Archive for the ‘Writing Tutorial’ category

Re-Purpose, Rewrite – Create a Book

January 24, 2017

composition-1837242_1280There are many reasons to write your book, and believe it or not, you may already have the material on hand. Have you written a speech or created blogs or articles, even scripts for webinars?  You have the beginning of your book already. Re-purpose the material. It becomes a matter of organizing your material and augmenting it so that it can be read as a book.

Today’s technology makes it easier than ever to write a book and get it published. So much of the control is in your hands when previous reality  was that the publishing house had all the control, from the decision to publish your work to the publishing date.

Here a few steps to cover when you make that all important decision to write your book:

  1. Start your marketing early – even before you write your book.
  2. Decide whether you are publishing an ebook or printed book, hardback or paperback.
  3. Choose the publishing method and company you will use.
  4. Make an outline of your book.
  5. Based on your outline, determine the approximate length of your book.
  6. Establish how many words you will write a day and stick with it. Write, write, write!
  7. Once you have finished, review and rewrite until you have the manuscript that you want.
  8. Have your work proofed; don’t let typos and bad grammar ruin your book.
  9. Publish!

It is easier than many think, but it still takes patience, time and dedication to write your book, even when you have all the material on hand.

As you can tell, my focus is on writing a book. One of the reasons that writing a book is my goal for this year and because I realize the difference it can make in my business, I am encouraging you to make a difference in yours. Share the unique knowledge you have, realize personal satisfaction and gain business traffic, all from re-purposing, rewriting and creating your book.


Are There Steps to Creating an Ebook?

December 15, 2016

pic-person-woman-desk-laptop-2Creating an ebook can be an extremely valuable tool to help you grow your business regardless of its size or whether your business is online or not. There are steps to creating your ebook if you want the ebook to be a success. In fact, some steps should be implemented even before you begin writing the ebook.

A general guideline will help you create your ebook. A few steps to include are:

  1. Begin by identifying what you will write about. What are the needs of your target audience? What does your target audience want to know or learn more about? What is your knowledge or skillset? Generally, if you are in business, the three questions should line up and point to the same niche; not always, but most of the time.
  2. Develop a strategy for marketing your ebooks and include steps to take before you begin writing. Make social media a part of your strategy. If you don’t have much of a social media presence, start working on it now.
  3. Create the title. This can change but start with a good working title. Sometimes just putting the title on paper will get you going if you are having difficulty with your start.
  4. Create the outline of the contents of your ebook. Creating an outline will help you stay focused and cover the major areas that you want to include.
  5. Consider SEO as you write. You want to be recognized by the search engines so that traffic will appear.
  6. Use the right tools to facilitate writing: good writing software (this is optional), thesaurus, dictionary, a good grammar resource (The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White has been around for nearly 100 years), grammar check, and spell check.
  7. Edit and proofread your ebook. Preferably this is done by someone else who is capable of handling the job. If you do it yourself, let your manuscript “sit” for a few days before editing and proofing. However, it is generally not recommended that you proof your own work. Most writers realize how difficult it is to catch your own mistakes. Rely solely on spellcheck and you can end up with some very interesting word substitutions.
  8. Revisit your title once you have finished your ebook. Does it still resonate with you? If at all possible, have your title serve as a domain name so that it can be easily found.
  9. Choose a cover. Create one yourself if you are good at that type of work or pay someone. You can have an attractive and affordable cover created at
  10. Choose a publishing vehicle. Amazon Kindle ebooks shows you step by step what to do to get your ebook published and on Amazon. There are other ebook publishers. Choose the one that is going to be the most productive for you.
  11. Use illustrations if they are appropriate, however, respect copyright laws. There are sights where you can purchase your images. Relying on Google Images is not, I repeat, not your source for images to include in your ebook. Unless you have secured permission or paid for the rights to use the image, you can end up in lots of trouble. Two sites that offer the free use of images are and
  12. Print a copy of your ebook in pdf so that you see what a copy may look like if someone printed it.
  13. Last, but certainly not the least, price your ebook. Include in your pricing consideration whether you will provide it for free in any instances. Review prices of comparable ebooks already on the market to help you make a decision.

Do a little research before you begin the process. Internet makes this part of it über easy. Following the steps outlined will help you have a better grasp on how to organize your work when you have made the decision to write your ebook. Remember, all that is standing between you and a finished ebook is your action. Follow these steps and you will move from thinking about creating your ebook to making it a reality.

Have you considered creating an ebook? If it isn’t already one of your goals for the New Year, it probably should be. What would you choose as your topic? We would like to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment in the box below.

Grammar Can Be Your Undoing

December 3, 2013

IMG_0694It’s often the little things that get you. There you are sailing along, in the zone and the writing is flowing. (In my case, I’ve got the audio at just the right level and I’m transcribing the latest doctoral dissertation.) And then it hits you. You just used the wrong contraction or you made the subject plural and the verb doesn’t agree. Or any number of other little gaffes that makes the sentence structure all wrong.

The English language is full of minefields that will make your writing look less than stellar if you don’t pay strict attention to what you are writing (and what you are saying). For example, let’s look at split infinitives. Well, let’s not here.  They’re so simple, they’re really common mistakes. Just know they exist and they’re not good.

What is the good news? There are grammar programs and books that can help you and me (not you and I, by the way) fix our grammar sticking points. One of the most widely used grammar references is The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr. and E. B. White. I prefer the actual book as opposed to the electronic format, because I tend to look for information that often has no quick answer and I must thumb-mark pages as I try to find just what I am referencing.

The Elements of Style has been in print since the twenties and is now in its fourth edition. If you are a writer, I suggest you purchase a copy. My copy is within easy reach and rather tattered.

There are other books that are strictly grammar. After all, who can remember all the obscure twists and wrong turns the English language can take in a single article? It’s best (or is it better?) not to leave your grammatical choices to chance.

Some of these grammar books are written with a good deal of humor. How is that accomplished,  you might ask. Well, think about it. It is grammar and it does leave lots and lots of room for frustration when you are trying to get it right. A little humor may be just what it takes to get you through.

I recently discovered Grammar Sucks: What to Do to Make Your Writing Much More Better by Joanne Kimes with Gary Robert Muschla. Now there is a title for you. If you didn’t’ get the joke, then you definitely need the book. If the title doesn’t give it away, I’ll tell you that there is plenty of humor packed alongside the nit and grit of grammar.

There are so many ways to get caught writing or saying the wrong word or eternally dangling that modifier. In fact, one of my recent articles is about homonyms. It turned out to be even more of a minefield than I first thought.

I’m not alone in all this grammar usage quandary. My bookshelf certainly attests to that. Someone is writing all those books, for an audience somewhere.  Maybe, just maybe, they are publishing these books for themselves.

My point is, don’t let grammar be your undoing. It could haunt you later. Instead, use a reference book. It takes a little more time, but it’s worth the effort to get it right.

Be Exceptional,


Let Exceptional take care of your transcription needs and provide business solutions.

Anatomy of Writing a Business Letter

August 1, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWriting a business letter is often an everyday part of the job for administrative professionals,  but it is not necessarily part of what the rest of us are required to do.

Maybe you never took a business course and English 101 is long forgotten. Where do you begin?What do you do if writing a business letter is new to you?

Here is the simple dissection of a business letter that works for any letter writer.

First, a business letter is just what it says:  a letter written for the purpose of transacting or conveying business matters. The well written business letter  is just as applicable to a small business, large corporation, or nonprofit, as it is to you when you are trying to receive a promised refund on the toaster you returned two months ago.

There are three different formats used in business letter writing. Your choice depends on the reason for the letter. Those formats are:

  • Full block style – The full block style  is a very formal business letter format. It  is commonly used if you are sending business letters to receivers you don’t know.   Examples would be cover letters to grant requests, resume cover letters or the letter requesting your refund from the toaster company.
  • Modified block style – This is not quite as formal. The format of the letter has the closing and the signature on the right hand side of the letter instead of the left, as it is in the full block style.  You might use this to send a letter to a politician, for example.
  • Indented style – This format should be relegated to communications with familiar business colleagues. The body of the letter will have indented paragraphs.

Wondering what font to use for your letter? Writing the business letter in Times Roman is the generally accepted font. At times, Ariel might be acceptable, as well. To be on the safe side, however, use the Times Roman font in twelve point. This will insure that your letter will be easy to read by the widest audience.

The proper business letter will have the following components in each format:

  • Return address – This is your company address (or your address if you are writing as an individual)  placed on the top, right hand corner of the paper. If you are using company stationary, there is no need to repeat the address unless the address is located at the bottom of the stationary.
  • Date – The date is the first item on the left of your paper. It should be the date that you are crafting your letter. The date is important for referencing and possibly filing the letter. Please note: if you include a Referencing line, this will precede the date and become the first item on the left.
  • Inside address – The address of the company you are corresponding with is also placed at the left of your paper, under the date. Include the name and title of the person  you are trying to reach.
  • Salutation – You must greet your receiver in some manner.  If you don’t readily know the name of the individual receiving your letter, research until you find it. The ubiquitous Dear Sir or Madam is your last resort. The salutation is followed by a colon, not a comma.
  • Body – The body is the reason for the letter. Be as succinct as possible. When using the indented format, the beginning of each paragraph should be indented by five spaces.
  • Close – The close signals the end of your letter and is usually some innocuous, polite phrasing such as Sincerely, Sincerely yours, Yours truly or Best regards. The phrase begins with a capital letter and is always followed by a comma.
  • Name and signature – Leave four spaces after your closing phrase and then type your name.  The spaces are to give the letter writer space to sign the letter, a very important component.
  • Notation – At times there maybe enclosures or some other notations to indicate additional material or additional information that may be in the letter.

Occasionally, writing  business letters is an absolutely necessary part of doing business. It is not so complicated when the business letter is dissected and the components examined. It is, however, important that the business letter is crafted correctly so that there is clarity and understanding between the reader and the writer.

Typing Away!


Words with Same Sound, Different Spelling – Homonyms

July 3, 2013

bookpagespicfile000739253401The English language doesn’t make it easy to have flawless writing. In fact, it can be downright complicated especially with the number of words that sound the same, but have a different spelling and a different meaning.  If writing in English is  your job or some aspect of your job, it is so important to have all t’s crossed and i’s dotted. This is the hallmark of a good transcriber and a good writer.  Because of words that are pronounced the same but have a different spelling, a writer can create confusion for the reader and reflect poorly on the writer’s skills if  those pesky words are not caught during proofreading.

Words that sound the same, but are spelled differently are  homonyms, a great sounding word for a quirky little part of the English language meant  to slip up the average spellcheck on your computer. You must be hyper-vigilent for the possibilities of these little words slipping in and ruining what may have been a perfectly good document or transcription.

I’ve listed a few words here (or is it hear?) that are common culprits. Let’s have a go at this –words with the  same sound,  different spelling:

Pear           Pare              Pair

Be               Bee

Lye              Lie

Fair             Fare

Bass            Base

Bow             Bough

Lead             Led

Too               To                 Two

Their            There           They’re

Mail              Male

Plane            Plain

Genes           Jeans

Deer              Dear

Hear              Here

Right            Write

Dye                Die

Week            Weak

Prey              Pray

Bridal           Bridle

Site                Cite                Sight

Principle      Principal

Buy                Bye

Yes, these are just a few of the  little words that can trip up any  simple spellcheck. I’m sure you can add more. Happily, there are some grammar and spellcheck programs that can ferret out homonyms. Still, good transcribers and writers should be on the lookout for  the homonym when proofreading. As with any other grammatical or spelling error, there is always the chance that a homonym may sneak through. Flawless is what we aim for in our writing, certainly in any transcription business, and one homonym can ruin that.

So, the lesson in this writing is transcribers and writers must remain alert for the spoilers, the homonyms, the unique words that sound the same, but have a different spelling and a different meaning. They can be the weak (or is it week?) spot in your writing.

Write On!