Monday, April 3, 2017

A blog about writing and writing about numbers | Stories by Glenn Peoples on Medium

There are thousands of books and blogs about writing. Good writing is difficult, but fortunately there are many resources to help. Good writing about numbers is more difficult and there are few resources to improve the practice. So why not start a blog about the two?

When including numbers in my articles, I’ve often I’ll run into problems that bring the creative process to a stop. When I struggle to explain numbers—data, survey results, corporate financial information, etc.—readers won’t clearly understand what I’m saying.

Financial statements are a good example. Although I’m comfortable with the terms and their meanings, I have to remind myself that I’m not writing for an audience of one—or few. Getting into the weeds might bog down the average reader (e.g. give revenue and profit rather than run through revenue, gross margin, operating income, adjusted operating income, OIBDA, adjusted OIBDA, EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA, and finally net profit or less). Without confusing the reader it might be necessary to provide context (e.g. why a company can have a net loss while being cash positive). The tricky part is knowing your readers. Even if you’re writing for a general audience, or even for a business audience, you’re writing should also satisfy—or, rather, not upset—the more astute readers. It can be a tough balancing act.

So, I’m starting a blog about writing writing about numbers. Hence the title of the blog, “Words With Numbers.” Hopefully people will find it helpful. I’m not the best writer, nor am I a great mathematician, but I think I have a good combination of the two.

The first post will come soon. The second or third post will follow soon. I hope you enjoy reading.

A blog about writing and writing about numbers was originally published in Words With Numbers on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.


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