How to Write Both Fast & Well, Part 3: The One Point Rule

Message box

(Also published at Huffington Post.) In any one communication, you can only make one point.

Count on people forgetting everything else. That's because our minds throw away almost all new information -- by necessity, since we wouldn't be able to tote brains big enough to store a day's worth. Even the seven digits of a (US) phone number are hard to learn, requiring that we repeat them over and over to get them out of short term memory and into the long term version.*

This is why a good angle -- a simple, emotionally compelling idea -- is so important: if people are only going to remember one thing (and they are), you want it to be the right thing.

How to Write Both Fast & Well, Part 2: Know What the Heck You Mean

Cloud-shaped thought bubble containing question marks

(Also published at Huffington Post.) Last time, I introduced the power of a good angle for both speeding and improving your writing. Today I'll go into more detail on how choose that angle. The most important question to ask yourself is the simplest: "What the heck am I actually trying to say?" As, it happens, this also is one of the hardest questions. That's because: (1) You must truly understand your subject. That means work, and (2) You must commit to an idea that may turn out to be wrong or unpopular. That means risk.

Creating Content Driving You Crazy? Here’s How to Write Both Fast and Well (Pt 1)

Stressed-out woman on couch with laptop

(Also published at Huffington Post.) Compared to our pre-digital forebears, we're expected to produce torrents of writing: emails, text messages, blog posts, social media, presentations.

That's because publishing all that stuff is easier than ever. The trouble is, the actual writing isn't -- especially if you care about quality.

"Easy reading is damn hard writing," as Nathaniel Hawthorne said.

So how to write both fast and well?

Inspiration on the Fly


Here's a great new tool for us creatives - Palettab - available as a Chrome extension. It works like this: Everytime you open a new tab in Chrome,  a new combination of color palette and fonts appears in the browser window. If you see a color you like, simply click, and the hex number is copied to your clipboard. All the fonts are available via Google fonts. Simple to install, really easy use, find it here: Palettab

How to get a designer's best work for a logo, website, ad - anything


A long time ago, I had to learn from scratch how to manage visual designers, after having started out as a composer and audio producer, with no training in graphic arts -- back then I thought of it as "the blind leading the deaf."

Luckily, I found that most of the skills I'd developed while working with sound carried over to other disciplines, too. There's one skill above all that I believe managers need to master in order to get the best work from a designer or any creative professional:

Talk about why, not how.

Leadership Lessons from Obama for America's COO

Spencer Critchley

Last week I was in Washington, DC for a couple of days, connecting with old political friends -- and one new one. The new one turned out to have some very interesting things to say about leadership, from a unique perspective: playing a key role in assembling Barack Obama's first presidential campaign (this is not to say that the old friends weren't very interesting, too).

While Henry DeSio was serving as the Chief Operating Officer of Obama For America 2008, I was on the ground working on communications teams in battleground states. I never met him back then, but I'm glad I have now. He's working on a book about his experiences, and the lessons that can be drawn from them.


Subscribe to Dastardly Cleverness in the Service of Good RSS