The non-traditional writing path paved by Michael Pollan

July 02, 2018 | Writing

Whether he is writing a book on big farming and the way Americans think about food, or interviewing terminal cancer patients who have had life-altering experiences through hallucinogenic drugs, author Michael Pollan’s career as a writer has been anything but traditional.

“The path of someone’s career only appears in retrospect. I really didn’t know where I was going. The path of a writer isn’t like the path of a doctor or a lawyer — it’s really crooked,” Pollan said at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, as he delivered an autobiographical lecture, “One Writer’s Trip: From the Garden to the Plate and the Beyond,” to a packed audience. “On this journey you will never know which books you will have been grateful to have packed, or where your curiosity will take you.”

Pollan, a Radcliffe fellow this year, is also a food activist and a professor of journalism at UC Berkeley. In an article written for Harvard Magazine, by author Laura Levis (pictured here), Pollan discusses his evolution as an author, starting with the realization that the books he had treasured in college — namely those by the great American nature writers Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson — would not serve him very well in some ways.

Click here to read her article.

Mike Consol teaches public speaking, PowerPoint presentation skills and business writing to companies and business professionals. Contact him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or 925-449-1040.


A public speaking toolkit for introverts

June 25, 2018 | Writing

Throughout our early education, few of us are actually taught or encouraged to practice public speaking skills. For those who are naturally more introverted, this means it is relatively easy to sidestep any early opportunities and go for years without ever having to speak in public. As we grow older, a fear of exposure and failure can easily take hold and even cause speech anxiety. However, public speaking is a skill that is strengthened through practice, so if you want to be better at it, you need to do more speaking. There are lots of similarities between the skill sets for delivering training and mastering public speaking, including thorough planning and good subject knowledge. Unfortunately, the mind can become a powerful block. The introverted thinker, known for their ordered thoughts and perfectionist ideals, can easily sabotage themselves into thinking it is something they just can’t do and that public speaking is an ‘off-limits’ activity, says self-described introvert Kay Heald of Toastmasters International, writing for TrainingZone.
She says the terms “introversion” and “extroversion” are often misused to distinguish between shy and more outgoing personalities. More accurately, the Jungian and Myers-Briggs definitions define introversion and extroversion as existing on an energy spectrum to help describe the different and complicated ways that people respond to the world. Heald has much more to say about the subject, including the five components of a public speaking toolkit. Click on the headline to continue reading.

22 pieces of timeless advice from Stephen King on how to be a great writer

June 11, 2018 | Writing

Renowned author Stephen King writes stories that captivate millions of people around the world and earn him an estimated $17 million a year, according to a recent article in The Independent. In his memoir, On Writing, King shares valuable insights into how to be a better writer. And he doesn’t sugarcoat it. He writes, “I can’t lie and say there are no bad writers. Sorry, but there are lots of bad writers.” Don’t want to be one of them? The Independent distilled from King’s book 22 pieces of writing advice that can make all the difference. (Click on the headline to continue reading.)

The pros and cons of PowerPoint master slides

PowerPoint is a robust software program filled with features designed to make creating presentations easier. However, like most things in life, while those features can be great, they can also work against you depending on what you’re doing. And PowerPoint’s Master Slides feature is a perfect example of that, writes Kelly Allison for the Ethos3 blog. While Master Slides is a great tool for some presenters, it can also be incredibly frustrating for others. To decide whether it’s something that will help or harm your presentation prep, check out the pros and cons, as outlined by Kelly Allison. (Click on the headline to continue reading)

5 ways to improve your verbal imagery

May 29, 2018 | Writing

Humans are highly visual, and this holds true when we are reading. We don’t see the images while reading, we form them in our minds. Pack in brilliant verbal imagery and your readers will enjoy and remember your writing. Drawing powerful verbal imagery is a skill that defines natural-born writers, but it can also be learned. Dawn Field, author and columnist, offers these five points to think about with respect to using the power of the pen to draw images. (Click on the headline to continue reading.)

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