Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Professional Grant Proposal Writing Workshop

Check this one out...

The Grant Institute's Grants 101: Professional Grant Proposal Writing Workshop will be held at the University of North Texas , August 6 - 8, 2007. Interested development professionals, researchers, faculty, and graduate students should register as soon as possible, as demand means that seats will fill up quickly.

All participants will receive certification in professional grant writing from the Institute. For more information call (888) 824 - 4424 or visit The Grant Institute at

Please find the program description below:

The Grant Institute

Grants 101: Professional Grant Proposal Writing Workshop

will be held at the

University of North Texas

Denton, Texas

August 6 - 8, 2007

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

The Grant Institute's Grants 101 course is an intensive and detailed introduction to the process, structure, and skill of professional proposal writing. This course is characterized by its ability to act as a thorough overview, introduction, and refresher at the same time. In this course, participants will learn the entire proposal writing process and complete the course with a solid understanding of not only the ideal proposal structure, but a holistic understanding of the essential factors, which determine whether or not a program gets funded. Through the completion of interactive exercises and activities, participants will complement expert lectures by putting proven techniques into practice. This course is designed for both the beginner looking for a thorough introduction and the intermediate looking for a refresher course that will strengthen their grant acquisition skills. This class, simply put, is designed to get results by creating professional grant proposal writers.

Participants will become competent program planning and proposal writing professionals after successful completion of the Grants 101 course. In three active and informative days, students will be exposed to the art of successful grant writing practices, and led on a journey that ends with a masterful grant proposal.


$597.00 tuition includes all materials and certificates.

Each student will receive:

*The Grant Institute Certificate in Professional Grant Writing

*The Grant Institute's Guide to Successful Grant Writing

*The Grant Institute Grant Writer's Workbook with sample proposals, forms, and outlines

Registration Methods

1) On-Line - Complete the online registration form at under Register Now. We'll send your confirmation by e-mail.

2) By Phone - Call (888) 824 - 4424 to register by phone. Our friendly Program Coordinators will be happy to assist you and answer your questions.

3) By E-mail - Send an e-mail with your name, organization, and basic contact information to and we will reserve your slot and send your Confirmation Packet.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Product Research and Effective Copywriting

By Laurence James (Guest blogger)

Most people who write for a living will tell you getting it right takes about 10% actual writing time and 90% research. Knowing what to write before you write it, and to whom, might sound like an obvious place to start, but when you're under pressure to meet a business writing deadline, the obvious can go out of the window. It shouldn't though, because even when you're up against the clock, the whole process of writing your content will become easier if you put the pen down, sit back from the keyboard, and consider it first.

"An important first task when you are planning a piece of written work is to think carefully about its purpose." (1). Start by identifying your reader, bearing in mind these three simple questions:

  • Who are my readers?
  • Will they read this?
  • What value is being created? (2)

If, for example, your brief is to write a 1000 word ‘business to consumer' brochure on a new range of motorized mobility scooters – the language, tone and style of your piece should not be targeted towards the youth audience. Sounds too obvious? Look in any newspaper, magazine or at any website, and you'll soon find countless examples of advertisements for products that seem to be incongruously addressing a completely irrelevant market. This accounts for the irritation or amusement you feel when viewing a TV advert not aimed at you. When this happens, the audience feels disconnected straight away, and the intended message of the content falls between the cracks. It's one of the biggest reasons sales copy and adverts fail.

In our example, after you've identified your main ‘mobility scooter' readership as senior citizens, you then have a very compelling reason why they will want to read about your new products. But it's a competitive market and the scooters won't sell themselves. So the next part of the process is to ask yourself, ‘What's in it for my intended readers – what benefits will our products give these readers over and above those of our competitors – and how do I communicate this to them in a language they will appreciate?'

Consider benefits, not just features

This is when the ‘analysis' stage of the research process kicks in – when you go back to your product and set out all the features it offers your target reader, listing the corresponding benefits. Think about everything your product can do, and how this will help the reader – how this will create value for them within the content you are about to write.

If at this stage you need to clarify certain product features or specifications, or identify more generalized subject matter that reinforces your point – go onto the Internet and Google your key topics, read up on relevant details that will put your claims into an authoritative context. Imagine yourself in the mindset of your target reader, and search for examples of similar products directed at them. Note the language used to talk to them, and consider what works and what doesn't in terms of tone.

The more detailed your research at this stage, the more rounded and effective your writing will be. You might think you're collecting superfluous details, but when it comes to actually writing your content, you'll find you're already a ‘mini expert' on the subject, and can cherry pick the best facts, stats and juicy pieces of information to back up your message.

The final stage of your research should take the form of collating your rough notes into a definitive structure. This structure will depend on the media in which your content will be published - for example, writing for the Web is very different than writing a sales letter or brochure – but if your research is sound you'll put yourself on a solid footing for actually structuring and writing effective content.


1. Prof. Gail Huon, The University of New South Wales, Writing Workshop, 2006
2. Gerry McGovern and Rob Norton, ‘Content Critical', Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2002

An English graduate from the University of Birmingham and professionally trained journalist at postgraduate level, Laurence James has been copywriting for over ten years. A Member of The Institute of Direct Marketing, he is also founder of The Copy Box. Article Source here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Medical Writing Network

I've been receiving emails asking me how to get a medical writing job or how to get connected with other medical writers. Someone even sent me a CV this week.

Well, I can't offer anyone a job but it occurred to me that I could do something else. I just finished setting up the Web site for the Medical Writing Network (MWN), the online community for medical and health writers.

Check out the site and join the network (it's free). As a member, you can participate in the forum discussions, create special interest groups (editing, regulatory, etc.), and even share photos and videos (a conference recording, for example).

You can also add or look for medical writing job opportunities in the 'Jobs' group.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Quality of Consumer Health Writing Today

A couple of days ago I started a thread on a medical writing "Yahoo! group" about consumer health writing. Here's my original message:

"I've noticed that most of the issues dealt with in this group are
related to clinical writing.

Although working in/for industry may pay better, consumer health
writing is still an important aspect of medical writing that we should
not ignore.

My perception is that most health-related articles in the media today
are written by non-specialized freelancers who hop from topic to topic
and who only write about weight loss and alternative medicine.

What do you think?"

One of the problems with consumer health writing today is poor research. Back in grad school my mentor insisted on going to the scientific literature first and interviewing the experts (not just one, but several).

Have you read a health-related article on a newspaper that quotes the same guy every other paragraph and the rest are indirect quotes? I have seen tons of those.

Or what about the health sections in some magazines that look like a copy-paste text from WebMD?

Okay, enough with my rambling. There are still some good health writers/reporters out there like Anita Manning (USA Today) and Larry Altman (New York Times).

For the rest of us, we should read and reread books like News & Numbers: A guide to reporting statistical claims and controversies in health and other fields by the late Victor Cohn and Lewis Cope, or the Health Writer's Handbook by Barbara Gastel.

As professional medical writers we should apply the same quality standards to consumer health articles than we apply to clinical writing. We owe it to our readers.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Proofreading your Writing is Not Optional

By Mary Menke (Guest blogger)

So you've finished that rush document and you're ready to send it on its way. You've done your research and double-checked your facts. You've made sure your document is readable by leaving lots of white space top, bottom, left and right margins to make it more visually appealing to the reader.

Sure, you know you should proofread it, but the client is waiting it's a rush job, after all they'll understand if there are a couple of typos or misspelled words, right? Maybe they will and maybe they won't. Maybe they'll accept it this time, but when it's time to award contracts, they'll think twice about working with a company that does less-than-perfect work. Are you more important, is your company willing to take that chance?

Don’t make the mistake of thinking of proofreading as an “extra” step. It’s not optional; it’s mandatory. Proofreading should be the final step in writing any document, whether it’s a 50-page report or a 100-word email. If you send a memo (an internal document) with mistakes, you risk damaging your credibility; if you send a document with errors to those outside your company, you damage your company’s credibility as well.

Here are some proofreading guidelines:

  • Don’t rely on Spell Check. Spell Check is okay as a first resort, but not as a last resort. Spell Check only knows if a word is a word; it doesn’t distinguish between words that sound alike, but have different meanings; i.e., “there, their, they’re”; “its, it’s”; “one, won.”

  • Take a break between writing and proofreading. Proofread with "fresh eyes." If you have the luxury of time, wait 24 hours after you’ve written the document before proofreading. Most of us don’t have that luxury, but waiting even 20 minutes before proofing a document is helpful.

  • Always proofread a hard copy. Never try to proofread on your computer screen—when you proofread on the screen, you see what you meant to write. This advice holds for when you’re proofreading other writers’ documents as well. You’re more likely to see mistakes when proofing a hard copy.

  • Proofread away from your work space. When you proofread in the same place you have written the document, you are inclined to make the correction as soon as you find the mistake. This will slow you down.

  • Always proofread aloud. When you read aloud, you will see mistakes you might overlook while reading silently.

  • Get a second pair of eyes to proofread, especially complex documents or documents that will be read by people outside your company. It's easier to find others' mistakes than our own.

It goes without saying that you want everything you write to reflect well upon you and your company. Now proof it!

MARY WARD MENKE is owner and president of WordAbilities LLC, a writing and editing services company. Visit their website, Article Source here.