Be Passive The Writing Must Not

[found on bookcoaching.com; by Judy Cullins]

“Stop passive sentence construction.

When you write in passive voice, your writing slides along into long sentences that slow your readers down, even bore them.

Before you put your final stamp of approval on your writing, circle all the “is,” “was” and other passive verbs like: begin, start to, seems, appears, have, and could. Use your grammar check to count your passives. Aim for 2-4% only.

Instead of, ”Make sure that your name is included on all your household accounts and investments.” Passive culprits include “Make” and “is included.” Create more clarity with this revision,” Include your name on all household accounts and investments to keep your own credit alive after your divorce.”

For more tips on writing from Judy Cullins, click here.

[found on http://bookcoaching.com/wp/non-fiction-book-writing-solutions]
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Punctuation Hilarity

[found on dailywritingtips.com]

“I’ve finally got round to reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss.

Here’s a book that is not only useful and fun to read, its phenomenal popularity carries a moral for every writer:

Don’t worry about following the market. Don’t try to produce another DaVinci Code or Harry Potter. Write what you’re enthusiastic about and kindred spirits will find your book.

Who could have guessed that a book about punctuation would hit the top of the charts?

First published in April of 2004, Eats, Shoots and Leaves spent 25 weeks on the NY Times bestseller list and by October of that year had gone back to press 22 times to bring the total of copies in print to a million. I can’t guess how many copies are out there by now.

At a bit more than 200 pages including the bibliography, this little book describes the rules that govern the use of:

    • apostrophe
    • comma
    • colon
    • semi-colon
    • dash
    • hyphen
    • period

Plenty of other writing guides exist that describe the use of punctuation symbols, but the Truss book livens the discussion by throwing in history, examples of offensive punctuation, and the cheeky attitude that any English speaker smart enough to achieve an elementary school education ought to be smart enough to use apostrophes correctly.”

[found on http://www.dailywritingtips.com/review-of-eats-shoots-and-leaves]
 

Time Wibbly-Wobbly Management

[found on entrepreneur.com]

Practice the following techniques to become the master of your own time:

    1. Carry a schedule and record all your thoughts, conversations and activities for a week. This will help you understand how much you can get done during the course of a day and where your precious moments are going. You’ll see how much time is actually spent producing results and how much time is wasted on unproductive thoughts, conversations and actions.
    2. Any activity or conversation that’s important to your success should have a time assigned to it. To-do lists get longer and longer to the point where they’re unworkable. Appointment books work. Schedule appointments with yourself and create time blocks for high-priority thoughts, conversations, and actions. Schedule when they will begin and end. Have the discipline to keep these appointments.
    3. Plan to spend at least 50 percent of your time engaged in the thoughts, activities and conversations that produce most of your results.
    4. Schedule time for interruptions. Plan time to be pulled away from what you’re doing. Take, for instance, the concept of having “office hours.” Isn’t “office hours” another way of saying “planned interruptions?”
    5. Take the first 30 minutes of every day to plan your day. Don’t start your day until you complete your time plan. The most important time of your day is the time you schedule to schedule time.
    6. Take five minutes before every call and task to decide what result you want to attain. This will help you know what success looks like before you start. And it will also slow time down. Take five minutes after each call and activity to determine whether your desired result was achieved. If not, what was missing? How do you put what’s missing in your next call or activity?
    7. Put up a “Do not disturb” sign when you absolutely have to get work done.
    8. Practice not answering the phone just because it’s ringing and e-mails just because they show up. Disconnect instant messaging. Don’t instantly give people your attention unless it’s absolutely crucial in your business to offer an immediate human response. Instead, schedule a time to answer email and return phone calls.
    9. Block out other distractions like Facebook and other forms of social media unless you use these tools to generate business.
    10. Remember that it’s impossible to get everything done. Also remember that odds are good that 20 percent of your thoughts, conversations and activities produce 80 percent of your results.”

[found on http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/219553]

If It’s Passive—Pass it…

[found on hamilton.edu]
  • Passive voice produces a sentence in which the subject receives an action.
    • In contrast, active voice produces a sentence in which the subject performs an action.
  • Passive voice often produces unclear, wordy sentences,
    • whereas active voice produces generally clearer, more concise sentences.
  • To change a sentence from passive to active voice, determine who or what performs the action,
    • and use that person or thing as the subject of the sentence.
    • PASSIVE voice:
      • “On April 19, 1775, arms were seized at Concord, precipitating the American Revolution.”
    • ACTIVE voice:
      • “On April 19, 1775, British soldiers seized arms at Concord, precipitating the American Revolution.”
[found on http://www.hamilton.edu/tip#Writing%20for%20Clarity]

Active / Passive Voice

[found on plainlanguage.gov]

What is active/passive voice?

“To know whether you are writing in the active or passive voice, identify the subject of the sentence and decide whether the subject is doing the action or being acted upon.

  • Passive Voice: the subject is the receiver of the action.
    The tax return (subject) was completed (action) before the April 15 deadline by Mr. Doe.
  • Active Voice: the subject does an action to an object.
    Mr. Doe (subject) completed (action) the tax return (object) before the April 15 deadline.

When we write in the passive voice, we add some form of the helping verb “to be” (am, is, are, was, were, being, or been) to an otherwise strong verb that really did not need help.

  • Passive: Additional information (subject) can be obtained (action) by employees from our website.
  • Active: Employees (subject) can obtain (action) additional information (object) from our website.”
[found on http://www.plainlanguage.gov/howto/quickreference/dash/dashactive.cfm]