Guest Post on 5 Great Writing Books

Posted by M. Sharon Baker

I wrote a guest post for Carol Tice’s Making a Living Writing blog that appeared today. It featured 5 great writing books that I purchased last year as a present to myself.

The 5 were: 

  • A Writer’s Coach, by Jack Hart
  • Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark
  •  Writing for Your Readers by Don Murray
  •  The Digital Journalists Handbook by Mark Luckie
  • Journalism Next by Mark Briggs.

Anyone wanting to write better – whether they be marketers, public relations specialists, bloggers, or freelance writers can benefit from all five of the books.

Thanks Carol for letting me write the guest post.

What are your favorite writing books?

A Writer's Life/Journalism

Every Word Counts

Posted by M. Sharon Baker
Every Word Counts

I’ve been dragging my feet for a long time about starting a blog. What should I write about, and what should I name it? As a freelance writer and freelance journalist, I have written blog posts and guest posts for others. I’ve fretted about duplicating efforts, finding a title that says what I do, and wondered what people wanted from me. Like others before me, I’m just going to take the plunge.

I haven’t read Tom Peters’ new book, The Little BIG Things – 163 Ways to Pursue Excellence yet. But he’s giving folks a chance to learn about the Things on his website by offering small download snippets, so I looked at the list and have used No. 26 to help me finally name this blog.

 26. Develop Your R.POV8—ASAP! Seth Godin says: “If you can’t describe your position in eight words or less, you don’t have a position.”

Peters’ version is R.POV8, which stands for Remarkable Point of View in 8 Words or Less. His excellence only need one symbol – a Pantone #032 (red) exclamation point. I think it fits him perfectly.

Limiting your remarkable point of view in 8 words made it much easier for me to think of a name. My currency is Words. And I write them primarily for three industries: journalism, public relations and marketing.

I started out as a full time journalist, and worked for several newspapers up until I became a freelance writer in 2001. For the first few years, freelance article projects were plentiful. But as the recession started, assignments dried up. Nearly 36,000 journalists were laid off from 2007 till now, and freelance budgets at magazines, trade publications and newspapers disappeared overnight. (If you go back to 2000, the layoffs number more than 66,000.)

I had a few corporate clients needing help writing public relations materials, case studies and other marketing materials. I worried about “going to the dark side” which is how journalists describe those that cross over into advertising and marketing. But I realized that my journalism skills – my news judgment, my superior interviewing and storytelling skills and the ability to write conversationally – were needed in droves in the corporate world.

Writing tight, getting to the point quickly and keeping things simple are concepts every corporation needs, whether they are selling a product, building a brand or looking for leads. Short attention spans, quick decisions and multiple options means you always have to make every word count.

“Every Word Counts – Where storytelling, public relations & marketing collide.” Was my first attempt at a remarkable Point of View in 10 words or less. I’ve since thought about it some more, and refined it, adopting the tagline:  “I create compelling content helping companies connect with customers.”

What’s yours?