Some tips on charts and writing.

  • Keep charts simple. Charts with 3 or 4 lines on them look good, once you get to 5 or more it just looks like a tangle of spaghetti. Keep it simple. If you are not sure about data, use the support function in Nugget.
  • Write about something you know about and care about. Don’t write about something because it is faddish or you think that everyone else is interested in it. If you don’t know much about Brexit and are getting bored of it, but know lots about Bitcoin and are into on-line trading, then write a piece about cryptocurrencies, not one about the goings on in Brussels.
  • Read a writing guide. There are lots. The Economist’s is good, and on-line; the New York Times has a good one too. Most of these guide are based in some way on an essay—Politics and the English Language—by George Orwell. He set out six rules that are worth remembering:
  1. Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
  • Ask a friend to read your entry. This is not an exam. Journalists and writers will often ask friends to read their work and tell them where the argument falls down. If your friend gets stuck on a point or does not understand it, then clarify it.