Construction Zone


Sorry for the silence, but Write Spot is getting a makeover!

Come check out a preview of the new site at It’s still under construction so pardon our dust. We’ll have everything cleaned out and straightened up soon.

In the meantime, check out some of the favorite archives on the new site:

Back to Basics: Writing Best Practices for Everyone and Repurposing Presentations


Everyone writes to some degrees in their jobs. You don’t have to be a technical writer or instructional designer to write in your job. Sales people write statements of work or contracts. Mangers write project plans. Executives write business plans and goals. Everyone writes thousands of emails a year.

Understanding and following writing best practices helps insure your communications are clear, concise, and consistent.

I recently gave a talk called “If you’re not a secret agent … why do you write in code?” I provided writing best practices for non-writers. I thought it would make a good refresher for those of us who do write and a good reference to provide to our colleagues who do not write. It also provided me with an opportunity to practice repurposing material that I spent time creating for a new audience.

I created the presentation using a new tool called PowToons. It took some time getting acquainted with the features, but once I did I was able to create a great presentation. Afterward, I tweaked the scripted and recorded it. Using Powtoons, I was able to load and synch the audio with my presentation and then publish it to my Vimeo account. This allowed me to open up the presentation to an entirely new audience.

Hat Tip:Brandon Hall Report


Brandon Hall’s latest survey revealed that exploring new learning technologies is the number one priority for most Learning and Development teams.

Check out the full survey for details about the survey including the types of technologies and what this survey means to you.

Canvas Strategy – Get Ahead in Your Career


Getting ahead, receiving recognition, being rewarded, climbing the ladder, making more money, gaining prestige. These are all motivators for people in the workforce, especially new people to the workforce. We believe that if we work hard and work fast with outstanding quality we will quickly rise to the top of our field. The reality is that it often takes longer than we expected. Often our hard work is not recognized or is under appreciated. This is true in the consulting world too. Often as technical writing and instructional design consultants we have to work twice as hard to get half the recognition.

Is the business world the problem or is it us?

I recently listened to a podcast that discusses the “canvas strategy.” It is a strategy used by top performers such as Benjamin Franklin and Bill Belichick. It makes you rethink the “me strategy” that most of us use in our jobs.

If you don’t have time to listen to the podcast you can read a brief explanation of the canvas strategy on Ryan Holiday’s website.

It is more than simply making others look good. The idea is to “find and make canvases for other people to paint on.” Help others to discover opportunities and eliminate distractions that hinder their focus. “The person who clears the path ultimately controls its direction, just as the canvas dictates the painting.”

I work for a technical documentation and instructional design consulting company. We believe in helping our clients not only achieve their overall business goal but also to help the client project manager or project sponsor personally look good to his/her boss. I am excited to explore ways to expand this practice and give our clients a canvas on which to paint.

Hat Tip: 7 Technical Tips for Creating Video Lectures


eLearning Brothers always have great tips and this article is no exception. It provides straight forward, easy tips for making training videos, simulations, screencast, and the like user-friendly, relevant, and professional. However, as the article points out, you can have a flashy, high-energy video, but if you do not have good content then the learning will fall flat.

Check out the 7 tips here: 7 Tips for Creating Video Lectures

Hat Tip: 7 Outstanding Leadership Lessons from the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers


I wanted to write an article about leadership this week, and then the miracle of miracles occurred – the Cleveland Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA Championship! I would not be an Ohioan if I did not tip my hat to the team that finally brought a championship home to us loyal-to-a-fault fans. Fortunately, the internet is an excellent resource and you can find pretty much anything for which you are looking. Instead of writing a post on leadership, I located an article in Forbes that discusses what we can learn about leadership from the 2016 Cavs team. Enjoy and All In!

7 Outstanding Leadership Lessons from the 2016 Cleveland Cavilers

How to Make Millennials Happy at Work


How to reach Millennials is a topic that seems to be ever present in the training and business world. In 10 years, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce, and companies are paying big money to learn how to meet the needs of this demographic.

In recent years a lot of myths and biases have developed around those born in 1980-2000. Lenny DeFranco from Grovo recently wrote an article providing insight and de-mystifying Millennials. The article, Yes, Millennials are Real. Here’s What We Want, is worth reading in its entirety, but if you just want the quick answer to what Millennials want from their employer, without fully understanding the why’s and how’s, then here you are – DeFranco’s top five ways to make Millennials happy:

  1. Help them get better.
  2. Be genuine about their success.
  3. Tell the truth.
  4. Allow personal technology.
  5. Try not to use the word millennial.

Hat Tip: 10 Must Know Features for Articulate Storyline 2


The hot eLearning development tool, Articulate Storyline, has a ton of features to make your online courses interactive and engaging. eLearning Brothers highlighted the top 10 features:

  1. Motion Paths
  2. Move Trigger
  3. Slider Interaction
  4. Object Animations
  5. Character Spacing
  6. Read-Only Seekbar
  7. Custom Bullets
  8. Hide Next Player Button Trigger
  9. Dockable Panels
  10. AutoRecovery

Get the details on these features here. Try Articulate Storyline 2 free for 14 days here.

Channel Your Inner Editor – 7 Self-Editing Tips


Not everyone is fortunate enough to have an editor to check what we write before it goes to the client or is put in front of the audience. Editing your own writing is difficult because our brains know what we intend, fill in blanks, and skip over errors.

Following are a few tips to help you edit your own writing.

  • Break your writing into three steps:
  1. Write the entire text before starting to edit so you can see the entire flow and organization.
  2. Set your text aside for a while. Don’t look at what you wrote for a few hours, a few days, or even a few weeks. If you’ve been working on a 100-page document, chances are that you will be happy to take a break from looking at it. This gets your mind to forget about the nuances of the text. You are less likely to mentally fill in missing words, correct word order, or correct spelling as you read.
  3. Return to your text with fresh eyes and edit.
  • Print the document and edit it. Most people skim when reading on the computer but read more of the words when it is on paper.
  • Run the program’s spelling and grammar editor. This will catch most errors, BUT NOT ALL.
  • Read slowly. Reading out loud also helps.
  • Never try to edit while you write. Correcting the occasional misspelling is fine, but don’t go back to reword or tweak sentences. Get your thoughts down so the text does not seem choppy or confusing.
  • Edit the entire document three times, at least. You’ll be amazed at what you miss the first two times through.
  • Most importantly, leave sufficient time to edit. We all have a tendency to write up to the deadline and then rush through the editing. Better writing comes from good editing and you need time to edit properly.

To help you on your editing journey, you can use this handy Editing Checklist. (Refer to my post Editors – A Writer’s Superhero or Archenemy for information on the levels of editing.)