January 2009
Writing eTips UpWrite Press
Training 2009 Expo

Visit the Training 2009 Expo On Us!

UpWrite Press is exhibiting at the Training 2009 Expo in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 9–10, and we’re handing out free expo passes—a $40 value—to anyone who wants to visit us there. The expo is in the Georgia World Congress Center, Building B, Hall B1. You’ll find us at booth 331.

To redeem your free pass, register with VIPCode EXEP9 onsite or online at www.trainingconference.com. For more information, download the Free Expo Pass pdf document or visit www.trainingconference.com.

We look forward to seeing you at booth 331!

“There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes.”

—William Makepeace Thackeray

Word Pair of the Month: descent, decent, dissent

We’ve got another confusing trio this month. They sound similar but have very different meanings, so watch those spellings!

Descent, pronounced dee-SENT, means the act of moving downward.

He helplessly watched his company’s descent into receivership.

Decent, pronounced DEE-sent, has a much more positive connotation. It means, simply, “good.’

A decent person himself, he couldn’t comprehend evil in others.

Finally, the word dissent, pronounced dis-SENT, refers to a disagreement between parties.

There was dissent among the partners as to how to salvage the business.

Check the spelling to make sure your meaning is correct and clear. Remember, one little wrong word can make a big negative impression. When you write, get it right.


Monthly Drawing for Facebook Fans

Throughout 2009, UpWrite Press will hold monthly drawings for our Facebook fans. Each month we’ll host an online event on our Facebook page, and everyone who RSVPs will be entered to win a free copy of Write for Business and an emPOWERED Job Aide. At month’s end, we’ll announce the winner here and on our weblog, Facebook page, and Twitter account. Share the wealth and encourage your friends to become UpWrite Press fans on Facebook today.

January Writers’ Forum Topic

How important is writing to your business? Do you see that importance changing as the economy fluctuates?

This month’s forum question generated a lot of thoughtful responses. The changing economy is altering how people handle their businesses, but solid writing seems to be as important as ever—if not more so.

More and more businesses are realizing the impact writing can have—especially in the area of advertising. Joni Harris of Orlando, Florida, was one of those who didn’t think about the importance of writing to her business—until the recession hit.

I run a small, niche-defined shop and always relied on my regulars rather than a lot of advertising to move my stock. Suddenly my bottom line began shrinking as the economy cut into my customers’ expendable income, and I had to find a way to attract new people to my products. I realized that I had to expand my advertising, and that meant effective writing. I’m a one-person shop, so I am the one who creates the ads, mailers, and handouts, and my writing skills have been called into play more than ever.

Matt Ornsdorf, manager of a men’s store in Houston, also realized the importance of writing skills in a diminishing economy.

Our products are high quality and sell themselves once people see them. But before that can happen, we have to get people into the store. That means more effective advertising, and THAT means more and better copy. We have had to cut back in many areas, but advertising is not one of them; we consider that a solid investment in troubled times.

Unfortunately, not all writing carries a positive message in our increasingly troubled economy, and some of our readers have discovered the importance of careful wording as they write more and more bad-news materials. For example, Robert Jefferson, a human resources director in Mobile, Alabama, writes about the increase in his bad-news letters.

One part of my job is informing workers of layoffs, and it’s not a happy task. While I always try to give the news face-to-face, I also have to supply a written letter. It’s so difficult to couch words to fall a little softer when they carry such heavy blows. I always try to include positives about the worker, and I also write letters of reference to help them find other jobs. If words are all I can offer, I want them to be as positive and helpful as possible.

A Final Thought

The bottom line is this: Communication is the glue that holds a civilization together, and as long as we can communicate clearly, we can muddle through anything. In business, as in any part of life, effective writing can make a difficult situation a little more tolerable. Let’s hope all our communication is positive in the coming year.


Our Staff Writers’ Blog

Get the latest insights into writing from our staff writers. Recently, Dave Kemper explained “Patterns of Persuasion” and “It’s as easy as 1-2-3…or is it?” while Joyce Lee discussed planning a presentation as well as organizing its introduction and organizing its body. Be sure to visit our blog for these and other great articles!

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Coming in Feburary

Writing the Sales Pitch

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eTips is a publication of UpWrite Press, Inc., P.O. Box 460, Burlington, Wisconsin 53105. Copyright © 2009,
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