Tag Archives: writing

8 Common Mistakes in Technical Writing

Want to improve your writing skills and keep on improving? Avoid these 8 mistakes by using my strategies for giving readers what they need and expect. Remember, technical writing is not about self expression. It’s all about clarity for the reader. As a famous writer once said …

“Easy reading is damn hard writing. ” ~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

Mistake #1: Not having a point

• Decide on a Title before writing.
• If you tweak the title after writing, review and edit to make sure your intended point is consistent.

Mistake #2: Not having a linear writing process

• Create an Outline
• Create a Table of Contents that reflects your outline before writing.

Mistake #3: Making paragraphs too long or too short.

• Paragraphs more than 5-7 sentences may lose the reader.
• Paragraphs of only 1-3 sentences should either be expanded or folded into another paragraph to make the paper easier to read.

Mistake #4: Using vague words to define terms.

• Confusing comparisons: Similar to, just like, unlike, almost as much as …
• Unquantifiable measurements: A lot, marginally, hardly, almost all

Mistake #5: Stating opinions vs. facts.

• Don’t tell the reader what you feel, believe, think, or hope.
• If an application asks about your plans and aspirations, be specific and give short and long term details.

Mistake #6: Mixing verb tenses.

• Use the future tense rarely, the present tense occasionally, the past tense often.
• Separate the different tenses by paragraphs, not by sentences.

Mistake #7: Using colorful language to add emotion.

Non-technical idioms: Colloquial phrases that are fun and catchy are distractions.

Conversational-only adjectives & adverbs: Really, very, important, very important …

Mistake #8: Inserting confusing punctuation.

• Semi-colons should be used rarely if ever.
• Count your commas. If you used more than 4-5 commas in a sentence, break it up into shorter sentences.

Why Bother Writing? – by Deborah Levine

Step Up Writing Skills
Climb Up the Ladder

Why bother writing when technology does much of the work for us? Templates plan for us, spell-check edits for us, and there’s enough information online to produce a ocean of plagiarized work. It’s no surprise that technical and business writing skills are becoming lost arts. Yet, successful communication with colleagues, teams, and clients relies heavily on written memos, emails, reports, proposals, and evaluations. Professional development , especially in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) should have a strong focus on technical writing skills, but rarely does.

technical writing

If you want to lead in STEM…

  • Write to organize your thoughts
  • Write to increase your visibility
  • Write to develop your credibility
  • Write to establish your influence

Continue reading Why Bother Writing? – by Deborah Levine

GURU Editing

GURU EDITING is here!
Combo Editing & Coaching
for Aspiring Writers

guru editing

Want to improve your writing?
Refine your style?

Help is here!
Award-winning author Deborah Levine combines content & editing for a powerful upgrade to your writing.

How does it work?

  • You e-mail Deborah what you’ve written
  • You and Deborah have a coaching session
  • Deborah provides expert editing
  • Deborah shares her secrets for improving your work
  • Your writing gets Better & Better!

COST:

GURU EDITING = $50.00 per hour. Pages must be double-spaced with New Times Roman font – size 12.
COACHING CALL: 45 MINUTES by Phone or Zoom = $100
Clients must schedule a minimum of 1 coaching call per blog/article, 2 coaching calls per grant proposal, 4 coaching calls for a book.

TESTIMONIALS


“Deborah has a unique style as an Editor. She is thorough, helpful and easy going. You get to feel her rich experience in the very first encounter with her. Her reviews are top-notch and has consulted for many international organizations. She has demonstrated keen interest in the development of new and young writers over the years and is always available when called upon. I couldn’t find anyone better to work with.”

26 tiny paint brushes- on writing! – by Terry Howard

Okay, I love to write.

Am I good at my craft? Well, only my readers can answer that question. But I’m here today to share a bit about my history as a writer utilizing the Q & A format. Here goes:

Q: Terry, when did you decide to become a writer?

A: Although I love sports, it didn’t take me long to realize that a NBA career was not in my future. And science and math were not my strong points. Singing? Dancing? Since I’m the worst singer and dancer in the history of the world I ruled out those two options. So I figured that since putting pen to paper was something I enjoyed, plus I had great English teachers, I decided to major in English in college.

Continue reading 26 tiny paint brushes- on writing! – by Terry Howard

How I became an Award-winning Writer – Conclusion
: by Deborah Levine

We’re about to land in Tashkent and I stuff bags of peanuts, napkins, and cupholders labeled “Air Uzbekistan” into my purse. I’m on a mission for the Jewish Federation in Chattanooga where I’m the Executive Director. No other Federation mission has ever gone to Uzbekistan on its way to Jerusalem and I want as many momentos as my bag will hold.

I relished this adventure of a lifetime. I usually worked 24/7 running the nonprofit and spending my days in the office. My restlessness as a bureaucrat was offset by having a salary, health insurance, and vacation. I’d published two books, but my writing now was solely for the Federation’s newsletter. No more Starving Writer for me!

Continue reading How I became an Award-winning Writer – Conclusion
: by Deborah Levine

How I Became an Award-winning Writer: PART 3 – 
by Deborah Levine

I sat in my Chicago office wrapping up my latest project, the National Workshop on Christian-Jewish Relations, with an evaluation report. It was not so much “writing” as a how-to guide for the next poor slob who spent three years as coordinator. The phone rang and I interrupted my hair-pulling session for a friend who’d helped promote the Workshop. Mike was an editor with Liturgy Training Publications, the publishing arm of Chicago’s Catholic Archdiocese. “Please write a chapter for a book we’re doing on religious rites of passage for teens.” Continue reading How I Became an Award-winning Writer: PART 3 – 
by Deborah Levine

How & Why I Became a Writer: PART 2 – by Deborah Levine

My pride, and a touch of arrogance, in having aced Advanced Placement AP English lasted about five minutes on campus. Harvard frowned on freshmen who hadn’t achieved at least 4 out 5 on the AP English exam, and I’d received only 3. Humility sank in as I sat in an ancient lecture hall with hundreds of freshman and took a required writing exam. I flunked.

Continue reading How & Why I Became a Writer: PART 2 – by Deborah Levine

How & Why I Became a Writer: Part 1 – by Deborah Levine

I’m often asked how I became an award-winning writer and I finally decided to share that story. My passion for writing began as a passion for reading. Growing up in Bermuda in the 1950s there was no television and little radio. My ivy-league educated parents read to me and my brother every night. Journeys through Bookland was my favorite collection of folk tales from around the world and mythology from Thor to Zeus. I imagined mermaids in the ocean that surrounded us, goblins underneath the mini-drawbridge, faeries in the lightning-bug swarms, and trolls under my bed. We learned the alphabet early in colonial British schools, and I learned my letters faster than most. (Please forgive me Jeffrey for drawing letters in charcoal all over your parents’ house and thanks for not telling the police I was hiding under the bed with the trolls.)

Continue reading How & Why I Became a Writer: Part 1 – by Deborah Levine

Technical Writing for Reports: 10-Step Plan

There are two essential themes in technical writing  for reports. The first is having a step-by-step timeline that maps out the process. The second is choosing a topic that interests you enough to do the research and writing required. The ADR 10-Step plan combines both elements using a famous writer’s philosophy …

“The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say.” ~ Mark Twain Continue reading Technical Writing for Reports: 10-Step Plan

The Power of Words and a Nudge – by Deborah Levine

Where better to hear a speech on The Power of Words than at a library? That was Tom Griscom’s topic at the annual meeting of Chattanooga’s public library board of directors. I couldn’t resist joining them atop four floors of books, DVDs, and periodicals. Griscom had revitalized my passion for writing almost a decade ago. As editor and publisher of The Chattanooga Times Free Press, he created a cadre of community correspondents who reported weekly on events in their neck of the woods. I hemmed and hawed when first contacted, but the young reporter got me when she said, “C’mon. You know you want to.” Yes, I did, for years, and never regretted it.

Continue reading The Power of Words and a Nudge – by Deborah Levine