Writing for Business and Pleasure          
  Copyright by Stephen Wilbers


Home       Contents       Seminars       Email courses       Books       Weekly columns




























































































What’s New


          Weekly posts:    
Weekly tip     Weekly error     Weekly word     Weekly poem

          Monthly posts:    Column of the month

Recent posts

October 2014:
posted on using five elements of effective writing to evaluate your effectiveness 

September 2014:
Column posted on

Twenty-nine errors, with explanations and exercises, from "Weird Al" Yankovic's music video
"Word Crimes"  posted

August 2014:
Price reduced from $129 to $99 for
Better Style in 10 Weeks

Column posted on subject-verb agreement

Columns on apostrophes do's and don'ts posted:
Using apostrophes correctly
"Scholars (sic) Walk" at the University of Minnesota

June 2014:
Column posted on active/passive voice

May 2014:
New offering:
"Techniques for Writers, Both Creative and Professional," a benefit workshop for the Loft Literary Center featuring some of the 52 stylistic techniques in my new book, Mastering the Craft of Writing: How to Write with Clarity, Emphasis, and Style

Description posted of my writing handbook/novel, A Grammatical Affair, which I'm now submitting to publishers

Columns on "Technology's influrence on reading, writing, and thinking" posted

Link posted to my article, "Lake Wobegon: Mythical Place and the American Imagination"

April 2014:
Spelling compound words with or without hyphens updated

November 2013:
Exercises on using the active voice and developing a more active writing style

August 2013:
Column on closings:
"It's okay for editors to be fussy and writers to be touchy"

June 2013:
A third column on editing & revising:
"Use five techniques of style to revise"

Two more columns on paragraphing:
"Structuring your paragraphs so that the reader gets the point"
"Use paragraphs for four Cs: clarity, coherence, control, & credibility"

April 2013:
Column on answers to readers' queries

March 2013:
Column on
writing essay test questions under time limit

February 2013:
Grant proposal writing page updated

January 2013:
Column on
hyphen rules

December 2012:
A second column on clichés:
"Clichés: Should we avoid them like the plague?"

November 2012:
Column comparing written and oral presentation skills:
   "Writing and public speaking require different skills"

Column on developing stylistic technique through imitation:
"To improve your writing, read (and copy) good writers"

Column on angry letters:
   "Angry letters are risky but sometimes necessary"

Vogue words PowerPoint exercise

October 2012:
"Writing with Style," an email course, posted on Contents page

Columns on writing college application essays

Column on numbers usage:
   "Four (4) rules for using numbers correctly"

Column on capitalization rules:
"Capitalization rules will bring order to the chaos"

Columns on editing & revising techniques:
"If you're editing only on screen, you're missing the big picture"
   "Keep a scrap file when winnowing down to a specified length"

September 2012:
Reading & book signing notices:
 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, October 2, Magers & Quinn
   7:00 p.m., Wednesday, December 12, Birchbark Books and Native Arts

Column on paragraphing:
"Write in sentences, but think in paragraphs"

Column on figurative language and clichés:
"Metaphors are fine, but avoid clichés like the plague"

Columns on how to be a good critic and how to offer criticism without causing offense:
   "How to be a good critic to those who write for you"
   "Reduce conflict in editing relationships"

Columns on texting & language:
"Even in the age of texting, handwriting has its place"
   "Standards of good writing evolve with changing technologies"
   "Communication becomes less nuanced with new technologies

August 2012:
New book:
Canoeing the Boundary Waters Wilderness: A Sawbill Log
(My second Boundary Waters book continues the story of the challenges, dangers, and rewards of wilderness canoeing.)

Column: Habits of writing, seven (in honor of Stephen Covey, 1932-2012)

July 2012:
Don't be a netcompoop

Column: PR letters can create good customer relations

June 2012:
New feature:
English for Chinese business writers, tour guides, and diplomats

Choose your closings with an eye -- and an ear -- to relationship

March 2012:
Notice of forthcoming publication:
Canoeing the Boundary Waters Wilderness: A Sawbill Log

December 2011:
Column: Progress reports noticed when things go wrong

July 2011:
My new book,
A Boundary Waters History: Canoeing Across Time, published

May 2011:
Declining moose population numbers on Boundary Waters Chronology

April 2011:
Column: Use precise vocabulary to avoid cliches and wordiness

March 2011:
Column: Use correspondence to build relationships

November 2010:
Updated error checklist

Column  on Rogerian persuasion

October 2010:
Columns  on word choice & confusing word pairs

September 2010:
Another column on nonrestrictive commas

Story about the Minnesota Association of Government Communicators' enthusiastic response to my summer writing workshops

August 2010:
Column on
job applications & self-appraisals

Column on elegance & beauty in writing: The Elegance of the Hedgehog

July 2010:
Column on how to write effective

Column on writing in the first person

June 2010:
Column on letters to the editor

Another column on sales letters & proposals

May 2010:
Column on news releases

Column on three perfect gifts for June graduates

Column on texting

Column on letters of resignation

Reduced prices for multiple registrations for two email courses, “Better Writing in Six Weeks” and “Writing with Style

Column on mission statements

April 2010:
Take the Grammar, Proofreading, Punctuation, and Word Choice Challenges.

Column on skydiving & nonrestrictive commas

Column related to Alzheimer's story

March 2010:
Column  on storytelling

February 2010:
Get a free e-book of my collected columns with your six-month subscription to my
weekly columns

December 2009:
Price for my 10-week email course,
“Writing with Style, reduced from $149 to $129

October 2009:
This Northern Nonsense, my new collection of 18 poems on Ernest Oberholtzer and Mallard Island, is now available

New resources -- Managerial communication, Persuasive writing, Persuasive writing: Using logos, pathos, and ethos, Policies & procedures, Proofreading, Proofreading electronically produced text, Rogerian persuasion, Rules of evidence, How to say no, Style & personality: A checklist, Technical writing & technical writers, Writer’s block

September 2009:
Column on daily words for building workplace vocabulary linked to Lynell's vocabulary list

August 2009:
A new feature!
Writing for Publication: guest articles by Scott Edelstein

May 2009:
800th column celebration / Loft benefit on May 27

April 2009:
Three columns on collaborative writing

March 2009:
Price reduced from $11.75 to $5.35 on the newly released e-book edition of my second collection of columns, Writing with Wilbers

Online learning opportunities

Excerpt from my novel in progress, A Grammatical Affair: A Romance with Language

Column  on the use, and over-use, of prepositions

February 2009:
New email course, Better Style in 10 Weeks

PowerPoint exercises republished as PDF files so that they now can be accessed by Mac and Mozilla users

Writing by Wilbers, my second collection of columns, now available as an e-book

Guidelines on when to use who or whom

October 2008:
Bookmarks added to legal writing columns

Three columns on subject-verb agreement

September 2008:
Column on how to make your newsletter worth your reader's time (bottom of page)

Column on how to use quotations to enliven your newsletter articles






May 12, 2008:
Alzheimer's & Mom: "Dancing in Avalon," a story

April 2008:
In memory of three beloved Minnesota authors (click and scroll down)

Nature's Gallery, photos from poet John Caddy, downloadable for use as wallpaper, updated weekly

Compound words: Spelling with or without hyphens updated

March 2008:
Column on "went missing" and other annoying phrases

January 2008:
An invitation  on my Boundary Waters Chronology to support the Oberholtzer Foundation

Column on the misuse and overuse of "got"

December 2007:
Columns on apology and customer relations letters

November 2007:
Boundary Waters Chronology updated with information on the 2006 Cavity Lake, Famine Lake, and Redeye Lake fires; on the 2007 Ham Lake fire; and on the August rampage by the "Ely Six"

Column on eliminating wordiness

October 2007:
Column on knowing your dashes from your hyphens

Column on the do's and don'ts for using email effectively

September 2007:
Teachers: A tribute

August 2007:
Minneapolis Bridge Collapse: Reflections

May 2007:
New column  below vocabulary-building exercises

March 2007:
Notice of paperback release of my book,
Keys to Great Writing

January 2007:
Columns on how to write thank-you letters

October 2006:
David Mura on libraries, including two poems, presented at the September 18 celebration held at the Minneapolis Central Library

September 2006:
Poem for Dale Schatzlein in memory of my friend of 25 years who died unexpectedly on August 31, 2006

August 2006:
More advice about how to write a
complaint letter, as well as another column on legal writing

Ernest Oberholtzer's classic 1934 complaint letter

July 2006:
numbers usage exercise

March 2006:
Boundary Waters History updated with information regarding the August 2005 Alpine Lake fire, the largest fire in the Boundary Waters in the past 10 years, and with statistics representing a dramatic increase in the number of emergency incidents in 2005.

January 2006:
Writing assessment: 15-point quiz (PowerPoint)

November 2005:
Salutations: FAQ updated with guidelines for addressing married couples when one person has a professional title and the other does not, as in Dear Dr. and Mr. Smith

PowerPoint exercises from my writing workshops on word choice, common errors, dangling modifiers, hyphens in unit modifiers, and numbers usage

October 2005:
New column on deadlines

My weekly column distributed by email now available on a six-month subscription basis

August 2005:
PowerPoint presentation on when to use nonrestrictive commas

July 2005:
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness history updated with information about outdoor adventurer Lloyd Skelton's disappearance

May 2005:
Link to Mary Alice Hansen's newly published Boundary Waters book, Sawbill History and Tales

New gray wolf population figures added to Boundary Waters Chronology

April 2005:
Weekly poem, Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry” column

Link to the Ernest Oberholtzer webpage

Links to amazon.com added to Recommend Reading & Resources

Web Style Guide link

March 2005:
Word choice errors, as identified by the pickiest wordsmiths of the Minneapolis Star Tribune (an exercise)

This Northern Nonsense: The Life of Ernest Oberholtzer in Verse (book in progress)

February 2005:
The Grammar of our Desire: A Romance with Language (book in progress)

Link to Parallel structure

January 2005:
Style: Monthly tips by email link added

Dictionaries added to Contents page

December 2004:
PowerPoint presentation on Oral Presentation Skills

New columns delivered weekly to your inbox

Article about my teaching in the Center for the Development of Technological Leadership

How to write application letters

Boundary Waters Chronology updated with information regarding the black bear population and the four recorded incidents of bears attacking humans in Minnesota

Index to syndicated columns updated to include most recent columns

October 2004:
The story of winning academic acceptance for American Sign Language (ASL)

Take the Proofreading Challenge: A fun proofreading exercise

September 2004:
Weekly columns delivered to your inbox

Take the Grammar Challenge: An assessment linked to an Error Checklist

Error Checklist

Take the Punctuation Challenge: An assessment linked to an Error Checklist

August 2004:
Writers Free Reference added to Links to online writing resources

PowerPoint:  How to use, a column identifying the do's and don'ts of effective PowerPoint presentations

Workshop Review: PowerPoint Presentation for participants in my writing workshops and seminars

"In Search of a Whole, Live Moose," a story, originally published in 1988, about my son's first canoe trip in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness

Boundary Waters Chronology for nature writers

Link to Resources and recommended reading

December 2003:
Advice on how to write an effective résumé

November 2003:
New winner of the Golden Pen Award

October 2003:
New link to
The Loft Literary Center (Minneapolis): Programs and services for writers.  See other links to online resources for writers

May 2003:
Sixth Golden Pen Award

March 2003
A second copyediting exercise, based on an
M.O.T. Final Exam

College Board Review article, the article that got me started as a writing consultant

February 2003:
Third column, "The do's and dont's of saying thank you,"  under Thank-you letters

January 2003:
Second column  under Thank-you letters

Columns on "Email: Do's and Don'ts"

New review of my book
Keys to Great Writing

January 2003:
Link added to William Sabin's The Gregg Reference Manual, a guide widely used by on-the-job writers. Also, see Links to online writing resources.

Additional columns on these topics: 

Grant proposal writing

Legal writing

Sales letters & proposals

A copyediting exercise, based on an M.B.A. Final Exam