The Boring Store–Chicago’s Greatest Window Signage?

Normally, I would cringe at such verbose marketing communication; however, The Boring Store’s window display in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood is fantastic. It reads:

The Boring Store is absolutely, positively, unmistakably beyond a shadow of a doubtly, certifiably, fahrenheitally, categorically, conspicuously, trans-fat-freely, quite obviously, prehensilely, indubitably, most certainly NOT A SECRET AGENT STORE.

Deliberately  coy business copy can be dicey because it can easily be  misinterpreted by the intended audience. Yet, I love this sign and think it is a perfect example of breaking the rules with purpose. Once you have read the sign, the urge to actually go in the store is nearly impossible to ignore!  Of course, a few of the spelling choices are a bit suspect, but who wants to chastise a writer wearing a fake moustache disguise?

Best of all, the Boring Store isn’t really a store at all! It is surreptitious cover for 826CHI, a non-profit organization offering  free writing tutoring for students ages six through eighteen.

(For added fun, re-read the sign to yourself using the voice of the world’s greatest secret agent–Maxwell Smart.)

 

Erin Wright is a freelance writer and editor in Chicago, Illinois. She specializes in small business content, marketing, blogs, web copy, and instructional material.

 

Just a Little Bit Off Topic: Battered Employee, the Cure for the Common Business Blog

Whether we operate from a cubical, a corner office, or a table at Starbucks, we can all feel a bit battered by organizational interactions, behaviors, norms, beliefs, and systems–also known as corporate culture.

The topic of corporate culture is a favorite talking-point for MBA students, executives, and business journalists. However, the new blog Battered Employee is turning the table on this issue by approaching it from the perspective of a real, live employee!

Follow Lisa as she navigates the funny, challenging, satisfying–and occasionally frustrating– world of work. I particularly enjoyed her recent post Einstein, the Shaving Cream and the Performance Chain, which explores business results through influencers. (Don’t worry, she explains it in a much more entertaining manner than I just did!)

But, what does a business blog have to do with technical writing and editing? Well, nearly everything! While some technical communication is created for academic purposes, the vast majority supports business and government. What we write, and how we write it, has a profound impact on everything from customer satisfaction to accident prevention.

 

Erin Wright is a freelance writer and editor in Chicago, Illinois. She specializes in small business content, marketing, blogs, web copy, and instructional material.

Totally, Absolutely, Completely Off Topic: Take a Romantic, Suspenseful Journey Down Black Creek Burning

Black Creek Burning by R.T. WolfePOST UPDATED: Book cover image updated February 10, 2013.

Buckle your seat belts and stash that red pen, we’re taking a wild ride off topic:

Are you a romance novel enthusiast? I have to admit, I am not a fan or even a casual admirer. Now, I enjoy a juicy story just as much as the next girl, but I rarely ever read romance novels because…well…let’s be honest, most of them are not written very well. Hollow dialog, cliché characters, uninspired or unbelievable narratives, and generic landscapes.

However (you knew that however was coming, didn’t you?), I can whole-heartedly recommend the new novel by R.T. Wolfe titled Black Creek Burning. Authentic dialog, genuine characters, suspenseful (but still realistic) narrative, and a beautifully-crafted landscape.

I was privileged to read Black Creek Burning early in its development and am delighted that it is now available in eBook format. If you’re not interested in eBooks, it will soon be available as a traditional book, also. So, why not warm up these chilly autumn days with a skillfully-woven romance? (And yes, it’s a little juicy, too!)

Need a little extra convincing? Watch the official Black Creek Burning trailer on YouTube! Watch Video

Visit R.T. Wolfe’s official website at rtwolfe.com.

Note: This is not a sponsored post. This is my real opinion, which I am sharing purely for the promotion of good writing, be it technical, instructional, marketing…or even fiction.

Erin Wright is a freelance writer and editor in Chicago, Illinois. She specializes in small business content, marketing, blogs, web copy, and instructional material.

Editing Tips for Very Short Documents

A Very Short DocumentIn a perfect world, we would have ample time to formally edit everything we write. From lengthy quarterly reports to casual emails, we would ensure that participles never dangle, metaphors never mix, and all misspellings are instantly vaporized. But, that’s not reality–sometimes we just have to get the message out, and fast!

So, how do we handle a very short document that needs to be delivered right away? My personal trick is to read the entire piece aloud to make sure I’ve included all of the important information. Then, I say each word twice. Why twice? The majority of my own mistakes are not actually misspellings but incorrect words or word endings  (e.g., –s, –ing, –ed), which aren’t flagged by the spellchecker. Therefore, I check overall spelling the first time and endings the second time. If you know your own writing quirks, modify this process to focus on those issues.

As I verbalize each word, I also follow along with my finger on the screen. Physically following my progress prevents me from going too fast or skipping content altogether. (However, touch your computer screen at your own risk!)

The process only requires a couple seconds per word. If you are about to send a 100-word email to a potential client, consider spending 200 seconds on typo prevention–that’s less than three and a half minutes for a little piece of mind…sorry, peace of mind!

 

Erin Wright is a freelance writer and editor in Chicago, Illinois. She specializes in small business content, marketing, blogs, web copy, and instructional material.