A Beginner’s Guide for Journalists: Taking Notes

Taking notes is one of journalism’s most obvious and yet most under-rated skills. Here are some tips to making the most of that interview…

 My grandmother was a Pitman’s shorthand teacher. Both my mother and her sister could do Pitman’s at the drop of a hat. I tried to learn it (and still have my grandmother’s precious textbooks) but somehow it never took hold.

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How to find your writing voice

One of the more mysterious concepts in writing and editing is that of “voice”. Here’s how to find your writing voice (it can take a long time, but you’ll get there!).

The author biography in the front of Terry Pratchett novels says that he started work as a journalist one day in 1965 and saw his first corpse three hours later, work experience meaning something in those days. The bio continues:

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How to conquer writing procrastination

I had a bad bout of flu in the week running up to the writing of this post – but by Friday, I was feeling human again. Not human enough to actually sit down and start writing, though.

I dithered and told myself I needed a nap, or a cup of tea, or that there were more important things I could be doing. 

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Writing, the Stephen King way

I write a blog post once a week, and an article almost every week for a corporate client. Plus fund-raising proposals and press releases and social media posts and newsletters. What I don’t do is write like Stephen King.

I’m starting to think though that I should give that a try. (I don’t mean write like Stephen King as in be a best-selling author of 64 books; I just mean I should write more than I do now, or differently from the way I do it now).

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A simple guide to apostrophes

Some time ago, Cape Talk afternoon host John Maytham read out a communication from a listener about a sign seen at a mining event where the apostrophe reared its small and annoying head.

The sign said something like “Worlds’ Mines”. Because of the way in which written English arranges things, the little quote mark (the apostrophe) after the “s” in worlds indicates that there are mines in many worlds, rather mines on our own solitary planet.
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How to generate ideas for your writing

Every now and then, I run a workshop on making blog content interesting at a local high school. The workshop always kicks off with a session on generating ideas for blog posts – though of course the ideas apply to all writing.

Here are thoughts on how to generate content ideas that I share (with the addition of some that have been shared by participants over the years):

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