All posts tagged “Write”

Watch President Obama write his first line of code

Dubbed “Coder in Chief,” Barack Obama is being described as the first US president to dabble in computer programming. After kicking off the 2014 Computer Science Education Week with a call to code, Obama joined an “Hour of Code” event, an international campaign that aims to show how much an hour of programming can amount to.

Continue reading…

The Verge – All Posts

25 Free Festive Fonts – Write Your Best Wishes Straight From the Heart

The article contains 25 free fonts to write your holiday greetings with or to use them in your holiday design projects.

Seriously, how much did Bungie pay Paul McCartney to write this song for ‘Destiny’?

In Augustthe New York Times reported that Paul McCartney, the lead singer of Wings, had written and recorded a song for Destiny, the spiritual follow-up to the Halo series, developed by Bungie and published by Activision.

Play for pay isn’t new for Paul McCartney. In fact, the musician has a talent for turning contractual obligations into catchy tunes, like “Live and Let Die” and “Wonderful Christmas Time.” The Beatles’ only performance in Kansas City happened on a scheduled off day because the band couldn’t refuse the ridiculous amount of money thrown at them by Charles Finley, the owner of the Kansas City Athletics, who went from an offer of $ 60,000 to $ 150,000 — at the time, the single highest payment for a single performance. The…

Continue reading…

The Verge – All Posts

Using Yelp reviews to write the Great American Novel

Sometimes, all you need to become famous on the internet is to use it in a way that was never intended. That’s how comedian Gregg Gethard has been slowly attracting attention, with the literary novel he is writing in Yelp reviews.

Continue reading…

The Verge – All Posts

How to Write for The Web

Want to know how to write for the web with style and purpose? Check out book-guide that will teach you create meaningful purpose-oriented content.

Write that killer proposal – 5 essential tips

Read more about Write that killer proposal – 5 essential tips at

A written proposal may seem daunting, but break it down into manageable tasks and it’s perfectly doable. Image: Matthias Kirchner

Creative Bloq

6 Simple Tips To Write Your Next Killer Post

I’m not surprised to find out that people are reading less. There is so much more happening elsewhere, in videos, memes, animated clips, illustrations and photos. But that’s largely for entertainment. At the end of the day, in order to deliver a message, a lesson or a view on a topic, we still need to cram all that info into an article, and it still needs to be read.

If you have something to share, these days all you need to do is login to blog about it, and it gets published for the world to see. However, that is no reason for you to complicate the message you are trying to deliver, be it how you can receive notification once there are changes on a site, how to block ads on Android, or how silly we get around technology.

Here are a few simple tips to help you write solid posts – the kind editors love to publish. Note however that just because the idea is that you should keep your writing simple, it doesn’t mean that it is an easy task. In fact:

Write For Your Target Audience

You can write about a trending topic, or an evergreen problem someone will look up when they encounter it. Basically this could be anything under the Sun – and ‘someone’ will read it. Have that at the back of your head the whole time: who your target audience is. Then, write for them.

This is essential because it will help you set the tone of your piece, and help you decide the amount of jargon you can play around with. For example, when writing for the general public, you may need to explain certain terms like responsive design, but with web designers, you can skip the definition and dive right in.

This will be helpful when it comes to the word count because the next tip involves jamming a lot of content into a preset word length.

Watch the Word Count

We generally ask for posts to be between 800 and 1000 words long to keep our published content consistent. To be honest, we stretch the limit very often because the important thing is to have good content to share, and to limit that with a technicality such as the word count is just bad decision-making.

But I will tell you why it is necessary to mention our maximum word count. Many writers like to complicate their writing, use far more words than necessary, sometimes overexplaining concepts, going cycle after cycle of redundant explanations (like this sentence) about things that are already complicated in the first place.

Keep It Simple

Simple writing is essentially using just enough of the right words to deliver the message. If you can deliver the same message in one line instead of three, opt for the single-liner. It’s almost always a sure-win.

Note that this doesn’t mean your simple post should lack of substance. Nothing makes content good like good content.

Topics, Titles And Parameters

Now that you know who you are writing for and how much estate you need to fill up with your content, it is time to pick something to write about. More importantly, you need to figure out your title and your parameters.

Let’s put this into perspective: we’re going to go with the topic of "Facebook usage". The title that you choose will be what helps you determine what you should focus on. The parameters keep the writing on track. Parameters ensure that you keep your eyes on the prize and store the leftover raw materials for your next upcoming article. It also makes sure that you are clear of what you want to write about and will not stray (too far).

For example:

"10 Common Types of Facebook Updates" – The parameter here is that the updates have to be common and the focus is on the types of Facebook updates. You will need to set some parameters in determining what "common" here means.

"20 Things Savvy Facebookers Should Know (By Now)" – What should be in here are the prevalent things that people are still saying about or doing on Facebook (it has been 10 years since its conception) like sharing photos of sick babies. You have 20 of these, you have a post.

"Facebook Hashtags: How It Works And How To Use It Right" – Essentially there are three things to deliver here: defining hastags (in the context of Facebook use), how hashtags work (on Facebook) and how you can use them correctly (in Facebook).

Write In Multiple Drafts

It’s silly to think that you can be a single-draft writer. There is no such thing.

If you just put words together, at best you are a ‘curator’ because that’s what you do, you curate words and string them together for coherence and, if you are lucky, a bit of clarity. Copying from someone else’s final work is of course a lot faster – because they have gone through the process for you – but I seriously wouldn’t recommend it.

Cut, Cut, Then Cut Some More

When you write (for real) though, there is a minimum of maybe 3 drafts required. The first is when you pour out all your "nonsense" (because some of them may not make sense); the second is when you edit for clarity, arranging points for a better flow. The third is when you slice out what shouldn’t be there: mistakes, redundancy, factual errors, and other stuff your grammar book tells you to take out.

Now you’re halfway there. Keep cutting and slicing (you will keep finding mistakes; it is a process for a reason) until you can find nothing else to remove from the post. Then, submit it for a review. If the person who processes your work (some people call these people ‘editors’) cannot find anything to improve upon, congratulations, you have done it!

Inject Your Personality

The good thing about writing for an online audience is that you have the liberty to make a post yours by injecting a bit of your personality in the writing. It goes a long way to make the content relatable to your readers.

If you like making movie references, put it in. If you think you have a sense of humor (acceptable by society at large), show it off in the writing. Love memes? Use it as a joke to connect with like-minded souls. Love to inspire people? Don’t just think it, do it.

Leave your signature in your writing. Sometimes, that’s what readers are looking for.

If You Must Write, Then You Must read

As many great authors will attest to, you cannot write if you don’t read.

Using the thesaurus will never be as effective as becoming a product of what you read. Having the prose and style of great authors rub off on you (from constantly reading their work) will have an effect in the words you choose.

The words will come naturally when you read a lot, and more often than not, the first word that pops into your head is the right one. It doesn’t matter what you read, be it a magazine, an online tech blog, a work of fiction or the local paper, because eventually what you read will be reflected in your writing. What you read will turn you into the writer that you deserve to be.

How To Write Controversial Topics In A Responsible Fashion

When giving advice to new bloggers as to what kind of content grabs the most readers, the most comments, and the most shares on social media, most elder statesmen of the blogging community will say that controversy sells.

While this is true for the most part, many of them leave it at that. If they had carried the thoughtful advice to its fruition, it would definitely be good advice, but leaving the new blogger with just “controversy sells” is an open invitation to trouble.

Controversy does sell, however, if not approached correctly, controversial subjects poorly handled will drive traffic away from the blog and bring about the wrong kind of attention.

Walking the Controversy Tightrope

There is controversy, and then there is controversy. Determining between the two can be a delicate dance between common sense, the desire to draw attention, and just plain foolishness. Very often, the lines are invisible. To use an extreme example, one would not bring up 9-11, the infamous and terribly sad attack upon innocent Americans, in anything but a delicate and extremely sympathetic light for its victims or an outrage at the horrible terrorists that carried it out.

To do anything else would be controversial at best. For all of you new to the blogging game, here are a couple of important tips that you may want to heed. These tips expound upon the “controversy sells” advice, taking it to its logical and extremely delicate conclusion.

Readers Love Controversy

People, as a general rule, thrive upon controversy. In today’s world, where life is a struggle on an everyday basis for the majority of the population, it is always ‘good’ to read about someone else’s trouble.

However, controversy sells depending upon the controversial subject. There are topics that are more shocking in nature that must be handled in a delicate or removed from the content altogether, but if handled correctly, they can lead to good things such as an increased following and links from other blogs.

1. Third Person Editorial Blogging (With Facts)

The best style with which to tackle a controversial subject is editorial. The majority of editorial is straight reporting in the third person and must include facts. If you are blogging about a controversial subject, it should be factual to a fault. Controversy offends so never as if the views expressed are yours.

But if you must, pick and choose your topics extremely carefully. Remember, you want readers… not enemies. Negative comments are still comments but when you actually offend people, those could be the last comments they post as they will not return, regardless of what you post about in the future.

2. Play Devil’s Advocate with Integrity

There is a huge difference between controversy and Devil’s Advocate, even though playing Devil’s Advocate can be controversial. Playing the Devil’s Advocate means that you take the unpopular side of a controversial topic and show an argument for it.

If you decide to play devil’s advocate, you must be 100% sure of your facts, and approach the topics that offend in a straightforward manner that reflects integrity in writing. Any Devil’s Advocate post that comes across as a rant about your beliefs and not what facts can actually prove will lose more readers than it gains.

3. Beware: One Side May Be the Suicide

There are some topics that can be blogged about but only on the side or righteous indignation against it. Choose controversial subjects that have a clear, dominating majority against, like spousal or child abuse (to which you are obviously outraged). Topics like abuse, crimes against minors, and other obviously controversial and heinous subjects only have one good side.

The other side is blogger suicide. It could also be means for losing your blogging rights on the search engines so tread lightly and watch your step when it comes to these. Only straight reporting and utter disgust for many controversial topics will carry any weight.

4. Leave the Back Door Open

Leave yourself an out on any controversial topic in which you cannot seem to refrain from injecting an opinion that runs against popular consensus. Your closing paragraph is the perfect place to indicate that either your opinions are a reflection of a side of the topic that is not often seen, or just points that you felt should be brought to light during the course of the post.

It takes a lot of skillful writing to apologize without apologizing for any offense that is unintentional or in topics in which anything you say anything outside of the facts could be misconstrued by the majority of readers.

5. Deal With the Blowback Responsibly

Those that comment negatively will return if you politely defend your position and thank the reader as long as you remember not to engage in an argument in the comments. Posting and engaging in an argumentative series of comments will only definitively divide your readership and many will not return.

Never single a comment out for a vindictive rebuttal.

Lastly, unless you are willing to back up what you say at the cost of your readership, steer clear of taking sides in politics, religion, and personal problems.

Be a Blogging Professional

In the end, a carefully constructed blog post about a controversial topic can be a big boost for your blog as long as you are prepared to receive and answer to the comments that will undoubtedly come pouring in. Always handle them with a polite return, thanking the abusive commenter for reading and participating.

Never allow comments through to publication that use offensive language or those to which others might take offense, especially those that accuse racism or other foolishness. The intelligent comments that go against what you were trying to say should be allowed if only to prove that you are willing to receive them and defend your position in a polite manner.

Write HTML & CSS Faster with Emmet

As a web developer, we have always been searching for a tool to increase our workflow and productivity. And today’s post is dedicated for web developers who frequently work with HTML and CSS, as we are going to take a look at a tool that allows us to write these two essential web languages (much) faster – Emmet.

Emmet is the extending development of ZenCoding, which is written purely with JavaScript. While in this demonstration I’m going to use Sublime Text, Emmet is also available for many code editors including TextMate, Coda, Eclipse, Notepad++, and Adobe DreamWeaver.

Installing Emmet

Head over to this page to find and download Emmet for your code editor. If you are using Sublime Text, like I am, Emmet can be installed easily through Package Control.

Once installed, you may need to restart Sublime Text.

Writing HTML with Emmet

Most current editors probably have a similar built-in functionality. For example, in Sublime Text we simply write <ul> and hit the Tab key, it will automatically expand into a complete unordered list with the <li> element.

We can also write the following div.class to assign HTML class in the element.

Emmet, in this case, extends this functionality further, allowing us to write complex HTML structures in a more simplified way with abbreviations or aliases, similar to the one in CSS. So, if you are familiar with CSS syntax already, you should get used to it quickly.

In addition, Emmet documentation provides a massive list of abbreviations and aliases and the uses, which could be very intimidating for the first-timer. But, here are some of the basic things that I think you should know – at least.

Child Element

As we mentioned, Emmet uses syntax similar to CSS. In CSS we have a direct child selector which is represented with the > sign. In Emmet, we use this operator to add child elements as well. For example:

Sibling Element

Sibling refers to the element in the same nesting level. In CSS, we can select sibling element with the plus + sign. Similarly we can use it to add sibling elements with Emmet.

Assigning ID or Class

We can select an element with its id attribute using the # sign in CSS. With Emmet, we use # to assign ID attribute to element, and as we have shown you before we can also assign an HTML class in the element, the same way we select the element class. For example:

When we do not specify the element, as you can see above, Emmet will use <div> as the default. If we want to be more specific, we can declare the element type before the class or the ID name, like so.

Specifically for the HTML class, we can assign multiple classes in one element in this way.

Assigning Attribute

In CSS, we use square bracket to select attribute. The same way can also be applied with Emmet for assigning attribute to the generated element.


Emmet also allows us to add HTML element in specific numbers using the asterisk (*) sign, which can be a time saver. In this example, we add an <h3> and four <h4> under a <section> element.

Basic HTML Document

We can build basic structure in an HTML document in a snap with Emmet. Given the example of basic HTML5 structure, we can do it this way.

Lorem Ipsum

Lastly, this is one of my favorites in Emmet. Sublime Text comes with a shortcut to generate the lorem ipsum dummy text. We simply write lorem and hit Tab, and it will expand to around 5 to 7 lines of lorem ipsum.

Emmet, in this case, works slightly different. With Emmet, we can specify how many words to generate. Say, we want only 3 words, we can write lorem3:

Specify how long you want your lorem ipsum text to be.

Using Emmet in CSS

We can also write CSS with Emmet. Similar to HTML, it extends the aliases into a complete CSS property as well as its value. Let me show you one example: say we want to add a padding with the value of 10px, we simply write p:10 and hit the Tab key, and it will automatically expand it topadding: 10px, as follows.

Or, if we want to hide elements, we can do either with visibility or display property. With Emmet, we can write these CSS properties this way.

However, despite the advantages, when it comes to CSS, I still prefer using the auto-complete feature from my code editor as it is simply more convenient for me. Plus, memorizing these CSS aliases is a bit harder than for HTML, although, you can refer to the cheatsheet of Emmet aliases for CSS as well as HTML here.


Emmet is really a brilliant tool, and I think it is an essential tool for web developers. The only downside perhaps is the learning curve required for first-timers, but once you pick it up, it can significantly boost your productivity. You can write HTML and CSS faster than ever before.

So, have you tried this tool? Share your thought in the comment section below.

Design Inspiration: Divine Write

Copywriting and design for websites, apps, print and various other stuff. Development too. A beautifully visual site that immediately makes an impact.

This design was featured on Tuesday 10th of September 2013. It’s designed by Ian Butler, and falls under the category of Portfolio.

If you’d like, you can visit this site, or view all our other featured designs.

Design Shack