Long sentences can make you more concise

“You have too many short sentences. Write some long sentences.” That advice from my writing teacher stunned me. I’d been working so hard to cut flab from my writing. However, I respected my teacher, and quickly realized that she was right. As she explained, my short sentences created a monotonous rhythm. Long sentences may repeat […]

MISTAKE MONDAY for March 29: Can YOU spot what’s wrong?

Can you spot what’s wrong in the image below? One error jumped out at me, but there’s more than one error in this piece. Listening to someone read this post out loud wouldn’t help you find the errors that I spotted. Please post your answer as a comment. I post these challenges to raise awareness […]

How to edit articles about Black people

Most investment writers rarely discuss race. However, I have the privilege of editing articles related to race—and advocating for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion—in my role as editor of the monthly magazine of an association of financial advisors. This has raised issues for me as an editor when reviewing articles mentioning Black people. At the […]

Stop submitting articles as PDFs!

Please don’t submit your unsolicited articles to editors as PDFs. In my role as the editor of a monthly magazine, I find PDFs frustrating. They tempt me to trash an article immediately. (Of course, ignore my advice if a publication asks you to submit articles as PDFs.) Why do authors send PDFs? None of my […]

Finding your best clients

Learning what works for you in winning clients is a good way to make your marketing more efficient and effective. I’ve described my approach on this blog. But a recent webinar inspired me to revisit this topic. Consultant Mary Cravets of Simply Get Clients suggested that participants identify how they gained their best clients. Then, […]

Investment commentary topic: ETF controversy

Are you tired of only discussing recent market developments in your investment commentary? Look to your professional reading for ideas, as I suggest in my webinar, “How to Write Investment Commentary People Will Read.” A topic leaped out at me when I read the CFA Institute’s Financial Analysts Journal (FAJ) from 2021’s first quarter. The […]

“And/or” vs. “and / or”: which do you use?

Do you leave spaces around slashes in expressions such as “and/or” or do you open up spaces, using “and / or”? I’ve seen both styles. The online AP Stylebook (paid subscription required) says “No space on either side of the slash.” Here’s what Garner’s Modern American Usage says about “and/or”: A legal and business expression […]

How to influence, not argue, with people

Political divisions in America have me thinking about how to speak with people with whom I disagree. This is personal. I have an aunt with whom I can’t talk politics. As a result, I was intrigued by the chapter called “Don’t Argue” in Trish Hall’s Writing to Persuade. Arguments don’t get good results Hall makes […]

12 steps to rewrite long articles

What’s the best process to rewrite long articles written by someone other than you? You may get some ideas from my 12-step process. I start by assessing the article’s strengths and weaknesses. Next, I rewrite the article, including its graphs, callouts, and anything else that isn’t part of the main text. Finally, I run several […]

Discuss your mistakes like Warren Buffett

It’s not a sign of weakness to discuss your mistakes. At least, it’s not if you discuss your mistakes like Warren Buffett. Benefit of discussing your mistakes “Berkshire investors gain confidence because Buffett doesn’t gloss over his mistakes,” writes L.J. Rittenhouse, in Buffett’s Bites: The Essential Investor’s Guide to Warren Buffett’s Shareholder Letters. She shares […]