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RRUDEPARANORMAL's Photo RRUDEPARANORMAL SparkPoints: (7,471)
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7/13/14 3:35 P

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I've got a free app on my phone called Vice Recorder. When it gets bad, I just talk into it.

Renae Rude - The Paranormalist theparanormalist.wordpress.com/
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SUEFROMRI's Photo SUEFROMRI Posts: 473
7/13/14 1:50 P

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What do you do when ideas for edits are coming too fast to write (or type)? My head is spinning with ideas this week!


Sue
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"Your future self is the cumulative total of today's choices. Today make your best choices." ~Sue Winn
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4/10/14 2:03 P

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That's very true. I like 3rd person better, but then I write a good bit of romance and I write guys freakishly well :) But I think your typing approach is a great idea! You can do this!!

Life is not fair, or unfair, it is simply what you make of it!


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4/9/14 4:58 P

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I am having motivational issues too. I just can't seem to make the time to retype my story.
I am changing from third person to first person so I decided to work off a paper copy and retype it rather than edit directly from my file. That way I can pencil in notes on each chapter before I go on.
If only the Dragon Naturally Speaking was more accurate. (sigh) Writing is more fun than rewriting.



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"Your future self is the cumulative total of today's choices. Today make your best choices." ~Sue Winn
“Attitude: It is our best friend or our worst enemy.” ~ Maxwell
“You can complain that roses have thorns, or rejoice that thorns have roses.” ~Ziggy

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4/8/14 12:03 P

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I'm having motivation issues. Both with my writing and my life. It's not that I can't get things done. I'm going to the gym, eating pretty well (for me at this point at least), the house is clean. But beyond that, there's something wrong. I can't even describe it well. Am I scared? Yes. What are my fears? If I could put a name to them, I would. It feels like pretty much everything that could help me move forward emotionally. I could really use a friend (or friends!?) to just listen and be there. I have some, so I'm glad I'm not alone, but it's going to take more I'm afraid :( Help?

Life is not fair, or unfair, it is simply what you make of it!


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3/12/14 6:06 P

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Thanks, there seems to be quite a few great ideas coming out of this.

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MADEIT3's Photo MADEIT3 Posts: 2,586
3/11/14 9:15 P

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I agree with RRUDEPARANORMAL and MARCIA_DC. Practice makes perfect. We all have learned that!!

Great ideas team. VANDERBOOM - let us know what happens. You have a tough assignment beyond teaching what you want folks to write!!

Stacy, KS

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3/11/14 5:59 P

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MARCIA_DC: I LOVE the strike-out idea. Nothing educates better than a hands-on task like that, in my opinion.

Renae Rude - The Paranormalist theparanormalist.wordpress.com/
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3/11/14 5:54 P

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I have both technical / business writing experience and creative writing experience as well. (I won a small screenplay contest conducted by an alum of Saturday Night Live.)

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3/11/14 5:52 P

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Give each person a segment of about 25 pages, the same pages. Ask them to go through and strike out every unnecessary word. After they've done this, let them compare notes regarding how they were each able to reduce the verbiage.

This isn't your typical exercise, but it gets the message across fairly quickly because students get both practice and an opportunity to learn from others.

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3/11/14 5:30 P

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JTOWAN - 3/1/2014
I get your question, totally. Did you find a solution? I'm going through something similar.



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3/11/14 4:47 P

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I love all of your ideas and if I ever write anything that is not fiction I am going to definitely use your ideas. Other than a cheerleader, I am pretty useless on this subject. So Rah, Rah, go get 'em, you can do it. Helpful? emoticon

~Marcy ~

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Do it now or forever wish you had.

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3/10/14 8:07 P

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LOL! I admire creative writers so much! I think it's really hard! But I also think we're kindred spirits - all we writers :) emoticon

Why not me?


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3/10/14 8:04 P

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I like that active/passive voice idea. I'll think about that!

Thanks - emoticon

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HEALTHYWRITER's Photo HEALTHYWRITER Posts: 1,229
3/8/14 1:59 P

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Sounds interesting! But you probably DO want them to use full sentences. At least on the real stuff.

Consistency is important, too. I had one editor who suggested a fairly simple change - to put the "where" first, then the verb, then the expected result. (For example, On the main menu at the upper left corner of the window, click File, then click New. The New file dialog appears. [picture]) I'd been varying it (or assuming, even on first reference, that they knew where the File menu was) to avoid the reader's eyes glazing over in boredom. But I think in tech writing, consistency is better. Your eyes skim to find what you need, when you need it. You don't read in a linear fashion, cover to cover, like it's a novel.

I also learned that subject matter experts tend to skip important steps they assume everyone knows you need to do - like "press the Enter key." (Granted, you're probably not doing software docs here - but this still applies. Don't assume any step doesn't need to be mentioned, even if it's only in four words, like "Press the Enter key.") But don't give me a history of the Enter key, because in task oriented docs, I don't care. Maybe later, I could care about history and theory, if it's interesting and I need a deeper understanding. But I don't have to understand residential wiring in order to flip the light switch on.

Also, think recipes - and structured writing. In a GOOD recipe, you have the name of the dish and (optionally) prep time. You always have a list of ingredients (things you need on hand so you're not chasing them down halfway through the procedure), followed by a list of steps (the procedure), followed (usually) by the number of expected servings and nutrition facts (essential IF it's a diet cookbook, but not so much if it's "Decadent Desserts" - know your audience). You can provide more, but not less.

So figure out, with your subject matter experts, what's REALLY essential. Ask them what a newbie needs if they only have 15 minutes (depending on actual time required) to read and accomplish the task. I used to tell people to give me only what I needed to know to back out of a problem, restart the job, and have a report on the executive's desk when everything bombed at 3 AM and I was brain-dead.

P.S. If you can impress upon them a sense of urgency and a cost/consequence to THEM of any failure of the reader to accomplish the task (like, they'll have to clean up the mess, later), it helps. I used to run into subject matter experts who considered their own hand-scribbled Post-It Notes, drawers full of them, to be perfectly complete "documentation." I said, "Look, help me help you. Do you ever want to go on vacation? Will you want to come back after someone tries to do your job for three weeks, using only your Post-Its for a guide? Do you want a promotion? Retirement? Because if it's all up in your head, or no one understands it, you're going to die chained to this desk." Funny how motivating that little speech was. You could just see the light bulb go on over their heads.

Edited by: HEALTHYWRITER at: 3/8/2014 (14:04)
"Outside of a dog, a book is man''s best friend. Inside of a dog, it''s too dark to read." -- Groucho Marx

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MADEIT3's Photo MADEIT3 Posts: 2,586
3/8/14 9:01 A

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VANDERBOOM - since you're working with folks who normally use a lot of words, the exercise you have in mind may help.

I thought of one other thing that I used with my RFP writers that came out of the academic or clinical worlds, and that was to teach the difference between active and passive voice.

Sitting here wiith curiosity ... let us know how it turns out.

Stacy, KS

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RRUDEPARANORMAL's Photo RRUDEPARANORMAL SparkPoints: (7,471)
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3/8/14 2:52 A

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This is a fascinating thread, and as a straight up creative writer, I have no business being here! Still I had to come in to say that the proposed exercises sound like a blast.

I don't know what I expected to find here, but this wasn't it :)

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3/7/14 9:14 P

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Thanks HEALTHYWRITER and let's hear it for sprouts! I'm going to do an exercise I just made up. I need them to write less not more so will try a " five words or less" activity. I'll give them quotes that are fairly short anyway and ask them to convey the idea of the quote in 5 words or less. What do you think?




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MADEIT3's Photo MADEIT3 Posts: 2,586
3/7/14 11:46 A

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Thank you HEALTHYWRITER. VANDERBOOM - this may be helpful to you! I've done some of the "describe how-to" exercises with the senior executive teams I used to work with and found them moderately successful. I really believe it all depends on your audience.

Whew - so glad that the most I have to worry about is whether my broccoli seeds sprout and my ginger carrot soup turns out okay!!

Stacy, KS

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HEALTHYWRITER's Photo HEALTHYWRITER Posts: 1,229
3/7/14 9:35 A

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The best approach may be to invite someone from the intended audience in to test the results - have them look for the point at which the reader's eyes glaze over or they start making mistakes in the procedure. Sometimes, a demonstration is most helpful.

You could also try a modified peanut butter and jelly sandwich exercise - have them turn their backs to each other and have one explain how to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich while the other does it (you know this one? you make sure that the bread's still in the bag, twist tie on it, among other things). You could overly complicate the process by adding in a lot of unneeded verbiage to frustrate the one following the instructions. ;)

Sometimes it's not just a matter of the writing itself - they need a demo of what's meant by "wordy nerdy." Because they don't get it until it applies to them, or until they see the results in action.

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HEALTHYWRITER's Photo HEALTHYWRITER Posts: 1,229
3/7/14 9:29 A

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"I'd give myself about a C+ for the results, mainly because not everyone being trained could get hold of what I meant by a "verb." Scary."

emoticon

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3/2/14 3:01 P

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Hahaha! Hopefully a group of education coordinators will know what verbs are but I won't assume... thanks!

emoticon

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3/2/14 12:41 P

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VANDERBOOM -

Wow - tough assignment! The only thing I can think of that comes close is training customer service folks to write online instructions for health professionals to follow. The approach I used was simple. Practice writing sentences that start with an action VERB (Do) followed by simple details. I'd give myself about a C+ for the results, mainly because not everyone being trained could get hold of what I meant by a "verb." Scary.

Others on the team may have some thoughts, although not everyone will check here. We can certainly send out a HELP Spark mail if you wish...

Stacy, KS

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3/2/14 12:05 P

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Background:
I have a major technical writing project I'm working on as a contractor for an educational organization. The project integrates two similar early childhood education program manuals. One is a federal program, and one is a state-funded program. The deliverable is one Manual. There's a total of 1300 documents of various types - procedures, forms, policies and guidance. I'm using an Agile project mgmt approach, using the Scrum framework, which I love.

(http://www.scrumstudy.com/agile-project
-management.asp?gclid=CLOF8fSk9LwCFQ-D
fgod-BAAgA)

http://youtu.be/aP3TBpWWwJ8

Help request:
I have to quickly train 12 subject matter specialists how compare similar documents from the 2 manuals that are way too "nerdy-wordy" and to produce one written document. I need writing exercises to use in a training session that will help these writers practice ways to write less and communicate what's most important. I know this is asking for miracles but I know someone on our team has had to do something like this a trainer, right? Thanks!

Edited by: VANDERBOOM at: 3/2/2014 (12:07)
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3/1/14 9:17 A

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JTOWAN - if I'm understanding correctly, you are mixing a research thesis with personal experience and observation. So the point where you're getting stuck is which to do first, right or left brain.

I wonder if thinking of the proposal as marketing copy would help you sit down and right it. You're trying to sell your committee on the premise. And marketing combines right and left brain processes so that you do both almost simultaneously. In your case, your research is your evidence, just as it would be in marketing copy.

Let me know if that helps any...

Edited by: MADEIT3 at: 3/1/2014 (09:18)
Stacy, KS

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JULIANNETK's Photo JULIANNETK Posts: 145
3/1/14 7:57 A

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I think Stacy is on to something when speaking to the thesis committee. My masters is in transpersonal studies. While I need to write a technical proposal, the book itself is on self-trust. This might be where I'm stuck, for I am committed to writing this book from my heart, connecting to the hearts of others through the written word. The marriage of transpersonal and traditional might be the challenge as I work on my proposal. The proposal is technical yet describes how my thesis includes transpersonal topics (e.g. transformational work, intuition, extraordinary experiences, mysticism, "E.SP.", dream work, meditation, altered states, spiritual mentorship, etc.), an outline of chapters, and references that will be used. I think I have a concern of how to I write from my right brain within a left brain format (the outline of the book).

It's actually not a "thesis" per se - it is the "culminating project" - which could be a thesis, experiment, creative project or community service. Technically I am doing a creative project.

Perfect things change quickest.


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POPEYETHETURTLE's Photo POPEYETHETURTLE SparkPoints: (218,041)
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2/28/14 11:24 P

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Give us a hint or two, please.

You are writing a book for your thesis, but inexactly what area?

Is this technical writing, non-fiction or, if you are an English major, could it be fiction.

We have members on our team of almost every type, but in helping, we need Your help. There are a number of Very creative people on our team, please let us assist you.

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2/28/14 8:04 A

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Sounds like you got stuck mentally?

One of the thing that makes a thesis difficult is the intensity of defending it! I remember a friend of mine took three years to put her thesis together because she was so afraid of being "wrong." Another friend spent most of his time thinking about his thesis - mostly trying to answer the question "what if..." - and got "lost" in business meetings until the process was over.

From my perspective and experience, it's best to think of the entire process - beginning to end - as a chance for you to learn from others. You may not think that your thesis committee is the brightest or the most talented, but that's beside the point. You are the student and there to learn. That may free you up to do what needs to be done.

Don't know if that will help you. Others may have a different perspective.



Stacy, KS

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2/28/14 7:30 A

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Hi all you wonderful writers! While I'm doing really great with my exercise and nutrition goals, I haven't written in over 3 weeks. I woke this morning realizing my proposal really is due now! I wrote a draft, looked it over about 10 times, and am totally stopped in this area. I would love some words of inspiration, your experience etc. I'm writing a book for my thesis to complete graduate school, and the first line of order is to complete my proposal and get it approved. Thanks for taking the time to support me and our team!

Perfect things change quickest.


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2/20/14 10:33 A

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POPEYE, RRUDEPARANORMAL, and I are with JARBRITT and will be checking too. And we also may be asking for help from YOU. We certainly don't have all the answers!


Stacy, KS

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2/19/14 8:19 P

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In order to avoid your request getting lost, we have set up a special thread for anyone who needs or wants help. Please do not hesitate to post here. This is for anyone having a rough day or needs some advice, encouragement, or answers to a question. The team leaders will be checking it daily. You are also encouraged to check it when you can. I certainly do not have all the answers but together we can make this work. We are all here to help and encourage each other.

~Marcy ~

Follow your dreams wherever they may lead you.

Do it now or forever wish you had.

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