As a writer, I can be pretty sloppy or lazy, at times. However, I do look for ways to learn how to improve the quality of my writing. George Orwell had 6 questions and 6 rules he applied to ensure what he had to say was clear to the reader.
A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus:
- What am I trying to say?
- What words will express it?
- What image or idiom will make it clearer?
- Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
And he will probably ask himself two more:
- Could I put it more shortly?
- Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?
One can often be in doubt about the effect of a word or a phrase, and one needs rules that one can rely on when instinct fails. I think the following rules will cover most cases:
- Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
- Never use a long word where a short one will do.
- If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
- Never use the passive where you can use the active.
- Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
- Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
From George Orwell’s Essay – “Politics and the English Language.“
More short writing tips – Streamline your written messages.
What does it mean to be productive? That’s the question Dustin Wax asks in his Lifehack.org post, There’s More to Productivity Than Time Management – Lifehack.org.He suggests the typical answer might be, “Getting the most done in the least possible time.”
Once upon at time, efficiency experts and time-management consultants would have been brought into the workplace with one goal in mind: getting the most work possible out of employees. It was a matter of a good “bottom line”.
However, productivity goes far beyond time management. Dustin goes on to say,
“Here’s a different take on what productivity is: You’re being productive when your work is entirely satisfying and fulfilling.”
He touches on some of the qualities that define “entirely satisfying and fulfilling.”
- You grow as a person.
- You enjoy the company of others.
- You are proud of what you’ve completed.
- You feel confident about your abilities.
- You look forward to undertaking the same or similar projects in the future.
- You help others.
- You receive the acclaim of your peers.
Click here to read the entire post
How many of you begin your week by writing a to-do list to
track the things you want to accomplish over the next seven days?
How about writing a weekly ‘To Be’ list capturing
the kinds of personal characteristics you would like to exhibit in the upcoming
A ‘to-be’ list does not focus on scheduled
activities, but rather, focuses on discovering or developing who we are. We are
often defined by what we do. When asked about our lives, we’re more likely to
respond, “I’m a student,” or “I’m a graphic designer,” than, “I’m
compassionate, supportive, or hard-working.”
Similarly, it is easier to write your weekly
to-dos. In some way doing seems more concrete and objective than being.
I’m not saying one is better than the other. In
fact, these aspects of our lives have a kind of symbiotic relationship. The
things we want to accomplish work best when they are aligned with what we what
our lives to be.
I recognize this subject generates considerable
philosophical discussion. Rather than revisit those arguments, I’ll give you
quotes from greater minds:
- “To do is to be” –
- “To be is to do”
- “Do be do be do”
– Frank Sinatra.
Leslie M. Bosserman shares her thoughts on this practice in an article posted at Holstee.
Why not make this a life experiment for the next 8 weeks?
This week, I want to:
- be the best husband I can be;
- be less critical of those with whom I disagree;
- listen more and speak less;
- be supportive of friends going through difficult times;
- more responsive to the requests from the people I serve.
It’s about becoming the people we would like to be.
It’s about becoming the person I would like to be!
Most of my YouTube or television watching centres around cooking; not shows like Food Network challenges, Top Chef or Guy’s Grocery Games. Rather, I enjoy the shows where the hosts demonstrate the preparation of specific dishes. I want to watch Tyler Florence prepare Chicken Paillard or Micheal Smith make no-knead bread and then try the recipe myself.
That’s the essence of a demonstration speech. You demonstrate an
activity and then get your audience committed to trying the activity.
A demonstration speech is the “how to” of public speaking. It
can be more difficult to present than any other type of speech. If something
goes wrong, it can slow down the entire speech or bring it to a halt. While the
fundamentals of preparing and giving any good speech are important, there are
additional considerations for the demonstration speech.
When preparing and presenting a demonstration speech, you need
to think like a Food Network Star.
Know Your Topic
They don’t pick just any old person off the street to host a
cooking show; unless it’s the street where Giada lives. The chefs and cooks demonstrating
the techniques have established themselves in the food-service industry. In
some cases, they are among the finest chefs in the world. They know their
The most important element of giving a demonstration speech is
choosing a topic you know well. The success of your demonstration speech will
hinge on your ability to perform the activity you are demonstrating.
Prepare Your Material
that if Mario
Batali is preparing Zabaglione, he’s going to reach into the
fridge and pull out as many eggs as he needs. You also know he is not going to
stop mid-demonstration and say, “I’m out of olive oil.” Not only do they have
all the ingredients they need, but the ingredients are “mise en place” everything
prepped and in place.
Once you have outlined your demonstration speech, prepare the materials. It’s important to gather all the materials and visual aids you will need and practice with them in advance.
to Your Needs
television chef prepares a dish that requires several hours to complete, the
show doesn’t get any longer. You’re shown how to make the marinade, then the
steaks go into the marinade and into the fridge overnight. Conveniently, the
fridge contains a pan with already-marinated steaks, ready for the next step.
If you are demonstrating a process with steps requiring “waiting
time”, be sure to bring examples of the project at each stage in the process.
Can’t Show, Tell
Alton Brown is the master of this step, on the show Good Eats. He may not be able to show you gluten developing in bread dough, but he’s got three puppets, one chalkboard and a barbershop quartet to help explain the process.
If it’s impossible to demonstrate every step of your topic,
brainstorm for other ways to clearly explain the process.
Always Tell, Show
A good television chef lets the actions speak for themselves.
The chef will say, “add a chopped onion,” and we watch as the onion is chopped
and added to the pan. The chef knows when to pause and let the audience focus
on the action.
use of the pause. This gives opportunity to demonstrate the step and you can
take a breath. The audience can concentrate on what you’re doing and what they need
to do without having to concentrate on your words at the same time.
a Finished Product
the last thing you see Bobby Flay do on Boy Meets Grill?
He slices off a bit of perfectly grilled steak and eats it. We’re left with a
picture of a dish that’s so delicious and simple to make, we want to run out
and fire up the barbeque, even though it’s January and snowing.
Leave your audience with a finished product. If you’re
demonstrating a skill you expect them to use, let them see what it looks like
at the end. They are more likely to try something that they have seen
of a demonstration speech is the same as for a regular speech. It’s important
to spend time organizing your thoughts and what you want to say. However, when
preparing a demonstration speech, it’s important to remember that the
demonstration and visual parts of the presentation are the most important and
the speaking portion, while needing to be strong, should support the task which
you’re demonstrating to the audience.
I didn’t start keeping a journal until I was in my thirties. I’d grown up thinking only girls wrote in diaries. However, once I overcame that misconception and got started, I quickly discovered the benefit and pleasure that came from keeping a journal.
Journals can be effective tools in helping one get organized, in the creative process, or in developing a new habit or skill. However, keeping a journal is a habit in and of itself, and needs to be developed.
Here are 5 tips to help you keep momentum and get the most from your journaling habit:
- Do it your way – There is no “best way” to write in a journal. Correction: there is a best way to write in a journal and that is, what ever works for you. You are not striving for perfection, but for self-expression. Don’t worry about the spelling or the grammar. Turn off the internal editor.
- Be honest – This is the place to be honest with yourself. Write about the way you feel, not the way you think you should feel. This is not the place to worry about what others might think of you. Even if you have problems showing your true self to others, you owe it to yourself to be honest in your journal.
- Go deep – That is, let your feelings out. You can keep a journal which merely records the events of your life, and there’s nothing wrong with that, or you can add to its benefit by recording how you felt about what was going on. Your feelings can be symptoms of things not working well, which need to be corrected or adjusted. Your feelings can be celebrations of accomplishments, which motivate you forward to your next goal.
- Experiment – Find the format that suits you best: loose-leaf binder, cheap notebook, Moleskine (aff), leather-bound diary, all can work. Should you write first thing in the morning or last thing at night? Are you more comfortable in the quiet of your bedroom or in a public coffee shop? You can fill a page every day, or like Gretchen Rubin, in The Happiness Project (aff), keep a one-sentence journal. Experiment with the process to find what is best.
- Relax – Keeping a journal should not be a grim chore. If you see it that way, you’re not likely to keep it up for too long. Approach it in the spirit of creative play; an enjoyable, quiet-time gift to yourself.
Enjoy your journaling!