January 2010  
UpWrite Press Writing eTips
open house

Your Open-House Invitation

The UpWrite Press Web site has received a makeover. This is more than just a graphic redesign:

  • The new home page features a cost calculator to show how much money your company could be losing from poorly written e-mails.
  • The new site organization leads you quickly to self-help, trainer, or classroom information.
  • The new "About Us" page introduces our mission, history, products, and team members.

Also, the UpWrite Press store now features our forthcoming Write for Work text, with an overview, testimonials, a downloadable table of contents, and information about how to apply for a review copy.

Come take a look at the new site and leave your comments or send us an e-mail message. We'd love to hear your thoughts and recommendations.

"If you don't know it, don't write it."

--Darrell Schweitzer

Word Pair of the Month: amount, number

These two words are often mixed up, and although they both refer to quantity, they have very different meanings.

The word amount refers to a quantity of something being measured in bulk or mass, which cannot be broken down into individual units. Examples might include things like water, energy, or revenue, as in this sentence: The amount of energy generated by the sun is unfathomable.

The word number, on the other hand, refers to something that can be broken down and counted in separate units, such as drops, degrees, or dollars, as in this sentence: The child carefully counted the number of dewdrops on the flower petal.

January Writer's Forum Question

Well, here we are at the start of yet another year. Once again we're asking for any resolutions you have made for the coming year. What do you hope to accomplish by the time 2011 rolls around? More important, how do you plan to meet those goals? Share your dreams and aspirations with us - maybe your ideas will inspire someone else to shoot for a brighter, better 2010.

This month's responses included some that were expected, but some revelations as well. To no one's shock, a large number of our respondents hoped for a new job, a better job, or - too many - any job. But many people were surprisingly optimistic, and that's an upbeat step into 2010 for sure.

We heard again from previous contributor Kyle Parker, an ad account rep in New York, who had a pleasantly positive take on things.

I recently got married and discovered I could no longer devote my entire life to my job. But I do want to get ahead in my career, so I have resolved to become more organized in the coming year. Balance is the key, and I plan to devote enough time to my wife as well as to my job. It may sound corny, but I realized that when you have something good - and my life is really good right now - you need to nurture it, or you'll be left with nothing but regrets.

We also had our first submission from Ming Liu of San Francisco.

My family's restaurant suffered quite a bit in the past year's financial crisis, and I have resolved to explore new, creative ways to grow. I have finally convinced my family that we can modernize without compromising our traditional values. Traditions are wonderful, but if you want to compete, you have to change. Innovation, here we come!

We were touched by Chicagoan Robert Peyton's story, even as we were inspired by it.

I did something stupid a few years ago and ended up behind bars for eighteen months. But that time changed my life, because it gave me time to think, and the thing I thought about most was where I was going. I was able to finish my GED while in there, and when I got out, the counselors helped me get into tech school. I got certified to be a mechanic, the school helped me find a job, and now I'm working steady. I read everything I can to help me improve, like this newsletter my boss told me about. My resolution for 2010 is to keep moving forward, and to never look back. I plan to own my own shop someday. That's my resolution.

A Final Thought

Sometimes people wonder what the difference is between fiction and nonfiction writing (other than the obvious made-up element of fiction). Here's one way to look at it: fiction deals with questions, while nonfiction deals with answers. Both types of writing can be creative, however. Look at how you must creatively fashion a bad-news letter so it doesn't sound harsh (or libelous). Business writing must give answers in a clear, professional manner, but doing so in a creative, engaging way can make the writing even stronger. So enjoy your writing, and if you want to really have fun with it, try this: After writing something for work, turn the piece into a silly poem. Then hide it in your desk and pull it out when you need a reinforcing chuckle.

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