Tag Archives: writing

How do You Improve Your Writing Skills?

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I’ve developed an acronym: PUGS. It’s short for Punctuation, Usage, Grammar and Spelling. If you remember your PUGS, then you’re going to create a better piece of text. People take you more seriously, and you will come across as a professional if you are using proper grammar. Yes, I can be forceful with my belief that you are smarter than you come across when you don’t write very well. Considering that a large part of being online is text… it’s important that you can write.

Maybe you know how to write, but you’re looking to become more creative. What resources are out there to help you? Language is a Virus won’t install malicious software on your computer. It will, however, give you a ton of new and creative ideas to get you started (or help you finish!). There are so many things on this site to help you, that I’m not even going to list everything. You need to head over there and check them all out. However, some of what you’ll find includes:

  • Poetry and random-line generators.
  • Title-o-Matic and character name generators.
  • Places on the site to post your own stories and poems.
  • Writing experiment exercises.
  • Poetry, Creativity, Writing and Language articles

If you’re having writer’s block, or even just need a little extra boost… this is an excellent resource for you. There are tons of widgets on the site that you can use should you choose. The creative writing exercises are truly amazing, and a lot of fun. You’ll even find articles and tutorials helping you along your path to writing a novel or screenplay!

You don’t need to have a degree in English, nor do you have to speak English as your primary language to get a lot of use out of this site. No matter how good you are (or aren’t!), you’ll get even better with practice.


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What's the Best Way to Write a Forum or Blog Post?

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If you’re looking to write on Geeks or any other site, you need to make sure you create good content. There are many factors involved in this process. I’ve written out my top five points to keep in mind, to help you get started.

  1. Lead with a strong headline. Sometimes it’s a leading question, sometimes it’s a statement that pulls people into reading what’s inside. Single words or simple phrases are to be avoided in a headline if at all possible.
  2. Remember your PUGS. It’s short for: Punctuation, Usage, Grammar, Spelling. This isn’t a text message, and it isn’t a Twitter post.
  3. Don’t just ask a simple question. If you want responses, spend a great degree of time crafting your position in the matter. If anything, this is why I always like to do “top 5 lists” – people love digesting well thought-out bullet points. If you’re covering a news story or product launch, what about some photos, videos, original text. Never copy someone else’s content – especially without permission. Quote your sources.
  4. Use others If other community members have started threads that are active and/or relevant to what you’re going to write about, link to them! It’s cross-discovery, not a competition.
  5. Own it. You can write about anything, just own what you say. Don’t treat opinions like facts, and vice versa. If something is a rumor, TREAT IT as a rumor.

Write about what you know, and what you’re passionate about. Your words equal your identity online. It’s imperative you take the time to know what you’re writing, and why. By writing well thought-out content, you will build a following. People with similar interests will gravitate to you, and want to know what you have to say.

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Can You Rhyme all the Time on a Dime?

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Some of you unfortunately have had the opportunity to read some of my really bad poetry. It’s fun to do, but I’m certainly not going to quit my day job to become a poet. Back when I began writing, I played around with rhyming. I wasn’t so good at it. What do you do when you need something to rhyme? If you need a rhyme, one of the best websites I have ever seen was just passed along to me the other day.

WriteRhymes is a simple way to help you come up with words that rhyme. Simply begin typing in the box. When you need to rhyme something, hold down your Alt key, and click on the word you want to rhyme with. That’s all there is to it. When you’re finished, you can save your rhyme to your computer, print it out, or copy it to paste elsewhere.

After I had recorded this video, a community member named Seany sent me a poem he created using the WriteRhymes site. The poem is so excellent, I had to include it here!

I stopped by his website today
And had a jolly old time
Received some great advice
Didn’t have to pay a dime

They’re typically talking tech
Twenty-Four hours a day
So why don’t you stop by
You might find you’ll want to stay

Don’t worry, I’m not kidding
I ask you, please stay calm
It’s easy to remember, hard to forget
We’re at live.pirillo.com.

If you know of any other cool services or websites like this one, pass them along to me!


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10 Ways to Eliminate the Echo Chamber

These suggestions are not mutually exclusive:

  1. Don’t live inside your news aggregator. You don’t see me getting caught up in the daily din largely because I save my favorite tech friends for “dessert” – catching up with their feeds at the end of the week. Doing this has largely kept me from commenting on commenter’s comments on commenting comments commenting on commenters.
  2. Say something original at least once a day. Believe me, this is a tremendous challenge. I’ve been trying to do this since 1996, with the launch of Lockergnome. There are times it’s just easier to regurgitate something that somebody else said. If you think it can’t be done, you’re not thinking hard enough.
  3. If warranted, quote an “unknown” source. Instead of going for the pundit’s line, why not elevate a non-pundit instead? There’s enough room in the ‘sphere for feeding everybody’s ego.
  4. Don’t link to the same site more than once every two weeks. If the situation is large enough to be covered by a large amount of people, then we’re going to find related perspectives easily enough. Force yourself to stop seeing and seeding the same stuff over and over and over and over again.
  5. Wait a week before publishing your thoughts on hot topics. I realize this point could be taken as an anti-social move – but when everybody’s talking and nobody’s listening, what are we really accomplishing? Scoble (and no, I’m not trying to invoke the Pirillo effect by dropping his name) made me think about this a few weeks ago when we were talking about “me too” trends.
  6. Create, don’t regurgitate. It’s fun to talk about new stuff, especially if everybody else is linking to it (and it’s of interest). But what about creating something new every once in a while? And if you never do something original, then how do you ever expect us to rise above the din?
  7. Think twice before using buzzwords. There’s a time to employ jargon, and there’s a time to destroy it. My mom thinks that AJAX is a cleaning product – and so does 99% of the galaxy. Don’t merely mention a function, but how it actually makes the experience better (or worse); tell us about the features, sell us on the benefits.
  8. Make yourself uncomfortable. I don’t do it often enough, but whenever I step outside my comfort zone – I grow. I’m an introvert at heart, and the only way I can overcome this social shortcoming is by being gregarious when my gut reaction is to retreat. When you force yourself to do something that you don’t understand, the results might be messy – but they’ll be genuine. It’s cool to swim alongside the cool kids, but it’s more cool to be in a clique of one.
  9. Stop whining (or worrying) about what list you’re on (or not on). Dude, it’s not about lists anymore. Lists were designed to be exclusionary and are largely done for marketing purposes. I’m referring to lists of top people, places, or things – not lists like David Letterman’s Top Ten. People know who you are and where to find you – and no matter what you say or do in the future, their conceptions and misconceptions are ultimately going to cloud their judgements of who you really are.
  10. Stop saying we need to get out of the echo chamber. We all realize that we need to get out of the echo chamber, so what are YOU doing to help us get out of the echo chamber? Just saying we need to get out is not actually going to help get us out. Many of us have similar beliefs – great. The day for blogging about blogging, and podcasting about podcasting, is long gone.

I dare you to go a full week without touching your feed reader. I’ve done it before, and I’ll do it again next week. The world will still be here when you get back. And I don’t need anybody to link back to this list in order to feel validated – I’d just like everybody to start thinking about “thinking about” different things.

I Didn't Write Anything Yesterday!

OMG. I totally spaced on writing something here yesterday. I’m so incredibly sorry, and intend on making it up to everyone right now. See, I’m writing something here – this is the sentence in the paragraph I’m writing because I forgot to write something before the clock struck Midnight. Where did the time go? Oh, you name it – running errands, getting ready for our trip to SF for BloggerCon, troubleshooting WordPress, troubleshooting Lockergnome, troubleshooting Gada.be, conversing with friends, chatting with Shayne, kissing Ponzi (at least once, I remember), etc. I really wanted to write something more substantial, but I guess you’ll have to settle for a fluff piece instead. Look at all the fluff! This is all fluff, I tell ya! Fluffy, fluffy, fluffy. Must go to bed now.