Seth Godin’s Top Tips for Freelancers

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When Brian Clark started his first business in 1998, it turns out he did a lot of things right. It wasn’t until May of 1999 when Brian read a book called Permission Marketing that he realized what he was missing, which led to his first successful business.

Since that time, Seth Godin has written several other marketing classics. In a wonderful twist of fate (given his influence on Brian), he’s even mentioned Brian in a couple of them.

In short, when Seth has something to say, Brian is listening. Earlier this year, Seth created a course for unemployable types, specifically freelancers. So, it seems like a natural thing to bring Mr. Godin on Unemployable as Brian’s second special guest.

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How to Use a Comma

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On this episode of Editor-in-Chief, host Stefanie Flaxman continues her Editorial Standards series with a lesson about correct comma usage.

Commas are often underused or overused. Do you know how to implement the right balance in your writing?

When punctuation marks are used correctly, readers take them for granted — they are merely symbols that seamlessly guide readers through your text.

And there are consequences when punctuation marks are used incorrectly.

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A Creative Email Trick for Becoming a Plain Spoken Writer

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Writing is weird. Unlike speaking, it’s not something we do naturally. And unless we train ourselves out of it, that weirdness renders some creative, but wooden and dense prose.

Speaking is a natural act. Every single human being has the ability to do it. And at a very young age. The reason why, says cognitive scientist and linguist Stephen Pinker, is because we have a language instinct.

We master this instinct as we imitate sounds made by mom and dad, brother and sister, nana and popo.

Soon we are forming one word sentences, then two and three words sentences, and, at around age two, we are demanding to put our seat belts on ourselves while “you worry about yourself.”

Writing, however, is another story.

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How to Become an Exceptional Writer

4 ways to become an outstanding writer

A man and boy sit in an old house crowded with furniture, sunlight, and dust.

A guitar rests on the boy’s knee. Tiny fingers grip and pluck the strings. The man is nodding, rocking as the boy plays.

The man is Jack White — of The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, and The Dead Weather fame. The boy is his son. This scene is part of the documentary It Might Get Loud.

As Jack White teaches his son to play guitar, he says:

You have to fight the guitar … And you have to win.

That’s an incredible piece of advice for playing guitar. And it’s some of the best writing advice … ever.

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The Clear-Copy Rule of Writing for the Web

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“So many English teachers shoved complex sentences down my throat that now a simple sentence almost makes my skin crawl.”

That’s Tim Biden, during a Twitter conversation about writing for the web.

He was responding to a tweet Rough Draft host Demian Farnworth shared with a link to his first Copyblogger post: “The Disgustingly Simple Rule for Web Writing That’s Often Hard to Swallow.”

Tim retweeted the link and said, “I hate that he’s right.”

Clueless, as usual, about anything not immediately in front of him, Demian asked, “Why you hate?”

Then Tim dropped that heavy-weight comment above.

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8 Signs of Weak Writing that Turn Off Readers

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What makes writing “weak,” and are you able to identify the specific aspects of your writing that are weak?

Writers can be hard on themselves. They may think everything they write is lousy. But “lousy” is a vague word — and that general self-judgment doesn’t help you move beyond “lousy” writing.

Check out these eight specific signs of weak writing and how to strengthen each one.

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