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Why I Killed My Muse And You Should Too

(category: Misc, Word count: 680)
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Last night, in the dark following midnight I killed my muse (suffocating her quietly with a pillow) and buried her in my back garden. Today I will plant a roses to hide the grave. No one will ever know and I will be free at last of her insidious hold and I will be able to write what I want.

Why did I resort to this deed? After all my muse was lovely and gave me many gifts over the years. She saw me through dark times and helped mark the joyous ones. Many times she inspired me to reach for more and push myself beyond what I thought I could achieve. Knowing all this why would I kill the very source of my inspiration?

Oh, I had my reasons...

It started out quietly. As I would sit at my keyboard or curl up with a notebook, she would perch on my shoulder as was her wont to do. "I don't think you meant to write that sentence," she would whisper in my ear. "That doesn't sound like the best description," she would snipe. "Is that the best you can do?" she would sneer.

I took to sneaking my writing in when I knew she was occupied elsewhere. She never could resist critiquing the writing in the morning paper if it was left spread on the kitchen table. That way I could sometimes write several pages before she began her commentary. "Surely you can find a better way to approach this topic," her mocking voice would interrupt. "That has been so done."

Soon I was spending more time arguing with her, defending my words, than I was writing. Then my production slowed to a crawl as I would overanalyze each word choice and sentence formation before committing it to screen or paper. All that did was give her more time to find fault with the few words I did write.

Despite urgent deadlines and simmering ideas, I started avoiding the computer and all writing materials. I cleaned my house. I read for hours on end. I made plans for a new garden. The need the write built within me but always my muse was watching me with those eyes - so judgmental, so critical. I would turn away from my office with a sigh and find some other project.

When I could no longer suppress the urge to write I locked her in a closet and had a wonderfully productive morning. I was so happy with my work that I let her out as I went out the door to run some errands. That just made her mean.

She was waiting for me at the door when I came home. Her glasses had slid nearly to the tip of her nose and somehow she'd found a red pencil (I certainly never brought any such thing into the house). I shuddered at the sight of my happy morning's labor marred by vicious slashes of red. The red blurred before my eyes into a crimson haze and then...

Perhaps it is better that you don't know the details. Suffice it to say that I have selected several old-fashioned roses with luscious aroma and delicate coloring. I am sure they will provide both inspiration and comfort.

Despite my late hours and the physical toil involved, this morning I awoke early and have already logged in several hours at the keyboard. My fingers flew across the keys and after completing several long-stagnant projects I outlined notes for some new. Writing is joyful and rewarding again.

I think I might dedicate this next book to the memory of my muse. Perhaps it will serve as a warning to those other muses out there who are on the verge of going over the edge. Perhaps it will inspire those other writers out there who have let their muse stifle their creativity and shove them right into writer's block. Maybe my warning will mean those other muses and their writers will find a way to work things out.

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Who Is The Hero In The Hero S Journey

(category: Misc, Word count: 85)
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During the past thirty years, much has been (rightfully) made of Joseph Campbell's breakthrough research in cultural anthropology, most famously published in "The Hero With A Thousand Faces." In this book, Campbell examines the many cultural expressions of the heroic role model, and in doing so helped to establish the universality of human hopes, dreams, and lives.

Hollywood, in particular, has embraced this vision, which powers dozens of films a year, and has become clich

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How To Write Articles Quickly

(category: Misc, Word count: 629)
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Yuck, it's that time again, newsletter time. Are you stuck in front of a blank page or computer screen? Do you struggle each time you have to write? People seem to find all other tasks preferable to writing an article. We have a friend who finds himself washing out socks instead of writing. There's a term for it: "shaving the yak."

Originally coined by Seth Godin, marketer and author extraordinaire, "shaving the yak" means that when faced with writing, some people find themselves doing any other chore they can think of, eventually finding themselves down at the zoo, shaving yaks.

Writing can be painful to many people. It doesn't have to be. Here's a basic outline of how to write an article quickly and without the painful struggle.

1. Pick a topic that appeals to your readers. This may not be what you think they want, so you need a way to ask, or find out what they want to know. Either ask them directly, or use keyword search tools to find out the most popular requests on the web in your field.

2. Write to appeal to basic human emotions. While you may know a lot about software engineering, or whatever your field, you have to hit readers where it hurts, where they feel, rather than appeal to their brains. So even if your article is about finding a computer networking solution, base your article on the pain that readers encounter with this problem.

3. Get to the point quickly in the first paragraph, using the key words you know people are looking for on Google. State the problem on an emotional level, then make a bold statement to indicate you have a solution.

4. Exaggerate the problem and the pain. Give some real-world examples of how it manifests in your readers' lives, affecting their work, play, family, physical and mental well-being. Use emotional words that resonate with readers, appealing to universal human dilemmas.

5. Next, suggest three ways to solve the problem. The brain finds it easy to think in threes. Limiting your solutions to three points makes it easier for readers to digest your ideas. It also makes it a whole lot easier and faster to complete your article.

6. Summarize the problem with the three solutions. Be sure to repeat your key words used in your first paragraph.

7. Finally, go back and write your title. This is the most important step of all, because your title provides two important keys:

a. It ensures readers will open and read it when they see the title.

b. It ensures that readers will find your article on the web when they search for solutions on Google or their favorite search engine.

8. Write an effective resource box, with your name, website and blog URLs, your credentials (what makes you an expert), and how and why people should contact you or use your services. Offer them a free report or white paper on your website to entice them to visit and leave their email address with you, and make sure you offer something compelling.

Now, if I had followed my own advice, I would have given you only 3 steps. You see, I struggle with brevity myself, having been cursed with an over-active brain and too much education.

Here's what you can do right now to solve your writing woes: Write down your topic (a painful problem), tell your readers how bad it is, and then give them 3 solutions they can take to rectify the problem. Open up a new document in Word and start now!

That's how you can write articles quickly and easily, without having to wash your socks or go down to the zoo to help shave the yaks.

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Forget About Talent

(category: Misc, Word count: 1057)
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How is a writer to access her deepest and most powerful wells of creativity? How do we tap into our talent, our genius, our greatest potential for success? Writing classes often tell us how to plot, or structure, or build characters, or create poetic images, but the question of accessing our excellence is a slippery and elusive one. It is possible we'll need to go outside our usual sources to find an answer.

Many will merely say "be born with talent," coldly suggesting that writers are "born" with a particular amount of potential, and that one either has this or not. And you know? There is a certain amount of truth to this. It is hard to argue with the idea that geniuses like Mozart or Shakespeare were gifted. But the nature versus nurture argument is both fascinating and, for the average person, irrelevant. After all, since we can't go back and choose our grandparents, what are we to do? Just abandon our dreams of excellence if we don't happen to be one of the gifted few?

I often say something to students that is both deadly serious and a slight (and deliberate) exaggeration. It is this "I don't believe in talent. Every time I've ever gotten close to an excellent performer in any discipline, all I've seen is a lifetime of hard, honest work."

Why would I say something like this? Because it is the way I truly feel. The fact is that I've seen endless people fail due to lack of honest work. And given those years or decades of work, I've seen few fail for lack of talent.

The truth is that if "talent" exists, it seems to be the capacity for long, concentrated periods of tunnel-vision focus, combined with a unique capacity for digging into themselves to find truths most of us are reluctant to reveal. These phenomenal men and women sacrifice outside interests, relationships, and sometimes their health and sanity to focus on their divine obsession. And yes, if you find a group of these people, some will rise higher than others. But the primary gift of art is to be able to spend your life in the act of creation. And to do that, you don't need to be "the best" (whatever THAT means). All you need to do is to get into the top twenty percent in your field, and you'll do just fine.

And that is achievable with focus and honesty. But what exactly do I mean by that?


1) Can you write 500 words a day for twenty years?

2) Can you concentrate for an hour at a time without stopping for coffee, phone calls, or bathroom breaks?

3) Can you shut out the voices of doubt and failure? Then you have a chance. In my own life, writing was simply my only career goal. I would rather have failed as a writer than succeeded at anything else. I was willing to do ANYTHING ethical and healthy to reach that goal, and every single day I asked myself new questions about how I could do it, who I could ask, what I could read, what classes I might attend. Willingness to postpone gratification is essential, because your efforts simply won't pay off rapidly unless you are in that incredibly lucky fraction of a percent. And there is good news: even if you believe in "talent," in the real world, an absolutely driven "B" or "C" student will outperform a lazy "A" student almost every time.

HONESTY. This is where the rubber meets the road, the diamond path to excellence.

1) What is your actual current skill level? What is the skill level necessary to make it in your chosen field? Make no mistake: writing is one of the most competitive fields in the world. EVERYONE thinks they can write, and to a degree, they are correct. If you're going to make your mark, you will have to bring everything you've got.

2) Who has the resources you need to bridge the gap between your current and desired skill levels? Remember that they have probably spent a lifetime gathering their knowledge. What can you offer them (that is ethical and healthy for you) to gain their help and support?

3) What do you fear most? Love most? What angers you most? Makes you laugh? Your ability to create memorable characters will be based on the depths of your self-understanding, and capacity to accurately observe the human condition. If you can dig deeply enough, you'll find an incredible wealth of subject matter, more than enough to last a lifetime. But you must be honest. When writing to stimulate an emotion in your audience, first write to trigger that feeling in yourself. Write for yourself, or for an audience you respect.

4) What is your best effort? There is a great scene in "Walk The Line" where a music producer tells Johnny Cash to imagine he is dying in the street. He has one last song to sing to sum up the totality of his existence. What would that song be? Questions like this cut through the b.s. Don't try to be clever. Just tell the truth.

5) What do you actually believe human beings are? At the core of us, under all of the ugly and pretty. What are we? How do you explain the differences and conflicts between human beings: black and white, gay and straight, male and female. What do you think love is? What causes war? Why do we dream? Your own unique answers to these questions will point you toward your personal "voice."

6) What is the nature of the universe? Of God? Is there anything out there? Are we alone? While it is possible to write stories and screenplays from a variety of philosophical positions, the writer who knows herself and has a position on the nature of life will outperform a "brilliant" writer who has nothing to say. Dig deep.

These two aspects, (1) hard work, and (2) honesty, will keep you busy for a lifetime, and take you to the very edge of your potential as a writer. And after all, if you haven't used up all the potential you were given at birth, it hardly makes sense to complain that you didn't get more!

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Why Should You Be Writing For The Internet

(category: Misc, Word count: 525)
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I have been writing professionally for more than two decades. I have worked as a professional writer and editor for newspapers, books and magazines for local, regional, and international audiences. My primary financial support has always been either professional writing (or editing) or the teaching of writing. In fact, my initial foray into writing for the Internet was not intended to be a profitable venture but rather a way to express myself when I made the transition to teaching writing full-time. I knew that after decades of writing daily that I would need that outlet. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that my hobby could actually earn more than my professional ventures? That is why I encourage my students and my writer friends to explore Internet writing for fun and profit. There are three good reasons for writers to spend at least a sizable chunk of their writing time writing for the Internet.

First, and foremost, if you are a writer then you need an audience. If you are reading this article then you know there is a huge audience accessing their reading material via the Internet. Unlike the reading audience of traditional printed materials, the Internet-reading audience is growing exponentially. More and more people are forgoing traditional newspapers, magazines, and books to subscribe to ezines, web pages, blogs, and RSS feeds. If you can find your audience on the Internet, then that is a very good reason to write for the web.

Another good reason for writers to transition to the web is that is where the money is today. While money can be made through the traditional avenues of publishing books, selling articles, or working as a writer for hire it is getting more and more difficult for established, proven writers to make a living and extremely difficult for newcomers to break in at a livable wage. However writers can start up their own business fast and cheap or work for hire to learn the ropes and build up their nest egg. Trying to do either of those things in the traditional publishing world will not find success.

Finally, or third, there is a niche for everyone on the Internet. Most traditional publishing methods are limited to a specific region due to the cost of printing and distribution. However neither is a consideration on the Internet, so writers can reach audiences around the globe. This means that what may seem a rather small niche (of say people who collect dachsund sweaters) may well find their audience is hundreds, thousands, or even millions. That means there is a need for articles and publications for these folks. As an avid dachsund sweater collector yourself you are an ideal writer for any publications currently serving this niche and if there aren't any then you have a wide-open field to start your own.

These three simple reasons should be enough for any writer to consider writing for the web. The Internet is a great place to break in and get started as a professional writer and the Internet is an even better place for the established pro to profit.

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The Lazy Man S Guide To Great Characterization

(category: Misc, Word count: 588)
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One subject arising whenever writers gather to discuss their craft is the mining of life itself for story material. While a vital and important technique, it is important to remember that real human beings are impossibly complex, far too complicated to serve as story characters without major modification. The most complex character in all of western fiction (arguably), Hamlet, is still only 1% as complex as a real human being.

One must remember that there is a unity between character and plot: they are, in essence, two sides of a single coin. Plot is what a character does in a given situation. A plot must empty a character out, give us everything we need to know about the lead, or the story situation hasn't been thought through very well.

In life, it is reasonable to take the position that we are what we do. True, this is not ALL that we are, but what we do is closer to this essence than what we "think" we are, or what others define us as. Everyone knows that we judge each other on our actions, and it is childish to pretend otherwise.

We learn to characterize by formulating a theory of human nature, and then testing it against the people around us-our family and friends. You should be prepared to defend this theory in conversation and literary debate. After all, there are only two basic questions being addressed in all of fiction:

1) What is it to be human?

2) What is the ethical structure of the universe?

Whatever your own theory is, you should understand it from every direction, and be able to apply it to understand your own strengths and weaknesses.

Look at the three major areas of human life: body, mind, and spirit. What does your body say about you? Believe me, it says worlds about your values, discipline, emotional health, habit patterns and more. What does your career say about you? Are you operating at full efficiency there? Do you complain about money troubles, but not do anything about it? Do you dream, but not perform? Or are you working at a job that you would continue to do even if you won the lottery? To me, this is a major sign of an active, healthy intellect-the ability to do for a living that which you would do for free.

What about your relationship with your husband/wife/significant other? To me, this is where you reveal yourself most clearly. You ARE your partner, flipped upside-down and inside out. If you like what you see across the breakfast table from you, great. If not, you have work to do. Remember: whoever you see over there was the best you could do. If you could have gotten someone smarter, handsomer/prettier, emotionally healthier-you would have. So take a hard look. Often, you can learn more from a person's partner than you can from meeting the person.

Viewed in this way, there is a lifetime of study in understanding the people around us, and in understanding ourselves as well. And a lifetime of potential stories in examining how people's flaws and gaps keep them from achieving their full potential. It can be painful to look at this stuff, but the only thing even more painful is being terminally untrue to your own spirit. That, my friends, is a true tragedy. Better the pain of awareness than the agony of self-betrayal. By a long shot.

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Online Tools Make Translation Chinese English Easier

(category: Misc, Word count: 361)
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We will introduce several online tools that our team frequent use. These all may help to do translations, especially in Chinese (traditional and simplified) and English.

1. Google The first one to introduce is Google. Google is not only a search engine; it is also a simple but good enough translation tool. In the search box, type "fy apple" and press Search. You can obtain 蘋果 (apple in Chinese). Similarly, type fy 橙, you can get Orange in return

2. Yahoo! Dictionary! The dictionary is also a good Chinese and English dictionary. Besides the basic explanation, it has the synonymy character, and also provide sound file to read out the word.

3. Kingsoft Free Online Dictionary you get know about KingSoft, it is a famous dictionary software. Actually it also provides online version. Its explanation is very details, and it attaches the explanation from different dictionary. It also has the many short phrases model. It is a good reference, but you should notice that it only provide simplified Chinese interface.

4. www.answers.comhttp://www.answers.comThis is not only a dictionary. It is an encyclopedia actually. For example you input lemon, it provides the explanation of lemon. It also provides other information about lemon, the picture and different language translation. Also you can try inputs Hong Kong. It will provide detail information about Hong Kong, like the population, geographical information, and the map, even the currency exchange. It has everything expected to find, and it is absolutely a good reference tool.

5. Google Language Tools again. It has the different language search and the translation. One item is quite special, "Translate a web page". It transforms the entire homepage. For example, the simplified Chinese translate to English.

6. On-line Chinese translation tools is a Traditional/Simplified Chinese transformation tool. More than that, it can translate the Cantonese glossary into the standard spoken Chinese glossary. For example "的士" will transform to "計程車". It's really helpful. Also the followings are about the standard spoken Chinese on-line tool.

We hope that you may find helpful with these on-line tools. If you have other useful tools, you may email us to share.

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How To Write Dynamite Articles That Deliver Traffic To Your Website

(category: Misc, Word count: 512)
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Everyone does it: We fall for "gotcha" Internet advertising for this or that product that promises to provide the ultimate answer or solution to what we need or want. We pay cold hard cash for products or information only to wind up bitterly disappointed. I don't know about you, but I now look at Internet advertising with a jaundiced eye.

But I finally found someone I trust. It's Jim Edwards. Although he's well known and respected on the Internet, it took me many weeks of reading his materials and watching his videos before I decided to take a chance on him.

When I learned about his ebook "Turn Words into Traffic", I was excited, but didn't order it until I thought long and hard about what he promised to deliver. When I decided to go for it, I thought that if it did not measure up, I would send it back.

I bought "Turn Words into Traffic" because I write articles, and like most writers, I always look for ways to improve. I've been writing a long time and frankly, I did not expect to learn too much new, but he promised so much valuable information that I wanted to know.

Am I ever glad I bought "Turn Words into Traffic" !

Unfortunately, the title does not reveal the huge volume and variety of information the ebook provides. You will discover information you never expected.

You will find "Turn Words into Traffic" so easy to understand. The pages are packed solid with "to the point" stuff you need to know. Jim provides tons of detailed "how to" examples to help you get it right. He takes you by the hand with step-by- step instructions. He recommends websites, software and outstanding information not found elsewhere.

It's amazing. I can't find a better word to describe it.

I take the ebook with me when I go on errands that require waiting, or whenever I have downtime. That's the best way to appreciate and digest all the good stuff that's loaded in "Turn Words into Traffic."

What I learned from "Turn Words into Traffic" made me realize just how little I know about writing effective articles.

For example, Jim gives 10 words you should NEVER use in article writing. In all my years of writing, no one provided such simple but vital information. Jim taught (and proved to me) that when I avoid those 10 words (not easy to do but powerful results make it worth the effort.) I have a dynamite article.

After you get "Turn Words into Traffic," Jim does something totally unexpected. A week later, he sends more information that is valuable at no extra cost. Then he sends some more. And just when you think he's done, he sends more dynamite information. It totally blew me away.

If you write articles to promote your business or website, but results are disappointing, you must get "Turn Words into Traffic" right now. You will love yourself for making such a smart decision.

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How To Improve Your Lousy Writing Skills In The Workplace

(category: Misc, Word count: 1404)
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If there's one important reason why you need to write effectively in the workplace, it is this: the quality of your writing imprints a lasting impression on the reader. This reader may be your boss, a client, or a person who is ready to make a billion dollar business deal with you.

Have you ever read a poorly-written document that made you lose interest right away? It was so poorly-written that you lost trust in the author and asked yourself why the author was wasting your time? How about those junk e-mails that sneak into your junk box like annoying cockroaches? You know the ones I'm referring to: the ones pitching vitamins, software, and sex aids. These e-mails are the biggest showcase of writing blunders, stricken to death with grammar mistakes, misspellings, and sloppy sentences. I doubt these e-mails pull a sale because their poor writing style immediately alienates the reader.

What impression does your writing leave on your boss, clients, or co-workers? Does your writing alienate readers, cause you to lose sales or clients, or cost you job promotions? Or does your writing build streams of loyal readers, increase sales for the company, and help you earn six figures a year at your job?

Whatever type of writing you do in the workplace, always know this reality: readers believe the quality of your writing reflects your skills, work ethics, and integrity as a person. If you write eloquently, clearly, and lively, the reader trusts you and you are able to build rapport quickly. If your writing is sloppy, disorganized, and riddled with errors, the reader assumes the rest of your work is flawed, your work ethics are flawed, and perhaps as a person you are flawed. Why should this reader waste his time reading the rest of your junk or even do business with you?

This article provides fail-safe strategies to help refine your writing and help you to communicate with clarity, simplicity, and impact so you will never write junk again. You will learn five masterful steps to guide you in planning, writing, and refining an article; and you will learn how to avoid common writing mistakes.


To become a superb writer, your first task is to establish your aim.

Yiddish novelist, dramatist and essayist, Sholem Asch, once said, "Writing comes more easily if you have something to say."

What message do you want to convey with your writing?

To establish your aim, ask yourself:

1) "Why am I writing this document?"

2) "What do I want to communicate?"

3) "Do I want to inform, educate, report, persuade, challenge, or entertain?"

Developing your aim will help you to adopt the best writing style for your reader. For example, an educational document will likely be more formal than one written for entertaining.


To write effectively, you need to connect strongly with your readers. Ask yourself:

1) "For whom am I writing this? Will I be writing for colleagues, my supervisor, my team of employees, or our clients?"

2) "How much information do my readers need?"

3) "How familiar are my readers with the topic?"

4) "How much time do my readers have? Would my readers prefer a short, succinct presentation of facts and statistics, or more narration and exposition?"

Knowing your audience will allow you to write content in a way that appeals to your readers.


You know your aim. You know the people who will likely read your document. Now plan your document. What information will it contain? What information will most likely grab the reader and hold their interests? What points do you need to get across? Start with a rough outline of ideas. Then go through the outline and add more information and more detail. An outline will create the structure for your document. Soon enough your writing will come more easily, quickly, and with greater clarity.


At this stage, read over your outline and write the first draft. Establish the main idea of the document and support your argument throughout. If a blank white page glares back at you like headlights, just start writing on whatever topic you know best. According to American novelist Jack London, "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." Don't worry about the sequence if the ideas come to you out of order. You can cut and paste later.


If you have time, step away from the document. Come back to it later with a fresh mind. Now add material where needed. Trim away unnecessary sections. Refine the text to communicate what you want to say. Remember: less is more. Try not to repeat ideas. Repetition, unless necessary, is tiresome for the reader. Keep the piece moving along. Use a lively pace. Progress through your points efficiently.

The following sections address some of the most common writing problems. Use these tips to write more clearly, effectively, and lively.


a) Apostrophes

Do not use an apostrophe in the possessive form of "it."

Incorrect: Our department submitted it's reports for 2005 last week.

Correct: Our department submitted its reports for 2005 last week.

Do not use apostrophes in the possessive forms "his," "hers," and "ours."

Incorrect: The window office is her's.

Correct: The window office is hers.

Do not use apostrophes in plural nouns.

Incorrect: How many new computer's are we getting?

Correct: How many new computers are we getting?

b) Commas

Do not connect two complete sentences with a comma.

Incorrect: The meeting was cancelled, I finished my work early.

Correct: The meeting was cancelled, so I finished my work early.

Correct: Since the meeting was cancelled, I finished my work early.


a) Split Infinitives

Do not insert words between "to" and the infinitive form of a verb.

Incorrect:I was told we needed to slightly tighten the deadline.

Correct:I was told we needed to tighten the deadline slightly.


a) "A lot" is always two words.

Incorrect: I have alot of work to do.

Correct: I have a lot of work to do.

b) "To" is a function word often used before the infinitive form of a verb (to go).

c) "Too" is an adverb that means "excessively" (too difficult).

d) "Two" denotes the number 2.

Incorrect: This file cabinet is to heavy for me to move.

Correct: This file cabinet is too heavy for me to move.

e) "There" is an adverb indicating a place (over there).

f) "Their" is a possessive word that shows ownership (their computers).

g) "They're" is the contraction form of "they are."

Incorrect: There results for this quarter were excellent.

Correct: Their results for this quarter were excellent.

Incorrect: Their working very hard today.

Correct: They're working very hard today.


a) Sentence Variety

To write more lively, vary sentence structure. Use alternate ways of beginning, and combine short sentences to create different sentence lengths.


I organized the files for all the new accounts this week. Then I created a more efficient labeling system. I color-coded everything. I made sure all paper files had been documented electronically. I put these files in the empty file cabinet.


This week I organized the files for the new accounts and created a more efficient color-coded labeling system. After I documented all paper files electronically, I put these files in the empty file cabinet.


The English language has two "voices": active voice (the subject performs an action); and passive voice (the subject is acted upon). In business communication, all good writers write in active voice. Lazy writers write in passive voice. Writing in active voice shortens your sentences and makes your writing sound more direct and formal.


PASSIVE: The recipe book is read by her.

ACTIVE: She reads the recipe book.

PASSIVE: The radio announcement should be listened to by everyone.

ACTIVE: Everyone should listen to the radio announcement.

PASSIVE: The photo is being taken by the photographer.

ACTIVE: The photographer is taking the photo.


If you follow these guidelines, you'll stop yourself from writing lousy in the workplace. Your writing will be lively, clear, and concise, and you will build rapport with readers. Perhaps it's now time to e-mail your boss a perfectly-written e-mail requesting a salary raise?

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