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Touching Base

August 23, 2012 Leave a comment

It’s been several days since my last appearance here. I’ve had a friend and colleague visiting for the past several days. Meena Rose graced us with her loveliness and brilliance.

Today has been one of cleansing websites, blogs, and general upkeep on the net. It’s amazing how much crud accumulates on a daily basis and then has to be swept out of the corners during housekeeping. During the process of this upkeep, we’ve been moving our personal blogs over to Two Voices, One Song.

This is an attempt to reduce our continued workload.  Each of us have other projects we’d really like to get back to. Having everything in one place will make that easier for us.

My blog Claudsy’s Calliope is being moved and reorganized as I write this. Claudsy’s Blog will be the next in line for the transfer.

Tomorrow I will post a new URL for this blog so that all of  its followers can decide whether they want to remain loyal and move with it or to cut ties and run. I’m hoping that everyone stays with Claudsy’s Blog and Calliope. I have plenty more to say and things I’d like to work on within the blogs.

There you have it, folks. I’ve so enjoyed having everyone coming here, and I admit a sense of guilt this past month or so for having been absent so much. I should be able to write more frequently on the blogs once all is together. That’s my current plan.

Remember–it will be one-stop-shopping at Two Voices, One Song at http://www.2voices1one.com/

Hope to see you there soon. A bientot,

Claudsy

 

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E.C.’s and Finite Walls

June 5, 2012 2 comments
Microsoft Excel spreadsheet

Microsoft Excel spreadsheet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently learned that a controversy brewed about the real use of the editorial calendar. I’m new to this tool of the writing business, but I never realized that such a tool could have so many sides. Who knew that which deadline date one uses was controversial?

Here you have spreadsheet with columns and rows of items. Columns, for me, relate to the days of the week. The rows house the activities required for those days. Some people use the opposite approach. Call me traditional with calendars. Days belong across the top of the sheet.

Those activities plugged into the spreadsheet range from book chapters that must go to a critique partner/group to poem revisions necessary before submitting a packet to a magazine. Everything goes on the calendar; at least in my work world. I also need to allot for time spent on said activity. I know. I’m a bit anal due to having so many projects on the board.

The one thing that I don’t understand about this calendar debate is why it exists. Yes, some writers use a submission deadline date supplied by the magazine, publisher, agent, etc. Others like me, like lots of cushion to account for unforeseen circumstances, and plug a project into a day prior to the actual deadline date.

Isn’t it a matter of needs?

Everyone has a specific way of thinking about work and deadlines. I see deadlines as finite walls. There are no doors in those walls. If I can’t make a deadline, it’s my fault. I knew it was there. I knew what I needed to do. If I don’t make it, it’s because I didn’t prepare adequately to get the job done. It’s really that simple.

In order to make the deadline, I place a date a few days prior to that of the finite wall. In the back of my mind, I know that cushion is built in. In the day-to-day work, though, that realization tends to disappear. My calendar tells me that I need to have something done on a specific day. And that’s what I do.

Others may not need that cushion. They work better under pressure to make deadline. That’s how their creativity erupts; but a sense of immediate need.

I work on a monthly calendar and a weekly one. One gives a longer overview, especially because of coursework I need to keep in mind. The short week calendar gives me detail on upcoming work and deadlines. They operate in tandem to give me all I need to keep my activity level constant.

I haven’t been doing a calendar prior to May. I don’t enjoy the time spent creating them. For me, it’s tedious, but the hour or two I spend on those spreadsheets saves me tons in frustration, panic, and unnecessary backtracking. It’s time so well spent that I doubt I would ever go without one again.

Tell me about your experience with editorial calendars. Has your E.C. friend saved you from disgrace, time lost, lack of production? Drop it in a comment. Sharing is always good. If you have different take on this subject, let us see that, too.

Later, all. A bientot,

Claudsy

Tech Use and Shorthand

January 2, 2012 11 comments

Anyone who takes the time to think about it has realized how much of our communications have devolved into graphics and monosyllabic use in the past couple of decades. Technology use, rather than the technology itself, appears to be the culprit in this case. Keep in mind the EMOTICON.

Whether emoticons came first or the graphics 🙂 people latched onto them immediately. Twitter, texting, and other networking uses demand similar communications skills.

Writers get hit with communication shorthand as much as anyone else. To truncate speech or not, that is the question. There’s no clear answer.

We’re accustomed to using shorthand for written note-taking and dictation. Some will ask “What is shorthand?”

Shorthand was a human skill, a hand-written encoded form used as late as the early ‘80’s, when the Dictaphone took over operations. All well-paid professional secretaries were required to have the skill. It’s fantastic for taking notes in university classes, too.

It fell out of favor, considered labor intensive and inefficient around 1980 and was replaced by dictating machines. In this century we have Dragon and other voice recognition specialty software that will take your dictation and produce your text.

Of course, Dragon can only do what its user tells it to do. It’s fast and that’s deemed important in today’s world. It takes dictation and writes it to a file. All punctuation, word choice, syntax, etc. must come from the user, which is as it should be. Yet, none of these conveniences can help the user until the user has “taught” her dragon how to recognize her speech patterns and the like.

In the “old” days the one dictating expected the secretary to come fully loaded (no pun intended) and already programmed with all the skills necessary for the job. Dragon doesn’t expect a paycheck at the end of the week, which gives it another advantage.

What does any of this history have to do with today’s use of the shortcuts in written communications? Actually, it relates well how our use of language evolves and changes within its mediums of expression.

Verbally, people can have entire conversations without using more than one hundred or less real words. Comedians do skits about this truth all the time. Ask Jeff Foxworthy.

We use verbal shorthand and probably always have used it. Hmm, um, ah, oh, huh, etc. are all part of the lexicon of communication’s shortcuts. Body language falls into a sister category of communications. Recognize the pattern here?

If you follow Foxworthy, you’ll know many of  the Phrase-Turned-Word combinations which complete a conversation which uses only one real sentence and the rest filled with PTW combos.

PTW’s, such as “yantu”, “j’eatyet”, and of course, “y’all” all get used on a regular basis, and not just as Redneck words used in the South. Common use words like “gonna” or “whatya” can be heard anywhere on any day. These “words” are comfortable and easily transfer from one region to the next. That reason alone might be why the word “ain’t” could never be successfully stomped out of use and was finally added to the dictionary.

Humans redefine and create new language each day. We do it for convenience’s sake, for jargon needs, and just to bug other people. “Bug” See what I mean. The old ‘50’s-‘60’s word still gets used and understood so many years after its creative definition shift.

We use emoticons to express emotions without having to verbally define them, a visual cue to our body language when line of sight is impossible. Graphic display of emotions serves the same purpose; expression without words.

Writers must use words to create mood, express characters’ emotions, etc. Today’s technological shorthand both encourages expression and redefines its use. The quality that disturbs some writers like me, however, is whether its use will soon disrupt an individual’s ability to express herself in words instead of graphics.

I’d like to know how others feel about the rampant use of verbal shorthand across today’s world. It brings us together, allows one to say much in a small space, and affords quick communications, but does it add to our lives anything other than speed? What is its intrinsic value? Will it be decipherable a century from now?

You tell me. Until next time,

A bientot,

Claudsy