Do you write at work? Do it better with workshops and help brought to your desk.

If you work for the government of Canada or any organization that produces information, chances are you have to write a lot.

Perhaps you are already a confident writer and known as the “grammar monarch” of the office. Or perhaps you struggle with all that writing.

You might also face barriers outside your control. However good you are, there isn’t enough time to do it right. The guidelines aren’t clear. There aren’t any guidelines. The template is older than you are. The source documents are hard to understand and out of your field. No one agrees whether to use this word or that word. The context requires plain language; the lawyers want their language.

Your style guide says don’t use the Oxford comma. Your boss demands the Oxford comma, loves the word leverage, hates the word because. There aren’t enough words. There are too many words.

Does this sound far too familiar?

Whether writing at work is a constant struggle, a neutral chore, or your daily dose of joy, @ Your Desk workshops can help you if you need to:

  • Fill in gaps in your writing skills that are causing lost time, stress, or negative feedback.
  • Produce accurate, clear writing that does the job it’s supposed to do, even when you are under pressure.
  • Stop worrying about whether your writing is ok, and prepare for jobs that will require more writing or more complex writing projects.
  • Satisfy your employer’s requirements for training while learning something you can apply every day.
  • Reduce stress by separating the things within your writing that you can control from the things that you can not control.
  • Feel more confident in your decisions, dampen arguments about style choices, and provide hard evidence to justify any changes you advocate for.

About the @ Your Desk format

The @ Your Desk format is different from many other forms of online training. It is not live training, and it is not training you can sign up for any time and do on your own.

With @ Your Desk’s online format, you can study the core materials at your own pace, and you don’t need to schedule extended live-streaming sessions. All of the workshops are delivered on a robust and secure Moodle platform. To access these workshops, all you need is internet access and an up-to-date browser.

@ Your Desk workshops are offered as two- or three-week interactive online sessions with a maximum of 16 participants. You get high quality instructional materials, and full instructor support. There is also an opportunity for discussion and interaction, just like what you would typically get in an in-person workshop.

@ Your Desk workshops are a good fit for you if:

  • Your writing at work is meant to convey information clearly and accurately, and you’re not trying to sell something.
  • You want to learn from interactive materials and an enthusiastic instructor who knows her stuff, and is present and available.
  • You like the collegial feel of regular classrooms.
  • You want to be free to decide what exercises you should do, ask questions, and get individual feedback.
  • You want the freedom to refresh what you already know but go deeper into things that are new or challenging.
  • You want easy-to-use reference materials that you can take back to your desk.
  • You like learning from relevant examples that have a workplace context.
  • You are comfortable with knowing there is no one right way to write or apply grammar.
  • You want flexibility with the time you put in and don’t want long video sessions.

These workshops are not a good choice for you if:

  • You prefer the live instructor-led model of online learning.
  • You prefer anonymity or no instructor presence when taking online courses.
  • You want training that focuses on business writing to increase sales or polish a corporate image.
  • You need ESL instruction.
  • You write something very specialized or academic and want specific guidance in that form.

About the instructor (and why I put the word “PhD” in lower case letters)

A PhD in Canadian literature is a cool thing to have, but it hasn’t contributed much in my training room. For ten years, I was a writer and editor in high-tech and government, and this work prepared me for teaching writing as it applies in the workplace. That groundwork was followed by the last fifteen years, which were dedicated to classroom time with people who have to write at work.

When I started to work outside of university, shedding my academic writing and teaching habits was difficult. I had to learn—painfully at times—that I could not write what I wanted people to know. I had to figure out what they needed to know. And then I had to deliver it not as an essay or with impressive words and grammar, but in a format that they could use.

Now, I’m a seasoned trainer and passionate advocate for abolishing bureaucratic, misleading, and empty writing. I design workshops and custom help for people who write at work.

I’m enthusiastic about sharing that knowledge because it can help you write better and with less stress. It can also be fun. But I also understand the complex barriers to good writing that some workplaces erect inadvertently or guard determinedly.

In other words, I can explain how good sentences work and how to write them. People often say they find writing hard. There’s a reason for that. It’s not that they lack talent or skill. And it’s certainly not that they haven’t had the right training. It’s because writing is hard. Any good writer will testify.

How can you access these workshops?

My popular in-person writing and grammar workshops are offered through the University of Ottawa’s Professional Development Institute and they are now available online @ Your Desk.

You can see the dates and details and register on the PDI website:

Writing Well I—write good sentences

Writing Well II—write good documents

Practical Grammar—prevent errors, punctuate accurately, make sure the grammar matches the intended message, justify your changes

If you want a one-on-one focus and help with specific writing tasks, I also offer a coaching package, which is also @ Your Desk.

What People Say About the Workshops

“I have a degree in English Lit and Melanie has been able to get across what years of university has been unable to do.”

“It was an absolute pleasure to participate in this workshop. I’m looking forward to attending more with Melanie.”

“She is an excellent instructor, and her teaching style is unique. She makes the course flow really well, keeping everybody interested and engaged.”

Contact me

Want to learn more about my workshops or coaching? Contact me