November 2014  
UpWrite Press Writing eTips

The secret of becoming a writer is to write, write, and keep on writing.

—Ken MacLeod

Word Pair of the Month: toward, towards

In this section, we usually present two words that should never be mixed up. This month, however, we’d like to discuss toward and towards, both of which can be correctly used to mean “in the direction of.”

Jason moved slowly towards the frightened puppy.
Shondra started toward the noise but stopped when she saw the source.

Depending on the level of formality required in your writing, keep in mind that the preferred form is toward, without the “s.”

Writers’ Forum Question

How has writing played an important role in your business? Share a watershed moment that defined that role.

June Fong of New York found that while the Internet emphasizes the visual, the written word is still key:

Ever since we established a Web presence, we have been experimenting with the look of our pages, trying to apply the best suggestions about white space, graphics, etc. But after a lot of trial and error, we have found that strong, concise copy brings the biggest boost to sales. The layout of a page may catch a visitor’s eye, but the words are what sell the product, so they’d better be right.

Andrew Rubenstein of St. Louis writes:

I’m on the board of a small nonprofit organization, and for us, writing is crucial. In an organization that relies on the kindness of others, you have to use words that convince others to give. We survive on grants and private donations and were really struggling, until we hired a professional writer to handle our grant applications and donor appeals. We’re still struggling, as nonprofits do, but we’re doing much better and are slowly making progress toward our goals.

Donald Love of Detroit learned the importance of writing from the start:

When my partners and I first started our business, we couldn’t seem to attract any investors. We finally realized that it was because our business plan was a mess. It was disorganized, confusing, and riddled with grammar errors. So we reworked it, cleaning up the language, tightening the structure, and presenting our ideas in a clear, straightforward way. It made all the difference. When people understood where we wanted to go and trusted the plan we had for getting there, they were more willing to help us along.

A Final Thought

It’s been said that no man is an island, and that is especially true in business. You have a team of workers who all contribute to your company’s success. Not only should you recognize and appreciate them, but you should also communicate these messages clearly. Communication, both written and spoken, is key to the success of any business. Whatever corporate tier you work in, remember to keep in touch with workers in other positions. This is a sure way to build team spirit and cooperation within your company.

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Coming in December

Creating an Effective Visual Presentation, Part 2: Organization

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