By Ari Lewis, writing in Crain’s Cleveland Business…
As a species, we have a monopoly on collective knowledge. So engaging with a mentor or a coach is one of the best ways to become smarter. A good friend referred me to his writing coach, who lives outside the Cleveland region. Now I value a good referral, but I also value relationships — and we’ve got plenty of expertise in this region. In Cleveland, relationships remain key — over the course of the pandemic, and long after.
I wanted to become an even better writer simply to see where it would take me. I enlisted the help of Randal Doane at Cadence Editorial Services. (He works with clients in medtech and biotech, and he has a side hustle contributing to Harper’s.) Randal’s based on the west side, and his knowledge of the region and some of its key players allowed us to talk at a high level about things well beyond split infinitives and paragraph breaks. He is also knowledgeable about a range of topics, which is apparently what happens when you have a Ph.D.
• work on my social media voice, and in particular Twitter
Before connecting with Randal, I published nine essays a month: eight for my newsletter and one for Crain’s Cleveland Business. In that period, I learned quickly that quantity doesn’t equal quality.
We covered, of course, the obvious things. Make verbs active. Use the historical present. Put subheads to work, because some readers will simply scan your article. “Be honest about your own attention limits,” Randal also advised. “If it takes you 20 minutes to get into a writing head space, don’t schedule a 30 minute writing session. You’re just building frustration into your process.” Randal also taught me how to split quotes and put the speaker’s name in the middle.
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If you’re ready to take your game up a few notches, Hennes Communications offers media and presentation coaching. And we can do this virtually or in a socially-distanced manner, as you prefer. For more information, call 216-321-7774.