Writing to Learn

William Zinsser is an author every writer should read. His book On Writing Well is a classic that I revisit every few years as much for its style as its substance. And Writing to Learn is a text that challenges me as both a writer and a teacher. Zinsser was an intellectual magnate (if I […]

21 Hacks for Word for Writers

Many of us use the same medium to craft our documents – Microsoft Word. Few of us know how to tap into its full potential as a tool of the trade. Here are 21 essential hacks for any writer working in Word. File –> Options –> Display 1) Show / hide white spaces between pages. When […]

Starting Young, Starting Right: Literacy and Writing in Science

One of the greatest delights in my profession is meeting people who are doing tremendous work in the field. Among these are two teachers that I have been following online, Heather Valdespino and Rachel Murillo, as they develop a curriculum called Literacy and Writing in Science, aka LAWS. The two graciously consented to an interview, […]

Lessons Learned from Writing as a Team

I spent the week of February 23, 2015 at the National Conservation Training Center facilitating a team who are re-writing a government handbook that has not been updated for 20 years. The handbook provides guidance to employees of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service for how to implement one section of one congressional act, […]

Writing as a Team

Government agencies write as teams for many reasons. A project might be too large for one individual to manage alone. Or the agency may wish to tap into the expertise of many different people, all working for different offices. Writing as a team will always be a challenge. But done well, it can be an […]

3 Common Obstacles to Writing as a Team (And How to Overcome Them)

Government agencies benefit from team writing for several different reasons. One is simply the sheer magnitude of certain government documents. Some projects are too large for one person to manage. Another reason government agencies benefit from team writing is the expertise that the government has scattered across its departments and field offices. There’s only one […]

In Praise of Index Cards

When I was in high school (and I’m not telling you how many years – decades? – ago that was), I learned to write research papers using note cards. We bought a big metal ring and used a single-hole punch on the upper left hand corner of a pack of 3×5 index cards. Voilà! A […]

Writing as an Introvert

2014 was the Year of the Introvert. It seems like every time I turned around there was another podcast, book, or infographic published about how many introverts are in the workplace, how powerful their untapped potential is, and how much better the world would be if we could teach leaders and extroverts how to collaborate […]

Professional Organizations for Technical Writers

Government biologists, engineers, and economists tend not to think of themselves as writers, despite the fact that they spend most of their time producing lengthy, technical documents. And while you will readily join a society of other scientists, you may not consider the benefits that a professional organization of writers or editors could offer. Professional […]

Year in Review: Your Questions

Teaching gives me tremendous pleasure, as anyone knows who has been in one of my classes. I love the curiosity, the wonder, the total engagement of people committed to learning. And I especially enjoy the freedom of exploration – the “what if?” Like any good graduate school student, I can spend hours over a beer […]