Essential web writing advice.Subscribe Now

Want to Sweep Away Skepticism? Demonstrate Your Product

The first mention of an elevator is thought to be around 236 A.D. It was nearly seventeen hundred years later before the first working models were actually installed (in English and French palaces, no less). There was just one problem. If the lift … [Read more]

Atlantic Writer Misses What Makes Twitter Truly Great: Social Proof

Last Monday Derek Thompson (senior editor at The Atlantic) missed a wonderful opportunity to talk about one of the things that makes Twitter truly great. Let me give you some context. Less than three weeks after deleting the Twitter app from … [Read more]

Scared You Aren’t Good Enough to Start a Blog? Read This Short Parable

Lying on his back, blinking the blood out of his eyes, the king watched a red kite reel in the sky. The scent of pine and old snow in the air. He rolled onto his stomach, pushed himself to his feet. He touched his left eye. It was gone. He … [Read more]

Take Charge of a Big Project with the 24 in 24 Rule

Floss just one tooth every day. That's not a big commitment. But it is what dentists tell people who have trouble remembering (or feel overwhelmed) when it comes to flossing. Sounds lame, actually. Flossing isn't laborious. Pull out a … [Read more]

Writing Landing Page Copy? Do This

Last Friday I participated in Page Fights: Copy Edition. Covered a lot of material critiquing ten landing pages in under 40 minutes. And would sum everything I said in this simple statement: Your landing page copy is nothing more than a … [Read more]

The Zen of Workaholics

I have a new work hero. He was the man who turned La Hoffman-Roche into a pharmaceutical giant. Who held 241 patents. Who's credited with discovering benzodiazepines, the main class of tranquilizers. If you are still lost, think … [Read more]

Writing Improves Everything (Another Absurd Claim)

You are the hack who butchers your ideas. It's okay. That's true for everyone. We butcher our ideas when we commit them to paper or hit publish. But it must be done. Otherwise we freeze. And never write. We fear the botched performance. The … [Read more]

How to Write a Brilliant Long Sentence

Our world is full of useful guidelines on how to write for the web. Sensible, everyday guidelines. But, over time, we morph those guidelines into laws. Unbreakable rules that spoil the fun. Sour the adventure. Take writing short sentences, for … [Read more]

How to Recognize and Prevent the Curse of Knowledge

At 4:00 a.m. Wednesday, March 28, 1979, plant operators at the Three Mile Island facility set into motion the worst nuclear accident in U.S. history. And it all started with a minor malfunction exacerbated by human error. Here's how the Wikipedia … [Read more]

A Creative Trick for Mastering the Art of Conversational Writing

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 … [Read more]