American Donald video; ‘guess who’ is singing!

I’ve tried, for me, a different kind of writing: a satiric song: American Donald. You can hear the song, view the video and read the lyrics here:

If you like American Woman, and if Trump is not your cuppa, and if you enjoy a rockin’ female singer, you will enjoy the video!

I can’t say who the singer is; she was happy to sing the song, and she really rocks it, but she doesn’t want her name on the video, in case she needs to go to the US one day… About the singer I can only say “Guess Who”!)…

Note: I confess I asked Randy Bachman first if he wanted to sing it. He said that he doesn’t do political songs… Um, what was American Woman if not a song that made a political statement and took a political stance??? Okay, it was not as politically overt as American Donald, still…

But not a problem; I like this version. And actually think it’s much more appropriate that a woman sings (rocks!) the song.

Again, you can see the video here:


My freelance writing resolutions for 2019

I’ve been a freelance writer and writing trainer most of my life. I’ve loved the work that I’ve done, and managed to make a fairly decent living doing it…..

I’m 64 now, and have MS–a chronic and, for me, somewhat debilitating disease (the degree to which it is debilitating is different for everybody who has it). So age and illness, mostly illness, have kind of crimped my style over the last few years.

I’m still working, but not like I used to. Other than blogging and writing the occasional book about MS and business and promotional writing, I do very little writing and editing for clients. Sadly, I can no longer train in person, although I teach several online writing courses for the UofT and conduct the occasional writing webinar. And I’ll be teaching a series of online writing courses come the new year.

But it’s not like it used to be… I guess I’m semi-retired now. Only, due to the illness, I’m not golfing (okay, even without the illness I wouldn’t be golfing!) or travelling the world. I read good books, watch good TV shows (mostly British) and watch engaging movies. I also walk our dog once and often twice a day and play too much Words with Friends (hey, if you play it, challenge me–although I’m not that good).

So I confess I don’t really make many resolutions come the New Year. It’s like I have nothing to resolve. But if you are just stating your freelance journey, or if you’ve been at it for a while and want to do more, there are resolutions you should make, and stick to.

Resolution #1: create a business vision for yourself.

Resolution #2: market your writing services (or any other services you offer) on a regular (daily) basis, based on your business vision, at least until you are too busy making money to spend time marketing.

Resolution #3: determine how to accurately price your writing services.

If you make and stick to those resolutions, and if you deliver the services you offer effectively and efficiently, and invoice for your services so that you get paid, you should see your business grow over time. I know mine did.

My business grew because I worked at making it grow. Call me naive, but I believe if you do what you want to get paid to do, there is no reason why your business should not grow too.

Hope you had a good 2018 and that you have a happy, healthy and profitable 2019!


Two important components of writing explained

This blog post is about something that many writers realize consciously and some realize subconsciously. It is something that all writers should realize consciously so that is at the forefront of their minds as they write.

Here it is: there are two components to writing. There is the technical component and there is the content component.

The technical component includes spelling and grammar. But it is more than that. It is clear, concise, easily understood writing used in properly structured sentences, paragraphs and documents.

The content component includes writing that speaks to your target audience. Writing that conveys your purpose or reason for writing. Writing that captures attention so your reader will start reading. Writing that holds interest so that your reader will continue to read. Writing that influences attitude so your reader will think about acting. Writing that includes a clear call to action so that your reader will know how to, and when to, act.

I teach several writing course for the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. When I mark assignments I correct, when required, the technical aspects of writing. But, as important as strong technical writing is, I do not teach technical writing. I teach content courses (Business Writing, Copy Writing, Journalism Essentials), and when you write you need to keep clear and separate the technical and content components of writing. In fact, I strongly suggest that you put content first.

Why spend time upfront fixing technical errors when your content needs strengthening? You can edit you document to make it technically sound once you have written a solid draft of your document.

When I mark assignments, I place my emphasis on content. Does your content do all that I have outlined above? In short, strong technical writing with weak content is ineffective writing. (Similarly, strong content that is lost in a multitude of technical errors is also ineffective writing.)

Some strong technical writers produce weak content. I have written several books on writing, and teach private online courses, that can help writers produce strong, effective content. Some strong content writers are weak technical writers. They may need a good grammar book or need to take a self-editing course that focuses on the technical aspects of writing.

So now the two components of writing are clearly defined and you are conscious of the need to include both components in your writing. With that in mind, go forth and combine the two components and produce strong writing that helps you achieve your purpose or reason for writing.

Shoot the five arrows in your business marketing quiver

No matter the size of your business, you have five arrows in your marketing quiver. And if you don’t use all of them, it will be difficult for people to hear about your business.

This free 25-minute webinar describes what the five arrows are and it shows you how to shoot them so that you can effectively market and promote your business.

Watch the free video today on YouTube.

Free Business Vision Webinar on YouTube

If you are a freelancer (writer or editor) or an independent practitioner, or if you are the owner of any type of small business, you should create a W5–who, what, where, when, whybusiness vision before you start to market your business.

This free 20-minute business vision webinar will show you how to create your Business Vision so you can start to market your business in a focused and effective manner.

View the webinar today on YouTube:

Drug Dealers Killing Repeat Business

Drug dealers, what are you doing? Selling your customers such bad shit that it’s killing them? Don’t you know, dead customers can’t buy more drugs from you! And that kills your repeat business.

I used to work in advertising for Radio Shack (now The Source). If you ever shopped at Radio Shack, you might remember being asked for your name and address. And then a month later you received an adverting flyer in the mail trying to entice you back into the store to buy something else. In other words, repeat business.

Imagine if you got your stereo system home, plugged it in, and it blew up and killed you… Bye-bye repeat customer because a dead customer is an ex-customer, not a repeat customer.

I mean, what if people died almost every time they ate a Big Mac? McDonald’s would be selling far fewer burgers. Instead of “billions and billions sold” the signs on their restaurants would be “well, we’ve sold a couple dozen.”

Okay, so if you eat too many Big Macs your heart will eventually explode and you will die, but not right away. In other words, McDonald’s has you as a customer for a couple of decades, before their burgers kill you. That’s how drug dealers should be thinking — killing them slowly. Like why should you care if you eventually kill them, as long as you first sell them drugs repeatedly for a couple of decades.

What you should be doing is this: Think about your business in the long term. Get rid of the killing ingredients in your drugs and keep your customers alive so they can return to you repeatedly to by more drugs. That only makes fair and proper business sense.

And hey, if you are not sure if your shit contains killing ingredients, then I have a modest proposal for you: Try the drugs first yourself. And if you are still alive after ingesting them, then you are good to go! And if you are not alive well, aren’t you glad you didn’t sell it to a client and ruin your repeat relationship?

Ontario Premier Supports Sale of Handguns

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he is against a Toronto city council-request to ban the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition within Toronto’s boundaries. “I wouldn’t support a ban on handguns,” Ford said. “There are a lot of legal, responsible handgun owners. We have to refocus all our resources going after the bad guys, not the good guys.”

The big question is this: How does Ford, an ex-drug dealer and overall idiotic schmuck, define “good” and “bad”? Should his ex-cronies who are still in the business of dealing drugs be allowed to carry loaded handguns to protect themselves from, I don’t know, the police who might want to charge them and put them in jail?

The fact is, I don’t have a problem with people collecting guns. I don’t understand it, but I don’t have a problem with it. After all, I used to collect stamps. I’m sure licking stamp glue has caused its fair share of fatalities. Just that the issue has been under reported. But pointing a stamp at someone has, as far as I know, not killed anybody–unless seeing a picture of the Queen of England has scared someone to death!

But let me back up a minute and tell you how I am actually in tune with Ford here.

What I propose is that we don’t ban handguns at all. So in that way I guess you can say that I actually agree with something that Premier Ford has said. (Will wonders ever cease?) Instead what I propose is this: We ban the sale of all ammunition. You know, the bullets that would go into the guns and that do the actual killing when shot into someone.

In that way, the gun owners who wanted to shoot their guns could hold them out, aim them at whatever target they choose, even at people, and shout, “Bang! Bang!” as they pulled the trigger, kind of like kids do. And if you need a gun with bullets well, let’s face it, you are no more than a big baby so shouting “bang!” should come naturally to you. I mean come on, whatever happened to fair fights, you know with bare knuckles? If someone has pissed you off that much, be adult about it and take them on–with your fists, not with bullets.

Guns. That’s the coward’s way out of a problem.

The fact is, if you support Ford and oppose the move to keep people in Toronto safe from bullets, you are, in my humble opinion, no more than a big baby, a bully and a coward. Oh, and an idiotic schmuck. Otherwise known as an asshole. In other words, you are a kindred spirit with Premier Ford.

Thoughts on Buck-a-Beer and Changes to Ontario’s sex ed curriculum

So Doug Ford and his Ontario Conservatives are bringing us buck-a-beer. To that I say how about buck-a-liter of milk? Or buck-a-dozen oranges. Or maybe even buck-a-box of condom, which buck-a-beer drinkers are going to need after drinking all that beer at a buck a bottle, especially if they are graduates of the Conservative new sex-education curriculum, which predates the Internet, and intimate acts of love making itself.

I believe the sex-education curriculum that the Conservatives are introducing involves giving clubs to guys and saying ‘start swinging and go at it.’ It involves what Adam and Eve studied–wear your fig leaves and keep them tied on tight to protect your naughty bits. Oh, and don’t take apples from snakes. You never know what they might really be trying to sell you…

Of course it’s ironic that Ontario’s craft brewers (they are the companies that do more than pass a bit of grain and yeast over a bucket of water and call it beer) are saying they won’t be selling buck-a-beer. In other words they won’t be lowering their beer making standards and the quality of their beer just to sell it at a buck a bottle to, let’s face it, people (as in yahoos) who voted Conservative in the last Ontario election and like to get drunk on cheap beer. And if it sounds like buck-a-beer doesn’t appeal to folks who like to drink beer with taste, the so-called ‘elite’ as it were, then so be it. They know there is more important work to be done in this province than lowering the price of beer, while the Conservatives know they are more likely to get re-elected if people are too drunk to give a shit about any of those things, which buck-a-beer will allow them to do for the next four years, until the next election.

My only hope is that they will be too drunk to remember the date of the election or, if they somehow manage to remember it, they will be too drunk on buck-a-beer to find their polling stations.

11 tips on writing bo-o-oring content

From the blog of That White Paper Guy:

You work in an interesting industry.

And you have an amazing product.

If other companies buy it, they’ll get a great ROI. Your new product might change people’s lives.

Maybe even yours.

If you do a good job promoting it, you might get named employee of the month. Pats on the back. Even a raise! If you are a freelancer, maybe you’ll win more clients!

Who needs that kind of pressure? …

Read the full blog post here: From the blog of That White Paper Guy

Reaction to “cultural appropriation prize” editorial in Write

Here is my reaction to the “cultural appropriation prize” editorial in Write, the Writers’ Union of Canada publication: If the editor hadn’t resigned, he should have been fired! And I still say that after hearing him apologize on the national CBC Radio show that follows Metro Morning in Toronto.

Whatever were you thinking? Or were you not thinking? You are entitled to your opinion, but when you work for an organization that stands for one thing, sorry, you have to support the stance. Want to take a different stance? Feel free, but resign first, not after the fact.
Do you work for the Liberal Party. Don’t think you’d get away with espousing neo-con positions.
Cultural appropriation may be hard to define, and as a straight white male if I were to write a novel and determined that it required a gay character or a character of color, I am free to put such a character in the novel. But would I ever have a main character be a person of color from ‘the hood’ in New York? That would be plain dumb and ignorant. That would be a book that nobody would want to read. It would be a book of cliches and stereotypes. And you want to give me a prize for that? … 
And to the editors who tweeted offers of money for the prize…. Shame on you. Like straight white males don’t have enough taken-for-granted privileges. In addition, we should appropriate the voice of others, and be rewarded for it?
You folks may be editors, but being an editor doesn’t mean you can’t say (write) stupid things. Really, what were you guys thinking? Nobody is calling for stifling politically correctness or the stifling of the imagination. At least I am not. But to appropriate the culture of another and to strut like a peacock for doing so? I’d say that shows a total lack or imagination. If you cannot find something imaginative in your own rather wide cultural sphere to creatively write about, then should you be writing at all… 
And to pen such an editorial in an issue of Write that was dedicated to the voices of indigenous writers… That makes it doubly shameful.
As a straight white male, I apologize for the lack of thinking and insight of other overly privileged straight white male writers. But I seem to be doing a lot of that lately, in my Honorable Men blog. It seems we  straight white men have a lot to apologize for.
But to hear what a much more deserving voice has to say on this issue, do yourself a favor and please listen to this:  Columnist Jesse Wente reacts to the appropriation prize controversy