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From office memos to novels . . . allow us to show you how to rewrite your materials. Learn how to use simple, spoken words that conform to the latest writing standards.

Government and corporate writers: learn to use Plain Talk principles for your "key customer" documents.

We provide exactly what you want when you want it:
  • Writing coaches


  • Online writing courses


  • Translation services


  • Onsite writing Courses

Click below for an explanation of our services.

Onsite Coaching Translation

Virginia Given
CEO





State of Washington Links

www.writewordsusa.comwww.writewordsusa.comwww.writewordsusa.com

Link to DES Training Site
Link to WA Plain Talk Site





What we do

Onsite Training.    [back to top]
We can teach all of our writing courses in a traditional classroom setting at any reasonable location on the planet. We will provide the trainer, projector, course textbook, and handouts. The host provides the room, a projection screen, two easels with pads, tent cards, and refreshments (as allowed).

We also provide public writing workshops at various locations across the U.S. Contact us if you want to host a public writing workshop in your area.

Course price is negotiable. The application process includes a contractual agreement. For more information, or to apply, contact us (link to existing page) by email or phone.
Coaching.    [back to top]
Coaching is akin to tutoring one-on-one. It does not supplement the writing classes we teach. This coach will give you timely feedback on what you do well and where you need to improve, and will encourage you along the way.

If you just need help with writing a document, improving design or format for a document or template, presenting difficult information in hardcopy or on your website, developing headings, or getting a good edit; you’ll want to hire one of our coaches. The coach will advise and rewrite portions, allowing you to do the bulk of the work. If you have the format and information down, the coach will contract for only an edit.

We will rewrite small portions of your document and check for grammar, word usage, active voice, and punctuation (according to The Gregg Reference Manual). Your contract with us will specify responsibilities for you and the writing coach.

If the writing is creative in nature, we will still use the same editing skills, while keeping in mind the specific publication requirements of the journal, magazine, or publishing house involved.

Your writing coach will communicate with you via email or if necessary, by phone. You will submit your drafts and receive related edits and other materials by email.

If you would like to request this service, please email us with your name, organization (if applicable), postal address, and phone number. If possible, attach a draft of your writing project and its scope. If your project is too large to email, you may need to send via postal or other carrier. We will review your project and if approved, we will tell you how to complete the application process (which includes a contractual agreement) and payment. We base our fees on a schedule published separately on our home page under "Fees." Once we receive payment, we will assign you a writing coach who will contact you directly with instructions on how to proceed.

Foreign Language Translation.    [back to top]
We will translate your writing documents from English into German, French, Spanish, Tamil, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, or Korean, or we will translate writing documents written in any of these languages into English.

Unless placed on a retainer, we charge by number of words. If you would like to request this service, please email us with your name, organization (if applicable), postal address, and phone number. If possible, attach a sample of your writing project and its scope. If your project is too large to email, you may need to send via postal or other carrier. We will review your project and if approved, we will tell you how to complete the application process (which includes a contractual agreement) and payment. Once we receive payment, we will assign you a translator who will contact you directly with instructions on how to proceed.


About Plain Talk.     [back to top]
Also known as Plain Language, Plain Talk reflects a popular writing style already used by the federal government and by many states and municipalities. It frees you to write clear, easy-to-read letters, forms, instructions, announcements, publications, and other writing documents. It is a form of communication economy, to write and design all documents for ease of use and customer understanding. Simply put, Plain Talk teaches you to write in language that a typical customer can understand and act upon after a single reading. All business and technical writing courses offered by Write Words Inc. incorporate Plain Talk principles.



A synopsis of our onsite courses

Associated Press vs. Gregg Reference Manual Writing (2 days)

For those of you caught between two worlds of writing, this course will help you keep on track. It will balance the requirements of news release and websites writing verses plain business writing. Differences do occur between the AP Format and the legal/business approach of the Gregg Reference Manual. If your job demands you must know your way around both style manuals to write news releases, speeches, website information, email, letters, memos, talking points, and legal documents, we have the answers.

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • Think clearly about what you must write in both styles.
  • Organize quickly and effectively in both styles.
  • Adapt your writing to both audiences.
  • Write within the standard set by your organization.
  • Deal with the differences that exist in grammar, punctuation, and spelling between the two styles.
  • Apply both styles to help you say what you want with less difficulty and more confidence.

Basic Grammar Review (2-days or breaks into two 1-day classes without punctuation section)

While based on the latest version of The Gregg Reference Manual, this course uses its own text to cover the basics of grammar, word usage, spelling, and punctuation. Everything covered in this course has a practical application for writers.

  • Overview on why we should study grammar.
  • Understanding nouns:
    • Common vs. proper nouns
    • Understanding capitalization of nouns
    • Forming plurals and possessives
  • Understanding pronouns:
    • Antecedent agreement
    • Nominative and objective case
  • Understanding adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions.
  • Understanding verbs and subject/verb agreement.
  • Identifying parts of a sentence.
  • Using major punctuation marks effectively.

Writing Skills: Business Writing in Plain Talk (1 day to 1.5 days)

This course focuses on the writing of letters, memos, notices and other short documents sent to both employees and customers. It builds upon our one-day Writing Documents in Plain Talk class. For those who want a coached writing practice, we can provide an added half-day writing lab to the one-day course.

Upon completion of the course, participants should be able to:

  • Meet and greet their real customer.
  • Write plainly to any customer on any subject.
  • Use shorter words to get to the point.
  • Write shorter sentences that stick to the point.
  • Write concise paragraphs that say something to the customer.
  • Write so the customer can easily scan any document.
  • Choose and present the best format for business documents.
  • Stay away from addictive writing danger zones.
  • Use the Flesch Readability Index and writing teams to benefit you and your customer.

Editing and Proofreading Skills Review (2-days or break into two 1-day classes)

For everyday writers looking for the next level of skill development, this course will help you acquire needed editing and proofreading techniques for every form of writing. Learn how to edit and proofread the writing of others as well as your own. Consider this a "must have" course for administrative and support staff that edit and proofread on a daily basis.

  • Editing to eliminate: wordiness, false starts, padding, stacked nouns, passive voice, adverb intensifiers, prepositional stuffing, imprecise language, and other related problems.
  • Editing to keep your tone acceptable.
  • Proofreading major and minor grammatical errors.
  • Proofreading for proper word choices and punctuation usage.
  • Proofreading for spelling problems beyond the spell checker.
  • Dealing with the process of proofreading and its accompanying nightmares.

Editing and Proofreading Techniques for Technical Writers (2-days or break into two 1-day classes)

For those technical and business writers looking for the next level of skill development, this writing course will help you acquire essential editing and proofreading techniques for every form of writing. Writers often confuse editing with proofreading. They're not the same, and both technical and business writers must know the difference.

  • Editing to keep your writing powerful and your message clear.
  • Editing to eliminate: wordiness, false starts, padding, stacked nouns, passive voice, adverb intensifiers, prepositional stuffing, imprecise language, and other related problems.
  • Editing to keep your tone acceptable.
  • Proofreading major and minor grammatical errors.
  • Proofreading for proper word choices and punctuation usage.
  • Dealing with the process of proofreading and its accompanying nightmares.

Effective Writing to Colleagues and Customers (2-days)

This writing course combines the principles and guidelines of writing general documents in Plain Talk (Plain Language) with the details of writing, some editing, and designing of specific business formats. Note: A more comprehensive, 3-day version of this writing course is also available that includes editing and punctuation.

  • Use the seven guidelines to "plain talk" any document.
  • Design clear pages of text for hardcopy and the Internet.
  • Meet and greet their real customer.
  • Write plainly to any customer on any subject.
  • Use shorter words to get to the point.
  • Write and edit active sentences.
  • Write and edit shorter sentences that stick to the point.
  • Write and edit concise paragraphs that speak to the customer.
  • Write so the customer can easily scan any document.
  • Choose and present the best format for business documents.
  • Stay away from addictive writing danger zones.
  • Use the Flesch Readability Index and writing teams to benefit you and your customers.
  • Empower your writing by applying customer "power lists" to all writing projects.

Electronic Messaging (1 day)

This writing workshop gives writers professional tools for all electronic messaging. It will help you gain key skills in handling email, text messaging, and instant messaging or "live chat." You will learn the Plain Talk approach of electronic messaging and provide the right tone for your customers that saves you from embarrassing, costly, or legal mistakes.

  • Starting on the same page: terms, netiquette, why email is hard to write correctly.
  • Being mindful of your email's anatomy: the "to" line, the "Cc" line, the "Bcc" line, subject, attachments, flags, content, and signature block.
  • Writing a professional email: following specific pointers.
  • Managing your email bone yard: goals, long-term strategy, immediate response strategy, management tools to purchase, legal issues.
  • Practicing text message etiquette: use, composition, etiquette, organizational concerns.
  • Attacking the IM/"live chat" monster: popularity, concerns in the office, management strategies, business manners.
  • Respecting your international customer: following policy, putting the customer first, Plain Talk.

Grant Writing (2- to 4-days)

In this writing course, you'll learn some practical grant writing steps and how to approach the right funders for the dollars you need. We will look at writing federal, state, and foundational grants. You will review the Executive Summary and Business Plan, as well as write part of a grant during the class. Our live instructor will review your work and give you pointers for successful submission.

  • Starting with a reality check of your organization or agency before you think "proposal."
  • Quick review of 12 existing proposal types:
    • Grants vs. contracts.
  • Learning how to market your proposal by:
    • Identifying potential funders.
    • Targeting proposals to funders.
    • Choosing funder markets.
    • Appealing to funder interest.
  • Packaging and evaluating your proposal:
    • Writing in a personal, active style.
    • Meeting specific criteria for success.
  • Reviewing essential proposal sections from cover letter to your budget sheet.
  • Writing the abstract or executive summary.
  • Writing the business plan.
  • What about the "Mini-proposal" or "Inquiry Letter"?
  • Locating funding sources:
    • From foundations to federal grants.
  • Starting to write your own proposal:
    • Purpose or goal statement.
    • Program objectives or aims.
    • Qualitative and quantitative statements.
    • Limitations of existing related program statements.
    • Evidence of demand statements.
    • Need statements.
    • Related activities and evaluation methods.
  • Terms you must know to succeed in the process.
  • Registering for Grants.gov
  • Working on "live" grants to include budget, goal, objectives, activities, outcomes, benefits, and public/nonprofit involvement.

Making Great Writers (1/2 day to 1 day)

This course if for those managers, editors, employees, and editing/proofreading team members who just want a quick refresher course that updates major writing skills.

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • Tell your story or key messages well.
  • Write using neutral voice.
  • Write what's most important to your readers--first.
  • Write at certain grade levels, keeping your readers in mind.
  • Write sentences and words that work.
  • Write shorter paragraphs, using active verbs.
  • Write engaging leads that grab your readers' attention.
  • Write using correct punctuation.
  • Use capitalization sparingly.
  • Use time, dates, numbers, and symbols correctly.
  • Create eye-catching layout and design for documents.

Naval Correspondence Manual and Contemporary Navy Writing (2 to 3 days)

This course will improve and update the written communication skills of all U.S. Navy service members and civilian employees. We use a combination of the latest version of the Department of the Navy Correspondence Manual with our own Contemporary Navy Writer's Toolkit to cover all essential elements of good writing.

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • Follow Navy policies, procedures, and guidance in preparing naval correspondence.
  • Use capitalization and punctuation according to the Government Office Printing Style Manual.
  • Identify source documents that aid in preparing naval documents.
  • Write correct internal and external correspondence.
  • Write correct executive papers.
  • Follow correct format for writing naval business letters.
  • Follow naval writing standards and steps for improved correspondence.
  • Follow naval standards for organizing email, memos, notices, letters, and reports.
  • Demonstrate ability in meeting all contemporary writing issues that military writing now faces.

NOTE:
Participants will receive the latest version of The Department of the Navy Correspondence Manual (SECNAV M-5216.5). We will also provide each participant with a copy of The Contemporary Navy Writing Toolkit, by Virginia Given. We cover these texts through a variety of activities, games, exercises, and review quizzes.

Presentation Courses (1 day to 3 day single or combined)

We will work with you to customize these courses into a program that best fits your needs.

Presentations: Basic Delivery Techniques
As a presenter, trainer, speaker, leader, or public official--step back to the basics of "how to" deliver information to an audience. Work on reaching everyone who attends your public address, speech, presentation, training, or meeting. Choose the right approach for each speaking engagement or training assignment.

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • Understand and effectively speak to adult learning styles.
  • Play the roles of trainer, facilitator, and presenter well.
  • Master 10 effective trainer/presenter techniques to better connect with their audience.
  • Listen and use questions effectively as a speaker.
  • Leave boring behind by using learner-focused performance and activities.
  • Design and present a work-related icebreaker.
  • Learn how to design and use 10 different organizational approaches to presenting and training.
  • Consider ways to integrate review methods for any presentation.
  • Use effective evaluation tools to cement audience understanding.

NOTE:
Participants will receive the Course Manual, Basic Delivery Techniques, written by Dr. Sharon Bridwell, which establishes the key foundational materials on which to become a strong speaker, trainer, or curriculum designer.

Presentations: Polishing Your Delivery Skills
Improve upon your delivery skills as a presenter, trainer, speaker, leader, or public official. Polish your presentation skills to become more effective when speaking to groups that look to your for confidence and guidance. You will learn the tricks to looking professional and polished at all times, no matter the situation. All public and private sector managers, supervisors, trainers, public officials or employees who must stand before a group and speak--or lead a meeting should take this course.

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • Deal directly with fear.
  • Re-educate your brain to think like a successful presenter.
  • Establish immediate rapport with your audience.
  • Effectively use body language, eye contact, posture, and animation to engage your audience.
  • Play the complex roles of presenter, facilitator, task manager, and coordinator.
  • Work well with concerned or troubled listeners.
  • Conquer and change distracting presentation mannerisms.
  • Successfully complete three presentation assignments.

NOTE:
Participants will receive the Course Manual, Polishing Your Delivery Skills, written by Teena Kidder, which includes specific guidance on dealing with the stresses of public speaking, various fun activities, and three short presentations.

Presentations: Designing Effective Training Programs
This course teaches those of you working in government, industry, nonprofits, and the private sector how to design and present effective training programs. Many of the skills learned in this course will also apply directly to your success as a presenter or speaker.

Upon completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • Discover how to be an effective trainer based on your own skills and experiences.
  • Address the needs of your audience within your curriculum or message.
  • Select appropriate training methods with course design in mind.
  • Develop a subject or topic into a good training session or presentation.
  • Identify and analyze the training needs of your organization.
  • Choose the right training design approaches for your training modules or presentations.
  • Select and apply correct training methods/techniques for learning activities.
  • Follow the steps to sequence learning for adults.
  • Write measurable behavioral-stated training objectives.
  • Prepare a lesson plan with multiple ways to evaluate its effectiveness.

NOTE:
Participants will receive the Course Booklet Designing Effective Training Programs, written by Dr. Sharon Bridwell, which includes various activities, exercises, and the presentation of a small piece of designed curriculum by each participant.

Punctuation Skills (2-days or break into two 1-day classes)

Based on the latest Gregg Reference Manual with its many recent changes, this writing course provides practical application for business and technical writing.

  • Knowing How and When to Use End Marks:
    • Periods
    • Question marks
    • Exclamation points
  • Knowing How and When to Use Pause Marks:
    • Commas
    • Semicolons
    • Colons
  • Knowing How and When to Use Paired Team Marks:
    • Dashes
    • Single and double quotation marks
    • Parentheses
    • Brackets
  • Knowing How and When to Use Odd Ball Marks:
    • Hyphen
    • Apostrophe
    • Ellipsis
    • Asterisk
    • Diagonal

Training Techniques: Train-the Trainer and Curriculum Development (3 days)

This course will teach trainers how to meet their participants' learning needs, develop any subject into a training session, write a standard lesson plan. Trainer will practice using activities and learning aids to become a stronger trainer. Anyone can use this course to discover what works in training, why it works, and how to plan for your next training assignment. Participants will give three short presentations and receive instructor/group critique. The final presentation (with lesson plan) must cover work-related training.

  • Learning About Participants and Their Learning Styles:
    • Understanding barriers to learning that imprison individual learning styles.
    • Using group dynamics effectively to bring about corporate learning.
  • Learning About the Trainer: Who You Are and What You Do:
    • Motivating participants to learn and retain information/skills.
    • Building trainer self-confidence that lasts.
    • Correcting distractive trainer techniques.
    • Responding to other's comments and actions while training.
  • Learning How To Put a Training Package Together:
    • Choosing an effective design approach and evaluation process.
    • Incorporating application and behavioral objectives into training.
    • Mastering steps in developing a training session from A to Z.
    • Adapting "off-the-shelf" and computer-based training packages.
    • Developing online curriculum.
  • Learning How To Train by Doing:
    • Completing one impromptu and one extemporaneous presentation.
    • Completing one 8-minute, video-taped training session with lesson plan.

Tricks of the Trade in Technical Writing (2 days)

This writing course will help you join the ranks of growing technical and business writers who want to write effectively and move on to the next task.

  • Assessing your audience: active to secondary readers.
  • Managing your preparation process: from mental shaping to tricks in outlining.
  • Reviewing grammar usage in technical and business writing:
    • Removing redundancies and imprecise words.
    • Removing jargon, noun clusters, and trite business phrases.
    • Removing passive, indirect writing styles.
    • Removing technical clichés and vague word choices.
    • Removing all doubt on miscellaneous technical writing issues.
  • Writing statements that captivate:
    • Tricks to making good sentences.
    • Tricks to writing productive paragraphs.
  • Choosing descending order for reports.
  • Using email as an electronic tool in writing.
  • Writing technical letters and reports:
    • Tricks to writing transmittal letters: report, contract, and proposal.
    • Tricks to writing the "Technical Memo Report" as well as, procedure, information, request, reply, and confirmation memos.
    • Tricks to writing direct, indirect, and oddball technical reports.
  • Writing directives: traditional vs. functional.
  • Working in writing teams and the tricks to making them succeed.
  • Using visuals effectively.

Writing Documents in Plain Talk (Plain Language)

This writing course covers the general principles and seven guidelines of Plain Talk as it applies to writing instructions, announcements, publications, and other documents.

As a writer or editor for a federal, state, or municipal agency, you should write and design your document so a customer can read it once and understand it. Writing in Plain Talk gives people easy access to their agency or business and allows it to excel at what it does best.

  • Plain Talk principles, an introduction.
  • Writing in a common language.
  • Writing in a logical sequence.
  • Using words your customers use.
  • Writing in active voice.
  • Using personal pronouns.
  • Keeping sentences and paragraphs short.
  • How to layout and design clear pages.

Clients served over the years.

 

Washington State agencies/boards/offices/commissions:

  • Attorney General's Office
  • Community Trade and Economic Development
  • Department of Corrections
  • Criminal Justice Training Commission
  • Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Ecology
  • Department of Employment Security
  • Department of Health
  • Department of Financial Institutions
  • Department of General Administration
  • Higher Education coordinating Board
  • Industrial Insurance Appeals Board
  • Department of Informational Services
  • Office of Insurance Commissioner
  • Department of Labor and Industry
    • Capstone Program
  • Department of Licensing
  • Liquor Control Board
  • The Lottery
  • Department of Natural Resources
  • Department of Enterprise Services
  • Department of Retirement Systems
  • The Office of the Secretary of State
  • Department of Social and Health Services
    • Aging and Disability Services
    • Child Support Division
      • Children and Family Services
  • Office of State Patrol
  • Office of the Superintendent of Public Instructions
  • Department of Transportation
  • Utilities and Transportation Commission

Washington State Municipal and Academic Groups:

  • Association of Clerks of the Court
  • Association of County Treasurers
  • City of Bellingham
  • City of Edmonds Community Services Department
  • City of Everett Planning Department
  • City of Mount Vernon
  • City of Port Angeles
  • City of Seattle
  • City of Tacoma
  • City of Tacoma Public Works/Environmental Services/Science & Engineering Division
  • City of Vancouver
  • Clallam County Department of Personnel and risk Management
  • Clark College: Business & Industry Training
  • Clark County Department of Community Development
  • Everett Community College
  • Gray's Harbor County
  • Jefferson County Commissioners
  • King County
  • King County District Court
  • Kitsap County
  • Lacey Fire District Three
  • Lake Washington Technical College
  • Lewis County Administration
  • Pierce Community College for federal GSA contract
  • Pierce County Fire District #5
  • Pierce County Planning and Land Services
  • Pierce County Public Works and Utilities
  • Public Utility District No. 1 of Chelan County
  • Seattle Health Care Authority
  • Seattle Housing Authority
  • Seattle Human Services Department for Aging and Disability Services
  • Washington State District and Municipal Court
  • Washington State Main Street Programs Executive Directors
    • Auburn Downtown Association
    • Bainbridge Island Downtown Association
    • Ellensburg Downtown Association
    • Historic Downtown Kennewick Partnership
    • Port Townsend Main Street Program
    • Puyallup Main Street Association
    • Downtown Walla Walla Foundation
    • Wenatchee Downtown Association
  • Washington State University Center for Professional Education Conferences and Events (Richland)
  • Washington State University Master's Program (Vancouver) — summer sessions
  • Western Washington University Equal Opportunity Center
  • Whatcom County

Washington State Public/Private Groups and Nonprofits

  • Better Government Bureau in Washington State
  • Evergreen Freedom Foundation's Faith-Based Welfare Reform Project
  • Intercity Transit
  • Puget Sound Regional Council
  • Puget Sound Clean Air Agency
  • Skillings-Connolly Engineering, Inc
  • Washington Counties Risk Pool
  • Washington Association of Community and Migrant Health Centers
  • Washington Conservation Corps
  • Washington State Fire Marshalls
  • Washington State Transit Insurance Pool
  • Yakama Nation Gaming Commission and Tribal Elders
  • Yakama Nation Area Agency on Aging

Out of State and Foreign Groups

  • American Council for International Studies Conference in Great Britain with pre-set small groups
  • American Society of Safety Engineers with breakout groups
  • City of Oregon City, Oregon, Division of Community Development
  • Educational Fellowship Conferences in several European countries with pre-set small group discussions on art, literature, history, economics, and politics: Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland
  • General Services Administration — top level management for breakout groups
  • Idaho State Department of Correction, Maximum Security Institution, and Correctional Facilities with breakout groups
  • Idaho State Department of Commerce, Division of Community Development with pre-set small groups
  • International School Project for the Russian Ministry of Education in Siberia, Russia for one month working with Russian Administrators in daily pre-set small groups
  • Overseas Academic Symposiums in Thailand (Chang-Mai and Bangkok) working with relief, service organizations, and academic groups — one-on-one and breakout groups
  • Overseas Academic Symposium in Malaysia (Dalat) working with international educators in pre-set small groups
  • The Potter's School Online Academic Services — hundreds of one-on-one and small group coaching touching over 40 countries

About Us

 

Our Company. Write Words: American Writing Services provides instruction and coaching in writing to corporate, federal, state, municipal, nonprofit, and individual clients worldwide. Our services are available onsite in a traditional classroom setting, in person, or online. We promise to provide you with the best and most accurate information and techniques for written communication. We want you to increase your business success and personal growth.

Both our onsite and online programs offer a number of courses to meet various business and personal learning needs. We offer foreign language translation, and a tailored coaching program for those requiring assistance with special project needs.

Vision. By offering highly regarded, practical material, we want to capture the business, technical, and academic markets for onsite and online writing courses as well as provide exceptionally skilled writing coaches worldwide.

Values

  • Clients: We value and respect you; therefore, we strive to provide you with the best possible service. We seek your input through the writing process and we request feedback once finished.
  • Integrity: We operate with unyielding integrity, adhering to the highest standard of business conduct. We will not tolerate unethical conduct by our sub-contractors and associates. We want to serve you, not gouge you.
  • Performance: We work to exceed your expectations. We strive to be the best at what we do.
  • Teamwork: We provide you with a team, that works well together through enhanced communications and best shared practices, to deliver world-class instructional services. Our team will perform to its fullest potential.
(C) 2008 Write Words Inc.     All Rights Reserved