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Copyright by Stephen Wilbers, Ph.D.



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About the Author

Contact Stephen Wilbers at wilbe004@umn.edu.





monthly writing tips


Email courses
Better Writing in Six Weeks
Better Editing in 10 Weeks


20-point plan for better writing


If you miss seeing my column in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, you can read previously published columns here or here.

Writing tips & exericses
olumns, advice, and exercises on topics ranging from
annoying phrases to punctuation, salutations, wordiness, and writer’s block


English language skills
Take the grammar, proofreading, punctuation, and word choice challenges.

Plain English

Vocabulary words you should know

Book recommendations


Books by Stephen Wilbers















Stephen Wilbers is a keynote speaker, speech coach, and award-winning author. He has offered training seminars in effective writing to more than 10,000 creative, business, technical, legal, and academic writers.

His clients include Mayo Clinic, Medtronic, 3M, Xcel, the Metropolitan Airports Commission, the Metropolitan Council, U.S. Bank, AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Cargill, Mortenson, Ryan Companies, Thomson Reuters, the Wilder Foundation, the Bush Foundation, Fredrikson & Byron, Dorsey & Whitney, the Minnesota State Bar Association, the Pennsylvania Bar Institute, and the Oregon State Bar Association.

His 1,000 columns on effective writing have appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country, including the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

His books include Mastering the Craft of Writing: How to Write with Clarity, Emphasis, and Style, a compilation of 52 writing techniques drawn from his free monthly writing tips. His earlier book on writing techniques, Keys to Great Writing: Mastering the Elements of Composition and Revision, has been described as "a writing class in a book." His revised and expanded edition of Keys to Great Writing features an introduction by Faith Sullivan and new writing exercises.

His doctoral dissertation, a history of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, was published by the University of Iowa Press. In addition, he has published two collections of columns, Writing for Business (winner of a 1994 Minnesota Book Award) and Writing by Wilbers.

He has also written three books about northern Minnesota's Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This Northern Nonsense: Ernest Oberholtzer and Mallard Island, published by Red Dragonfly Press, is a chapbook of poems about the legacy of the preservationist who helped save the Boundary Waters from development. A Boundary Waters History: Canoeing across Time depicts efforts to preserve a remarkable wilderness on Minnesota’s northern border while telling the story of canoeing for nearly 30 years with his father. Canoeing the Boundary Waters Wilderness: A Sawbill Log continues the story of the challenges, dangers, and rewards of wilderness canoeing.

His current writing projects include Managerial Communication for Technological Leaders: Persuasive Writing and Speaking (a textbook); The Columnist Who Wouldn't Go Away (selections from 1,000 columns); These Northern Waters (poems about Ernest Oberholtzer and the wilderness experience); and Who Knows Why the Redbird Sleeps in the Snow: A Grammatical Affair!? (a wildly romantic love story about language, passion, choices, and memory that is part novel, memoir, and poetry); as well as "Lake Street Runner" (a story to be published this summer in a collection by Flexible Press).

Since 1998 he has taught both written and oral presentation skills in the University of Minnesota's Technological Leadership Institute (formerly the Center for the Development of Technological Leadership). He has also taught in the Carlson School of Management’s M.B.A. Program, the Program in American Studies, and the Program in Creative and Professional Writing. In 1995 he won an Outstanding Faculty Award in Hamline University’s Graduate Public Administration Program.

Dr. Wilbers earned his B.A. at Vanderbilt University and his M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. He spent his junior year abroad in Aix-en-Provence, and he was a Visiting Fulbright Fellow at the University of Essex in Colchester, England. He directed the University of Iowa’s first campus-wide advising program, which he helped plan and establish. At the University of Minnesota he directed student academic support services in the College of Liberal Arts, where he led the effort to recognize American Sign Language as “a complete and natural language.” He also served both as associate director and as acting director of the Program in Creative and Professional writing.

An avid reader, canoeist, cyclist, Nordic ski racer, opera lover, pianist, and two-time skydiver, he was born in Cincinnati. He lives in Minneapolis, where he served on the Loft Literary Center’s board of directors from 2003 to 2009 and as board chair from 2007 to 2009. He and wife Debbie have two children and two grandchildren.

For additional information, see his résumé.


Books by Stephen Wilbers

Contact Stephen Wilbers at wilbe004@umn.edu.



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