Writing eTips UpWrite Press - We Make Writing Work For You
May 2007 UpWrite Press - We Make Writing Work For You

To write simply is as difficult as to be good.

—William Somerset Maugham

Word Pair of the Month: liable, libel
Here are two words that both have negative connotations, but don’t mix them up!

Liable refers to legal responsibility, or being exposed to an adverse reaction.

Due to his admitted negligence, the defendant was liable for all damages.

Libel, while also a legal term, refers to a false negative statement written or printed about someone. (Note that a verbal negative statement is called “slander.”)

When Julia read the lies printed about her in the paper, she immediately began a libel suit against the columnist.

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May Writers’ Forum Topic
What was your best writing experience at work? Did you write a successful grant proposal? Create a company brochure? Receive positive feedback on writing well done? Share your experience and your feelings about it.

Ruth Bock, License Coordinator at Wisconsin Center, had this to say: “My best writing success was a 28-page, step-by-step manual on how to use a set of 10 reports in our event-booking software. I created a mock-up of each report and then noted each step in a very specific order. The real challenge was to keep the manual simple. To help, I made a set of simple word tables displaying the possible choices to produce a customized report. I also gave each generic report a title and a number. A table of contents helped users find the specific reporting tools they needed. What’s interesting is that over time, my co-workers got so used to the report numbers that they quit using the report names. Everyone knows report #6—only the president knows it as ‘The Booking Report.’ Sometimes our most helpful creations are not what we might think.”

Rosalind A. Hebert, CPS/CAP, Public Information Planner for the Houston-Galveston Area Council wrote: After I became a certified administrative professional (CAP) in 2002, I wrote a one-page article regarding my experience as a member of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). The article describes my experiences as a leader of a local chapter, how I benefited personally, and how my company benefited as well. The article was first published in the IAAP’s Members Place Bulletin Online, and it has been reprinted in several IAAP newsletters across the USA during 2005. Many chapters use it as a recruiting tool, and to emphasize the value of professional certification. This was my best writing experience because I had no idea how many others would benefit from reading about my experience in such a worthwhile organization.

Thanks to everyone who responded. Watch for our next forum question in the June issue of Writing eTips.

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Coming in June:
The Writing Process: Drafting the Middle
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eTips is a publication of UpWrite Press, Inc., P.O. Box 460, Burlington, Wisconsin 53105. Copyright © 2007, UpWrite Press. All rights reserved. Visit www.upwritepress.com.