“Of Is and By” is my forthcoming book on how to be a better writer—overnight! It’s my system to help students of journalism, public relations, marketing and advertising become better media writers. It’s also applicable to anyone in business or government seeking to communicate more effectively. In fact, if readers just master three watchwords — of, is and by — their writing can improve overnight. Yes, overnight. I mean it. The book will be done soon but I’d be glad to send an excerpt to those requesting it: fill out the form on the side and it’ll be on its way.
What is it about?
Communications writing or media English is different from most other prose. Learning it is similar to mastering a foreign language, as it requires practice. Its basic tenets are simplicity, compression, plain language and rapid comprehension. It was developed to save space or time in publications or broadcasts with limited amounts of it. Today, with short attention spans in the video and Twitter age, it’s even more important. It communicates the most information in the shortest time. No one wants to spend too much time with websites or blogs. Twitter proved this with its wildly successful 140-character limit, now ratified by none other than…POTUS.
Students arriving at Humber College, Toronto, where I teach writing, are often shocked to learn they must erase what they learned in Academia now that mastering media writing is essential. Telling them about “of, is and by,” however, appears to reduce blood pressure somewhat. Many say it made a great difference in their writing.
Professionals can benefit from “Of Is and By,” too.
It’s probably something that hasn’t quite been presented in this way and will hopefully be something innovative that might provide a writing and editing breakthrough. If so, I would love to hear about it.