the cheat sheet

I’m speaking at 2011 Wordcamp Detroit this weekend, a gathering of bloggers using the WordPress content management system. As a convenience for participants (and you), I’m posting here some links and resources I referred to. Here is a link to the presentation.

Clout: The Art and Science of Influential Web Content
Colleen Jones summarizes both the rhetorical and the psychological aspects of influence, in the context of web content. A short, readable guide which also point to a host of other books and resources.

Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace (4th Edition)
Joseph Williams has several books around the clarity and grace theme, and any of them are worth wading through. Dense, with lots of examples of how to fix things, this is the shortest. And clearest.

Microstyle: The Art of Writing Little
Christopher Johnson is a linguist who is a professional namer. His sometimes historical and sometimes philosophical approach to writing in a twitter world is also practical. Lots of tips for writing short, memorable copy.

On Writing Well, 30th Anniversary Edition: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction
William Zinsser’s text is indeed a classic, and one that nonfiction writers should return to over and over again. There are brief chapters on certain genres, like memoirs or travel writing. But the chapters on the essential transaction between writer and reader, as well as the chapters on simplicity and clutter are invaluable for anyone who wants to write clear, crisp prose. (If you find Zinsser’s button down style a little limiting, I recommend Ben Yagoda’s The Sound on the Page: Great Writers Talk about Style and Voice in Writing.

Here too are some links to a few other posts I’ve written on writing. If you are interested in blogging, be sure to read the one about Marin Luther.

What would Martin Luther blog
“Out of love for the truth, and the desire to bring it to light.”

Read more, write more
Facebook updates are not the key to your future or your success. What you need is more long form reading in an age of Twitter.

Clean, well-lighted prose
You can see what Hemingway wanted but never had: a clean, well-lighted place where the shadows are held at bay. Add an unhurried and sympathetic waiter and perhaps your nothingness will disappear.

To tweet, or not to tweet
To reflect in concise ways is becoming a necessary and important skill.

When words fail us
If someone says their love is like a red, red rose, they run the risk of being taken as original. We are the poorer for it.

How to survive being “freshly pressed”
The holy grail of blogging is being noticed by someone who has the power to drive traffic to your blog. All bloggers want this but are not actually prepared for it.

Here is a copy of the handout: inthebeginning

7 thoughts on “the cheat sheet”

  1. Thanks so much for your talk and the offer to critique a post for the first 5 people who responded. Because of connection problems here at the Ren Cen I hope I can request to be put in the queue and ask you about one of my posts when I get home and can work more easily. Again, thanks.


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