About John Dunham

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So far John Dunham has created 43 blog entries.

Homophones Explained


Homophones are words that sound the same but are spelled differently. For many writers, homophones are the number one reason for misspelled words. It’s not necessarily that we don’t know how to spell a certain word, it’s that we fell into the auditory trap of using another word that sounds identical. When we write, we [...]

Beyond Rules

2019-03-21T23:24:37+00:00Tags: , , , |

I recently went through a box of ephemera from high school, including old essays. Each one I read started with a dictionary definition. According to Merriam-Webster, rigid (adj.) means inflexibly set in opinion, or strictly observed. I think an English teacher told me that one possible way to start an introduction is to define a [...]

Procrastination Nation

2018-11-19T16:47:42+00:00Tags: , , , |

I acquired a nasty habit in college: procrastination. However, I’ve started retraining myself not to wait until the last minute to write. I used to say “Oh, I write better under pressure,” except that writing under pressure meant writing a day or two before the paper was due, late at night, hyped up on coffee, [...]

Using Richard Feynman’s Technique for Writer’s Block

2018-12-04T01:34:40+00:00Tags: , , , , , , |

Richard Feynman was a Nobel Prize winning physicist who famously challenged colleagues to explain difficult concepts in simple language rather than “hide behind” the esoterica and arcane language of their fields.  A popular faculty member at CalTech, Feynman was dedicated to ensuring that his students learned the material rather than simply relying on rote memorization [...]

Show, Don’t Tell

2018-12-04T01:21:46+00:00Tags: , , , |

If writing is a public act, then, your purpose as a writer is to ignite reader’s interest and understanding of what you are writing about. The “Show, Don’t Tell” strategy emphasizes the reader’s experience of the material through the detail presented through action, concrete language, thoughts, sensory imagery, and feelings RATHER than the author’s summary [...]

The Descriptive Outline: Revising for Content and Organization

2019-03-04T18:28:12+00:00Tags: , , , , , , |

Descriptive Outlines & Revising for Content and Organization Many writers rely on the organizational value of outlines to organize their thoughts in the initial stages of writing. Outlines can also provide a useful framework to help ensure organization during and after writing. This exercise provides a way to check for idea development. Use this descriptive [...]

Revising for Clarity and Precision: The Paramedic Method

2017-02-21T13:59:59+00:00Tags: , , , , |

Perhaps you’ve been told that your writing is wordy or that your heavy phrasing confuses your reader. Most writers face this problem of “overwriting.”  However, clear sentences are integral to clarity and facilitating your reader’s understanding. To ensure greater readability, try using the Paramedic Method described here. The “Paramedic Method” is an easy, do-it yourself [...]

Finding Clarity Despite the Clutter

2018-11-19T16:49:44+00:00Tags: , , , , |

Like many, I multi-task throughout the day, juggling various responsibilities at the computer. Today, I’m juggling emails, finishing reports, editing texts, and writing this reflection.  If I am not careful, a variety of documents stack upon each other on my screen, and multiple internet browsers lie open, tempting me to explore in new directions. My [...]