Tag Archives: difficulty writing

Day 81

Today I sorted a collection of tickets. Some of them are bus tickets and some relate to things like toll bridges and ferries, but many of them are considerably less interesting than that. Fortunately I have the day off tomorrow and will do some exercises to raise my enthusiasm levels.

Some of them have adverts on the back, and at least one of the adverts refers to rationing, so I’m guessing they go back to the 1940s in some cases.

After looking at all the pictures from previous years, I am starting to feel restless and would like to get out more. All I need to do is find a place that is crammed with interest, devoid of people, and accessible to a man with bad knees and a stick. It’s not as easy as it sounds.

I’m hoping to get an early start tomorrow and get a parking space close to phlebotomy for my overdue blood tests. After that I have a couple of errands to do and plan on spending the rest of the day getting to grips with some writing.

It’s all about practice. The more you write, the better you get. When I decided to start writing poetry again, about the time I started writing this blog, it must have taken a good two years before I started writing to an acceptable level.

This time, six months after being ill, I am struggling again. The quality is OK now, but the quantity isn’t there yet and I’m looking at four deadlines at the end of the week and only enough material for one submission.

That’s why I need a major effort tomorrow – lots of editing to do.

I Learn About Dogberryisms

I was just reading a comment on something I said recently when I thought of a subject for a post. I didn’t manage to write anything yesterday because I left it late and then had so much to say I couldn’t do it coherently.

Helen mentioned proofreading, and it set something off in my head.

Once, I was asked to proofread some documents. They were dull, repetitive, badly organised and owed more than a little to Mrs Malaprop. I resisted the temptation to rewrite everything, because that would be rude. I resisted the temptation for humour at the expense of the writer, because they were obviously doing their best.

In short, I was polite. I corrected the spelling mistakes and typos and I substituted the correct word. I can’t remember the exact word but it was a common mistake, something in the order of purposely purposefully. No big deal.  Then I sent the correction off and got on with my proper work.

A week or so later the agenda for the Management Committee meeting came out and included an item on “proofreading”. If they’d called it “vitriolic personal attack on Simon” it would have been more accurate.

Anyway, we got to Item 3 “Proofreading”, and the committee member concerned took a deep breath before launching her attack.

Random Robin

Several weeks previously the farm had tested bushcraft/mindfulness workshop put on by someone who was doing a psychology course. It was not, for a number of reasons, my sort of thing and as it was on my day off, I didn’t go.

However, I was told, I should have gone because that would have taught me the proper way to bring up the issue of corrections and I would have avoided hurting the feelings of the writer. I should, she told me, have mentioned something good about the work she did, given her the corrections and then gone on to say something nice about her work again.

This, of course, assumed that she had ever done two pieces of decent work. I am not convinced, from what I saw, that this was the case.

You may recognise the technique. In polite circles it’s known as the “praise sandwich“, the “feedback sandwich”, the “sandwich technique” or the “constructive criticism sandwich”. It’s an insincere and predictable technique, which often fails to get the message across and has never, as far as I can remember, been considered a good technique, except by people who write books on how to manage. And yes, there is another term for it.

I smiled, apologised for my lack of  manners and management sophistication and prepared for Item 4.

That was when the floodgates opened. I was, it seems, rude, arrogant and totally lacking in empathy. Unlike me, she didn’t have a degree or a good education and she was doing her best. Blah, blah, blah…

The Ecocentre – scene of the vitriolic personal attack

It seemed like a long time, though it was probably only a few minutes. I switched off and let it run its course. The irony, of course, is that I don’t have a degree. However, you don’t need a degree when you have a dictionary and know what order the letters are in.

I believe that best practice in management is to praise people when you can, and when they need correcting giv e it to them straight. If you give praise where it is due there should be no need to dress the criticism up.

So, how does this relate to anything? or is it just an Ancient Blogger rattling on to fill space?

Well, it relates to criticising blogs. I was very tempted to comment negatively on a blog post this week because somebody was commenting on the Harry and Meghan interview. Unfortunately they seemed to believe everything said about it by (a) Meghan and (b) a number of American journalists. The post and the journalists relied mainly on opinion, and when facts were available in two cases they didn’t use them.

However, do I have the right to go onto another blog and criticise it? Is it really important? Harry and Meghan are, in truth, not important. They think they are, but that is a different matter.  When I find a blog I don’t like or a blogger who irritates me I try to avoid them rather than argue.

This brings up my three questions. One is just a repeat of the one above – do we have a right to go on someone’s blog and disagree or criticise?

Two, if that blog is deliberately provocative, does this alter the answer?

Photo by Kirsten Bu00fchne on Pexels.com

Three, if we don’t argue, are we validating their points? By not engaging in a debate about the veracity of everything said by Harry and Meghan, am I actually helping them to establish their version of the facts as truth?

And for those of you who don’t follow the links – a Dogberryism is the same as a malapropism. This is something I learned today, which illustrates the difference between having a degree and having an education.

Christmas Stamps

Empty Head – Empty Afternoon

I’ve dropped Julia at work, shopped, visited and made a vegetable stew. I then sat down with the intention of writing a gripping narrative of my morning and found that I feel like I’m sitting here with a big ball of cotton wool where my brains usually are. Nothing is taking shape and the time is slowly dribbling away.

Tomorrow I intend breaking the law, which I don’t really want to do. It is a small infraction but if everyone does it, it soon becomes a major problem. It is also hypocritical as I have previously been very critical of people who have broken the laws relating to disease control. The trouble is that the offence is small enough for me to tell myself it’s unimportant. It is also a drop in the ocean compared to the recent  mass migration of Londoners. However, all those Londoners were doing was the same that I am going to do – travel a few days early. It doesn’t seem too bad if you say it like that, but in big enough numbers everything builds up to a tsunami of variant Covid virus.

The first of my warning alarms has just gone off – time to wrap this up and collect Julia. That’s assuming it’s possible to wrap something up when you haven’t really started.

I need 312 words to hit the 250 limit, and a quick mention that the header picture is a type of Christmas stamp I haven’t seen before may well get me over the line. It has. The 63p stamp is from an older series but the £2.55 stamps are for this year’s large letters up to 100g to World Zone 2 (Australia and New Zealand and a few other places). It was a bulk lot of coins and needed quite a lot of postage.

I bought chocolate brownies this morning, so I predict a nice cup of tea in the near future. Suddenly it’s all looking up.