue reading

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Universal Skills

I would once again like to thank Nevin in Ireland for sending me a raft of thought-provoking questions. I believe today’s posting will cover the last of the lot. Nevin, I hope you and the rest of my readers have gotten some good use out of my answers. The last question he asked is about “Skills or attitudes which transcend trends and time but which can be useful for success in this field.” First, I’ll direct all of you to my post regarding skills for being a freelancer (go ahead, I’ll wait). Continue reading

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Get Pumped Up (for Writing)!

I apologize for missing my usual Thursday 9 a.m. Eastern posting time. Still trying to get adjusted from holiday hours. However, I’ve been thinking a bit about music lately and how it inspires me. I try to play instrumental music when writing and editing because singing involves words, which clogs up my speech processing. Today, as it’s a Friday and we all might not be in heavy-thinking mode yet, I’ll share some of the pieces of music that I enjoy to keep myself writing happily. Continue reading

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