How I learned to write like James Chartrand*: A Non-Fiction Writing Course Like No Other

New sessions of this course have been running in early spring and early fall each year, with sign-ups usually in January or early February and August. To be notified when registration is open—and to get lots of great free writing tips between now and then—get your name on the course’s email list HERE. Absolutely no obligation.

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In the beginning I could write.

I was a nuts-and-bolts writer for twenty-five years. I did technical writing for an engineering company and medical writing for physicians. For both, I turned obscure terms and concepts into writing a lay person could understand. Subscribers found my home-business content valuable when I wrote for a home-based entrepreneur website. At a local community foundation, I became the go-to person when a written piece needed just the right touch. On a personal level, I’ve always gotten warm feedback from my handwritten notes of thanks, sympathy, or encouragement. I thought I was a decent writer.

Then the blogging bug bit me.

I started Heartspoken.com and began writing about topics to teach and encourage readers to live their most wholehearted life at any age. To accomplish that, I needed an entirely different result. I wanted to inspire and educate… …but the practical, utilitarian writing of my past was too often flat—and rarely compelling. I hired a proofreader, Karen Sanderson, thinking she would at least save me from embarrassing typos. Her first proofreading job came back covered with comments and red lines. I was horrified! Little did I know she was an accomplished editor who believed in giving extra value by making suggestions beyond correcting mistakes. As I absorbed each comment and saw how her subtle changes added kick and direction to my writing, I came to a startling realization:

I really needed to crank my writing up a few notches!

I thought writing classes were just for imaginative souls who wove characters into fiction plots, so I hadn’t considered there might be a writing course for bloggers or business writers. I found plenty of blogs talking about blogging, though. I signed up for updates from Men with Pens and Copyblogger. I eagerly anticipated posts from James Chartrand, Sonia Simone, Brian Clark, and Jon Morrow. Their writing was strong and compelling; they became my rock stars. It never occurred to me I could learn to write like they do.

Damn fine timing brought me a writing course on steroids.

The next thing I knew (ah, the Universe is a wonderful thing), I received an email from James Chartrand, A-list blogger and founder of Men with Pens, about her writing class called Damn Fine Words.The course description said I would learn how “to create compelling, engaging content… the kind of content that reaches your target market, increases your readership, pulls in new clients, boosts your sales and brings you better success…” Yowzer, this looked good. And that was only the beginning. The course would help me smash writer’s block and teach me how to write quickly and easily on any topic, regardless of my niche. I’d be able to overhaul my website copy, write the ebook that has eluded me, and write marketing copy and newsletters like a pro. But here was the clincher: The course included personal coaching from James Chartrand herself! I couldn’t get to the sign-up form fast enough.

Damn Fine Words delivered!

My classmates included bloggers, entrepreneurs, artists, an attorney, a comedian, a martial arts instructor, and a handwriting analyst. What bound us was a commitment to becoming better communicators, and by course design, we learned from each other as well as from our teacher. Ten weeks and 20 value-packed lessons later, I feel like Superwoman, with a commanding new arsenal of writing weapons that empower me to take charge of my writing. The practical, immediately implementable strategies included learning to:

  • Create a writing space and ritual that makes me much more productive.
  • Be clearer on my goal for each piece before I even start writing.
  • Develop a system for capturing ideas immediately. (I have filled my editorial calendar for months ahead!)
  • Crank out lots of “shitty first drafts” to ensure a supply of pieces that can be quickly whipped into shape when needed.
  • Recognize where breaks and formatting add punch and readability.
  • Spot unsupported statements in my own and others’ writing.
  • Write with the reader’s needs in mind.

There were highs and lows, to be sure. I got behind in a couple of spots, and I still need to practice, practice, practice. But thanks to James Chartrand’s Damn Fine Words, I write with much more confidence and authority. That makes me a Damned Fine Writer, and you can become one too. This university-level class has been offered twice a year, usually in late winter/early spring and late summer/early fall, so Click here right away to start receiving free information and updates, with absolutely no obligation. These emails alone, from course designer James Chartrand, are loaded with writing tips, tricks, and free information.

Aren’t you just a wee bit curious?

Headshot of James Chartrand, founder/owner of Men with Pens

James Chartrand, founder of Men with Pens and creator of Damn Fine Words writing course

This was the best investment I’ve made in myself in years, and if your source of income or your mission in life depends on your ability to communicate clearly and passionately, this could be your best investment too. It costs nothing to learn more about what the course covers, who it’s designed for, and all about James and her staff. Click here NOW. After reading this, you’ll know whether or not the course can help you. All the links to the course here are affiliate links, which means I get a commission if you sign up. If you know me, you know I would never endorse something I didn’t believe in wholeheartedly. I’ll sweeten the pot for you with two offers:

  1. Feel free to call me at 540-436-3969 between 10am and 5pm Eastern Daylight time to ask me any questions you want about my experience with the Damn Fine Words class. Or email me at [email protected]dotcom
  2. Anyone who becomes a paid class member through my affiliate link will get a prize. Just email me your receipt with your name and snail mail address and I’ll send you a gift of personal stationery.

Don’t miss registration for the next session

Don’t wait to find out about this terrific course today. If nothing else, get on the email list and start receiving lots of free writing tips. The class is usually offered twice a year, usually in March and September.

 * James Chartrand founded and owns one of the world’s most respected copywriting and website design companies and its wildly popular blog, Men with Pens.

Top photo credit: “Digital vs Analog” by David Crockett via BigStockPhoto
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About Elizabeth H. Cottrell

Elizabeth H. Cottrell is a freelance writer, author, social media pro, and digital publisher in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. She teaches small business clients how to increase visibility and build strong customer relationships. She helps authors get the book out of their head and published. She blogs for writers and authors at RiverwoodWriter.com and for small business owners and solopreneurs at SmallBizSpoken.com. She blogs about the power of connection and note writing at Heartspoken.com.

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