Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Identify Your Readers

Found these awesome tips on properly identifying your readers.  Something we could all probably use more help with.  Check it out:

Identify Your Reader:
  • Your reader reads words, not minds. Never assume that your audience understands your meaning implicitly. You must strive to outline your message with precise wording to avoid a breakdown in communication.
  • Your reader “boils things down.” Your audience will read each sentence and seek out the key idea.
  • Your reader will misunderstand you, given the chance. This statement is particularly true if you are writing to a manager—a reader who tends to view each situation with optimism.
  • Your reader does not have to read what you write. It is your job to make your prose feel effortless to read.
  • Your reader is impatient. Your reader expects your sentences to be efficient, requiring one read for comprehension.
So yeah it's framed from a negative angle, but it makes a great point!

Some Twitter Etiquette Hints and Tips

Went through a couple of nice lists on twitter usage.  The following tips struck me good.  Time to start following them!

  • No more than 1 self- promotion for every 10 messages about others - maybe even 1:20 ratio
  • Use less than 140 characters. Leave room for others. Leave 10 or more characters blank
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for a retweet when it’s really important - like helping someone else
  • Promote other people’s stuff (blog posts, photos, websites)
  • Schedule twee ts so you don't flood your followers (bufferapp rocks!)
More to come, I'm sure.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Yargo's Golden Device

Car screaming - music blaring - not another soul in sight.  I was all alone on what had to be the most deserted road in America.

I put my foot even harder on the pedal and prayed there were no cops around.  Wind gashing at me through the cracks in the windows.  I wasn't quite sure what that note from Maud had meant... I just had to go.

She left me a small note on the receipt from breakfast the other day.  Said something about a golden device.

We ate at Yargo's Diner every 3rd Sunday of the month and it was her turn to pay again.  Only this time - she looked a little weird.  She had this strange bump on her head and was talking nonsense.

"Whoa, whoa whoa!  Slow down Maud.  This isn't school anymore - we can take it slow.  I know I act like a 2nd grader sometimes, but seriously - get a grip!" I said.

"Sorry," Maud let out with a pant, "I'm just so... so... weirded out by the feel of this place now.  I had a dream."

"What?  Oh not this again."

"Whatever.  I don't have time for this."  She said gripping the table to stand up.

I grabbed her hand and tilted her chin toward my direction.  "Maud - I didn't mean..."

"Look, I don't have time.  You have to find the pole in the wide open dust.  That's all I can tell you.  I've got to go."

"...I don't know what you're talking about.  You mean the old stomping grounds?" I said, confused.

"Maybe - I haven't been." She said, recoiling her hand.  "I just feel different about this one, Bud.  Something different.  I gotta go."

"Fine," I said, "but I'll collect the gas money next Sunday!"

* * *

You know, I never saw her again.  I think it had something to do with the device I found buried near that old flag-pole.  Not to mention my hand hasn’t been the same since.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gigantic Glass Wall

I stood there at the gate.  Not really sure what to do but crawl under.  The posts were enormous at my height.

Something strange had happened the night before in the wretched November storm.  I awoke early in the morning by a barrage of white flashes through my bedroom window.  Startled, I hobbled into the living room with a slab of annoyance on my back.

I briefly peered out the back door's wide opening to see a small figure.  Almost gnome-like, but with ears at least a foot long and 's' shaped.  It just stood there... staring.  I say 'it', but he had the appearance of a rather gruff old man - in fireplace mantle size.

I couldn't think of what else to do but go out onto the back porch.  Surely, I had to be in some type of sleep-induced stupor.  This couldn't be real.  I had nothing funny to eat or drink the night before.  Though, I'll admit, that extra piece of cake after dinner was unnecessary.

The door cracked as I gently tugged inward and another quick flash temporarily blinded me.

When my eyes readjusted to the darkness, I couldn't help but notice that the gnome-man had grown!  I'm not talking a mere couple of inches.  We were now standing eye to eye and nose to nose!

I had a full heart to jump back and crash through the door's glass.  But instead, I just froze.  Staring.  Wondering who would make the first move... if I even had a chance to make a move.

"You are but a wheat top waving in the storm's breath, Harry." He let out with a low grumble.

"What?  My name's Richard, this is my house, and I was trying to sleep!" I said.

"A breath is but a passing moment in such a short life-span, child."

"Look - I don't know what you're talking about... how'd you get so big, anyway?"

"You are surrounded by confusion.  Your perspective has changed, yes, but it is not I you need worry about."

I took a quick glance around.  There beside me stood a 10' tall set of porch furniture... or at least it seemed that way.  The door - that passageway to this mess - had turned into a gigantic glass wall, the metal knob taunting me from floors above.

"WHAT!  What the hell did you do to me?!"

"Your setting is wrong - this is no doing of the Darkland, friend.  This is a gift.  This is your portal to life as it is meant to be seen.  Your veil has been lifted, little one.  Be free.  Just be."

The gnome-man vanished without a trace.  I stood alone on my back porch, in my underwear, which would now be mistaken for a Ken-doll's clothing, and not a bit of the whole made sense.

The only thing that came to mind was had I sprayed for fire-ants, yet?  This was going to be a rough night.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Become a Better Writer - One Scheduled Free-Writing Session at a Time

I've finally decided to open up another blog.  Not one that really matters too much to anyone else but myself.

Still reading?  :)

A few days back, I did a "time inventory" on how I spend my "free time" at night.  I culled a lot of the crap stuff (like Empire Avenue, too much YouTube, and way too much stats checking for everything else).

So what?  What does this have to do with free-writing sessions?  Good questions!

I now have a lean and mean schedule go-by posted right smack in front of my face!  I have 2 main posts days (Sunday and Wednesday) for articles over on my main site:  But since I want to keep my writing mind fresh - I've scheduled free-writing sessions for the other days of the week.

I am going to use this blog as an archive of these creations.

I'll be testing out writing-craft tools, methods, ideas, or just plain messing around.

I realize I am talking to myself... but dog-gone-it... I'm okay with that.  I'm special.  People like me.  People like me, like me.  I like me.  Me.

What?  I need a nap.