Writing eTips Mini UpWrite Press - We Make Writing Work For You
June 2008 UpWrite Press - We Make Writing Work For You

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

—Author Unknown

News from ASTD 2008 Conference & Exposition

On June 1–4, several members of our staff attended the ASTD (American Society for Training & Development) 2008 International Conference & Exposition in San Diego. We had a great time meeting the many trainers and developers who stopped by our booth, browsed our catalog materials, and talked with us about the importance of good writing and effective communication in the workplace.

At the conference, we collected names to be entered in a drawing for a free iPod. AND THE WINNER IS . . . [drumroll, please] . . .

JIM WILLIAMS, Learning & Development Specialist for State Farm in Winter Haven, Florida!

Congratulations to Mr. Williams. Your prize is on its way.

eTips Featured on Fast Company Blog
You are probably aware of Fast Company magazine—a full-color, monthly business publication that reports on innovation in digital media, technology, leadership, and social entrepreneurship. But are you aware of the Fast Company blog, one of the first staff-written blogs on the Web? The June issue of eTips was featured in a recent blog entry by Bud Bilanich: “Make Sure Your Writing Enhances Your Image.” Using our discussion of modifiers as a starting point, Mr. Bilanich added an excellent explanation of a common error in the use of “only.” We recommend that you give his entry a read.

Word Pair of the Month: later, latter

Although our words of the month both refer to time, they have distinct meanings and should never be confused.

Later is an adverb that means “coming after some given time.”

We can finish the project later.

It is also the comparative form of the adjective late.

I would prefer the later flight.

Latter, on the other hand, is an adjective and is used to indicate the second of two things that are mentioned.

If our choices are to reduce staff or move to a larger office, I would prefer the latter.

It can also mean “near the end”:

The zipper was invented in the latter part of the nineteeth century.

On-Demand Coaching for Business Writing Skills
What’s the quickest way to improve your business writing skills? Personal coaching may be the answer. UpWrite Press offers a variety of personal coaching plans that teach traits and techniques of business writing.
Read more about Upwrite Press Personal Coaching.

June Writers’ Forum Topic

This month, in our Writers’ Forum, we asked:

Does a messy environment hinder writing? Or do you need a little free-form clutter to inspire you? How do you organize your space to encourage your writing?

We received letters from both neat freaks and easygoing workers, each extolling the benefits of his or her individual style.

Olivia Marquez of Houston, Texas, is of the first variety:

I’m a little obsessive when it comes to my workspace. I have a bunch of (sharpened) pencils carefully lined up in my central desk drawer, ready to grab and go. My paper is arranged by use—letterhead, second sheets, blank paper, envelopes—in a collated side drawer, and my reference books, including a dictionary and thesaurus, are neatly stacked from largest to smallest to the right of my computer screen. A file divider holds current and frequently referenced files to my left. I guess I go to extremes, but I find that knowing where everything is and being able to automatically grab what I need frees up my mind for writing.

On the opposite side of the neatness spectrum, we find Jeri O’Day of Seattle, Washington:

I’m afraid I have no real system—whatever I’m working on is all over my desk. But this forces me to concentrate and block out all extraneous noise, so it’s all good—at least, it works for me.

Daniel Bernstein of Tampa, Florida, defines his environment as somewhere in between extremes:

I have to be somewhat organized because I am always working on several writing projects at once. I try to compartmentalize the work, using three surface areas: my desk, a credenza on my left wall, and a table directly to the right of my desk. I roll from one to the other on my desk chair, and I move materials to my computer area for each project as I compose. I admit the surfaces are a little disorganized at times, but at least each project has its own basic space.

Ronnette Radican (no address given) also gives a “yes and no” reply:

It depends on what I have to write about. For a business report, I need support materials—all kinds of clutter. But for an essay based on my experiences in life, I need an environment that is not messy. Somewhere in the house, I will prepare an uncluttered space that makes me feel relaxed and leaves my mind clear…so I can focus just on the thoughts I need to express.

There you have four very different individual styles, and the operative word is individual. Whether you iron your paper or keep your pens in a shoe box, whatever works for you is great!

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eTips is a publication of UpWrite Press, Inc., P.O. Box 460, Burlington, Wisconsin 53105. Copyright © 2008, UpWrite Press. All rights reserved. Visit www.upwritepress.com.