Tagged: writing

Mind map (photo credit: Pietro Zanarini via flickr cc)

How to plan better with mind maps

“Mind maps — what a load of New Age nonsense.” That was my harsh (and incorrect) assessment the first time I encountered mind mapping. I was an outline guy and didn’t see any reason to change. The technique appeared on my radar often enough for me to accept that there might be something to it. Mind maps have since become an essential tool for planning projects and organizing my ideas. Mind maps start with a central idea. Sub-points and associations radiate from this main point. They are a more visual way of organising information and may employ color, imagery and spatial relationships. Mind mapping...

Magic Keyboard and iPad

Hey Apple, the Magic Keyboard needs improvement!

If anyone can make a keyboard that works well with an iPad you’d expect Apple to be the company to pull it off. The Apple Magic Keyboard and iOS combination is more frustrating than magical. Apple hasn’t pulled a rabbit out of a hat, but they have made important functions disappear. Background I’ve struggled to do much writing lately. Other priorities have restricted the time I can put toward it. Much like exercise, writing is a high-inertia activity. It’s easy enough to sustain once you get going, but getting started is hard work. Sometimes a change of scenery is all...

It's not failure, it's data

2015 review: falling short doesn’t always mean failure

As the year draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on the last 12 months and set goals for the coming year. My target for 2015 was to publish a post every fortnight — 26 posts for the year. Then I immediately sabotaged any chance of achieving this. All my writing efforts for the first few months went into creating Supercharged Notes. Like all creative projects, it was a longer, harder journey than the way it played out in my imagination before I started. I expected to release the book in January but didn’t complete the project...

Ready to write

How ideas come to life: a revealing look behind my writing process

In the last few months, I’ve had several unexpected conversations about the process of writing. This created an opportunity to reflect on my workflow. While I’ve thought about each step separately, I’ve never given much consideration to the entire process. My approach has evolved as I’ve incorporated ideas from other writers who have pulled back the curtain and shared their workflow. Perhaps an exploration of my approach will give you some ideas to fine-tune your own. I’m not a best-selling author, but writing is a big part of my work. Enough people have told me I write well for me...

Nic McPhee via flickr cc

One simple approach to instantly improve your writing

Everybody writes. Whether it’s an email to a friend, your resume, a sales proposal, website copy or the next best-selling book, readers expect clear and error free writing. The problem is that it’s really hard to proofread your own work. Your brain sees what you meant to write, not what’s actually on the page. I wish I’d known about this easily overlooked tool years ago. It’s been a huge help in finding errors in my blog posts, books and other important documents that were invisible to me before. Text to speech is a simple way to find and fix typos,...

Blank page

2 questions you must answer before you write anything

I need two questions answered before I can start writing, but this doesn’t seem necessary for everyone. When someone asks me to review or edit their work I ask them the same two questions. The response is usually a perplexed and sometimes pained expression accompanied by a stumbling, vague answer. Whether you’re writing an email, a blog post, a sales proposal, a university assignment, a letter to your significant other or a book, the ability to clearly express your ideas in writing is an immensely valuable skill. If you can clearly and succinctly answer these two questions, you’ll be able...