Tag Archives: writing

From Taxes to Infinity: A Writer’s Epiphany In A World of Numbers

taxes, writing

Writing about taxes has made me feel stronger.

In four months of working in the realm of taxes and tax returns, I learned one startling certainty about myself: I can be curious about anything.

If my curiosity can be piqued or even subtly provoked by matters of RRSPs, investments, capital gains, tax deductions, the Canada Revenue Agency and the electronic filing of tax returns, it’s possible that I could be curious about an astoundingly wide range of subjects: perhaps denture adhesives, nail polish removal tactics, residential rodent removal and practical uses for dryer lint.

If I can turn a day of research into an informative article on how to claim your dependents on your tax return, I may have to search deeper inside myself for other hidden talents, such as latent aptitudes for soft tissue massage or lathe operation.

If I can elevate my mind and spirit into a singular force that can teach you about completing your tax return – once you summon the patience to absorb the information – I might be able to lead an unruly group of underachieving teenagers to excel on their EQAO exams. Forget that I never even fleetingly considered going into teaching. This revelation has opened up new fields of consideration. Continue reading

I Sell Sincerity, Just Like John Wayne

This is the John Wayne I remember

This is the John Wayne I remember

I’m not necessarily a fan of John Wayne but we do have something in common, besides our shared tallness. We both sell sincerity, in droves. He still sells it, from the great beyond, with a no nonsense tough guy reputation that resonates 35 years after his passing. As for me, I’m doing my damnedest to sell it here on Mother Earth.

Before we go any further, here is Wayne’s sincerity quote: “In my acting, I have to identify with something in the character. The big tough boy on the side of right – that’s me. Simple themes. Same me from the nuances. All I do is sell sincerity and I’ve been selling the hell out of that ever since I started.” — Time Magazine, June 1967

Consider another of his quotes: “Talk low, talk slow, and don’t say too much.” It seems clear that he would have hated social media. But he had his talents to sell and a place to sell them, and I have mine. Continue reading

Revise Revise vs. Get It Out There

The desire to revise is the key to clarity

The desire to revise carefully is the key to clear communication.

I advise you to revise if you ache to be great

In an online world of daily and often by-the-minute production and publication, I am the novelist-at-heart who wants to produce only his best work and not let it be seen until it is utterly revised.

“But you have to get it out there: market it and spread the word,” the blogger in me beseeches. There is much daily infighting between him and the novelist.

“You can’t sell what the world doesn’t see repeatedly,” echo the voices of countless sale people I’ve met at networking events.

The retort comes quickly.

“If it’s not been carefully moulded and diligently reworked, it can’t be much good and shouldn’t be exposed to the light of day until such editing has occurred,” ring the voices of discontent from the writing workshop I attended with religious regularity in my 20s.

Continue reading

The Extroverted Writer: Me

beach, van wagner's beach, lake, lake ontario, walk

The extroverted writer gets some outdoor time.

My mom and dad have two friends that used to work in the steel mills of Hamilton by day and attend the symphony or opera by night. Now both of these fine men are retired and they have more time to enjoy the performances.

Getting dressed up and going to the downtown concert hall for a recital is part of their Eastern European upbringing and is a perfectly natural thing for them. When you see these elegantly coiffed gentlemen in their fine threads, it would never occur to you that they once toiled in the steel mills. The two parts of their lives are in direct contrast to each other.

I often think of my life in somewhat the same way. I’m an extroverted writer and sometimes I spend all day with my head buried in my computer, typing feverishly. At times like this, I’m contemplating the deeper truths of humanity and that sort of nonsense. Either that, or I’m trying hard to think of something silly and fun to say that will catch the attention of my Facebook friends. My thoughts run both ways: ardently serious and extremely silly. Continue reading

How a Business Blog Eases Information Pain

Chiropractic association blog is painlessly effective

The Canadian Chiropractic Association (CCA) has one of my favourite websites. I like it because it’s simple yet stylish, well laid-out with large feature images and buttons, the text is easy to read and the drop-down menus are well arranged. And, the site has a comprehensive and regularly updated blog that reaches out to potential clients and offers a solution to their problems.

The blog page of the Canadian Chiropractic Association

The blog page of the Canadian Chiropractic Association

The CCA is responsible for giving chiropractic care a good name in Canada and advocating for its member practitioners. They know that one of the most effective ways to accomplish this is to educate people about the value of chiropractic care and offer a convincing case for its inclusion in every Canadian’s healthcare regimen. Point in case is their November 12, 2014 post – The Future of Canadian Healthcare: A Chiropractor on Your Health Care Team. Continue reading

Erich’s Writing Guidelines: Be Yourself, Carefully, with Editing

writing rules, writing guidelines

The rules for writing begin with ‘keep on writing.’

During my extensive networking efforts of the last several months, an age-old communications reality has once again come into focus: people typically know want they want to say, but they’re not so sure how to write it and make it sound good.

“I can sell you a great bar code management system but don’t ask me to create a resume,” says the curly-headed sales team leader.

“I have a hard enough time writing a post-it note, never mind all this social media muddle” adds the astute accountant.

“Yeah,” agrees the bespectacled logistics analyst. “I’m used to numbers and data, not flowing sentences and fancy descriptions.”

For these people and any interested others, I offer the following writing guidelines.

Coming from a writing and broadcasting background, I’m used to interacting daily with people who have an extraordinary gift for written and verbal communications. They relish playing with words and making them sing. But the truth is that’s just one God-given gift in a world full of God-given gifts. On one hand, it accomplishes a great deal. On the other hand, it doesn’t fix your car’s brakes, it can’t discover a cure for cancer, and it won’t put food on store shelves.
Continue reading

A Freelance Writer And Wasted Time

The time on the wall is important to a freelance writer

The time on the wall is important to a freelance writer

There’s a very simple formula for what ticks off a freelance writer: time wasted = freelancer upset. This formula proved true for me recently, as I dealt with an interview subject who didn’t check his facts with his boss, and wasted my time because of it.

When you are in the business of freelancing, your time is especially valuable because no one is paying you for: 1) not working, 2) your benefits, 3) your vacation time, 4) your sick time, and 5) the extra time you may spend trying to make them look good. Continue reading

My “About Me” Page Update

On a fall walk in Parry Sound, Ontario

On a fall walk in Parry Sound, Ontario

There may be things about me that potential clients and other visitors to my site would like to know. So I’m updating my “About Me” page to best reflect who I am and what I do.

My brand of storytelling

Storytelling has become a key to commercial success. That’s pretty cool because I’m a natural born storyteller who is also a trained and experienced writer and online journalist, with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Citytv, both in Toronto. Now I’m an independent service provider who would like to help businesses clean up their word weed patch and make a lasting impression. Continue reading

The morning workaround, for an early hours hater

Yup, that's me

Yup, that’s me

Mornings, to me, are like a bleach stain on a favourite shirt: something that should never be there. I should never be involved with mornings in any way. Specifically, anything active that happens before 8 am – 9 am preferably and 10 am ideally, though unrealistically – is not meant to be for me.

Which isn’t to say that I can’t “do” mornings. I did, for years. I was quite adept at pulling myself out of bed at 6 am and sometimes even sooner, dragging myself into the shower, dressing and grooming myself adequately, finding something to eat on the go, picking up my pre-packed belongings, reaching down to clumsily tie my shoelaces while cursing the night-borne tightness in my back, throwing on a jacket if the weather required it, and stumbling out the door.

In the years that I commuted to Toronto, I managed to put one foot in front of the other well enough to get to my local bus stop, where I waited for the bus that took me to the nearest GO Train station, where I boarded the train and set my still-weary body down to rest. Yes, I still desired more rest.

Continue reading

Pinterest for writers

great image from thewritelife.com

great image from thewritelife.com

I’m a big fan of social media, but only when I can use it as a practical tool. (Admittedly, Facebook is an exception.)

When I first began using Pinterest months ago, I didn’t realize it could ever be a practical tool. That’s the thing about social media, I find. You have to take a bit of time to understand the various platforms and what they can do for you. It helps if they’re also fun to use.

Pinterest has become both practical and fun, because I have started to use it as a place to gather all my writing resources. These resources are in the form of hundreds of websites, and articles on these websites. So far I’ve only just begun to assemble them on Pinterest.

Here’s a look at what I’ve come up with so far.