I digress (1)

Today I’ve come to the inevitable conclusion that my version of multitasking is one that is disorganised, crazy, organic and creative. The latter two are proof of a silver lining in my professional pursuits. Even if priorities are achieved slowly.

Doing more only to do less – do we glorify busy?

I am a follower of this principle and it has to stop today.

Campari and Sofa

Stop the glorification of busy.My friend Gavin was telling me about a conversation he had with some Dutch colleagues. Gavin, and his compadre Georgina, find that the sheer volume of work they are confronted with on a weekly basis is just un-doable within the confines of a normal 8-hour work day. So they regularly put in 10-hour days at the office. And another couple of hours at home picking up emails. This causes all sorts of problems: they’re tired all the time, their spouses feel ignored, they don’t want to go out at night or over the weekend and they lose touch with friends.

Hmmfff…”, said their pals, “In Holland, if you were to work like that we would think you were not coping.”

“Am I”, he wondered, “not coping? Or am I doing more than I should? And if I am doing more than I should –  what should I stop doing? And…

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Cringe worthy

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Just because you cringe doesn’t make it good or bad. It just means it’s hit a sensitive nerve and your brain is telling you to respond with disapproval. Well, I think so.
I challenge anyone who hasn’t flicked the channel to get relief from reality TV sob story worthy of a Today Tonight or ACA news story. In fact, I flick so much I should permanently set my remote to “channel surfing” mode – if there were such a mode. I channel surf for the mere fact that I am impatient, prone to eye rolling and of course, cursing at the screen for issues I have very little understanding and patience for; politics included. It would take a compelling and very special program indeed, to keep my interest for at least a half hour and 90 minutes at most.
Returning to my initial thought of ‘cringing’ – I avoid reality based programming for this sole reason. Very rarely do programs like ‘American Idol’ or ‘My Kitchen Rules’ or ‘Masterchef or more recently, ‘The Voice’ manage to sustain my interest given their now, vehemently stylised packages, quick editing, fly-on-the-wall perspectives and the already mentioned, sob stories which apparently come ‘naturally’ to contestants of these reality based programs. It’s fair to say then that the stylised drama is what in fact, makes me cringe. The drama which goes along every single episode, every action and every judges’ remarks are to me and I’m sure to others, what fascinates avid viewers the most.
Another pet hate for cringe-worthiness is the shameless (er, paid) advertising featured heavily in these shows. Perhaps, my cringing at this rises from my deep suspicion that media producers treat audiences like dummies with some having little to no clue that what they’re watching is actually one HUGE advertorial packaged as ‘reality’. Conspiracy theories aside – yes, I do know what the bottom line of the media is but live in hope that one day ‘reality’ programming becomes more informative and topical rather than what it is currently: cringe-worthy.

How to make things better without self-destructing

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Purchasing a self-help book is one way of admitting your faults without telling the world you need serious help, right? This is a rhetorical question of course, or one that I keep asking myself when I (again) fork out $40+ for a book which will help me relax, feed my spirituality (or lack of), remove my anxieties, meet ‘the one’, ease my anxieties about meeting ‘the one’, become a better saver, daughter, lover, teacher, writer etc. etc. etc. Hell, the ‘Dummies’ franchise has probably made a significant profit just from my purchases alone. That said, I stand by my premise that assumes failure in one’s abilities, be it personal, professional or both, when investing in such “non-fiction” texts. “Non-fiction” because as a reader I accept the information I’m reading as the truth or fact, and because of this I will be a better person for it. At least that’s what I want to believe. My dilemma is applying the truth/fact to my life and going about it in a way that would a. be sustainable and b. realistic. I have failed to mention the need for family/friends to accept what I’m doing as a good thing. Yes, I have always been the one to please and perhaps, that’s another self-help book waiting to be bought. 

I admit “failure” is a horrendous word to be using to describe my need for constant self-improvement, but again isn’t that what self-help is all about? What I am suggesting is that publishing itself, just like the fashion industry, cultivates this “failure” and takes advantage of readers’ vulnerabilities in order to make a sale. I say this with the knowledge and acceptance that I am one of those readers. My only hope is that one day, I would spend less time trying to make things better and actually appreciate that failures are only some parts of a person and therefore, of me.

What Hemingway Can Teach You About Web Writing

Hemingway would blog? Maybe.

101 Books

William Faulkner once said, “[Hemingway] has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary.”

Hemingway responded: “Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?”

No surprise here if you’ve read my review of The Sound And The Fury, but I stand in Hemingway’s camp on this one. To me, the best writing is clear, simple, and to the point.

That’s why I think anyone who writes web copy, whether it’s a blog, an article, and especially any form of marketing content, should look long and hard at Hemingway’s writing style.

As a guy who spends all day writing for the web, I’ve probably been subconsciously using Hemingway’s style for years. With that, here’s what I think Hemingway can teach you about writing for the internets.

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