Let’s be clear: thoughts on writing and editing

OMG! It’s Summer already!
Deckchair on beach with Santa hat hanging off.

As an editor and content pedant, I don’t like the use of social-media-speak such as OMG! and LOL in business and formal writing. But there are exceptions, especially in catchy headlines. Summer is definitely here (Australia): 37C in Sydney yesterday. On the other side of the world, Winter is definitely there: heavy snow all over Britain and parts of the US.

This has been a hectic year for me as managing editor of Contextualise, and even more so as Sue Cartledge, writer and poet. In May, my verse novel, Newtown Voices, was published by Ginninderra Press to subdued fanfare, and in November I started a blog, ‘Horror Headlines from daggy old Newtown’, filling in the true stories behind the poems. Like most people at this time of year, I’m ready for a break.

What have a verse novel and blogging got to do with business or academic writing? Simply this: the more you practice writing,especially in a form or style you don’t normally use, the more your writing skills and vocabulary grow. Your ‘work’ writing will improve — sharper, clearer, more succinct. Your words will hit their target more accurately, more often.

Reading beyond your normal taste also improves writing skills. As well as gaining new vocabulary, you learn new styles and forms to exercise your brain and writing muscles. The holiday break — short or long — as well as being enjoyable time out with family and friends, is the perfect time to expand your reading experiences.

I’ll be catching up on some of the many challenging, interesting, and outright left of field new books — fiction, poetry, and non-fiction — published in 2017. There are too many to read them all, but I can try! As some Australian politicians like to say: “I’ll give it a red hot go!”

Enjoy your holiday, whether hot or cold, short or long, or just right. I’ll be back in January 2018.

Until next time,



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