Monday, August 17, 2009

Lessons in What Not to Write: No. 526: "not unexpected"

I saw a tweet today that got me reeling. I am thankful it was just a tweet and not a book I'm editing. I like the person who wrote this tweet; he's a crafty guy, very good at what he does. But he could use a lesson in "writing worthiness".

Oh, twinges of hypocrisy are bubbling up. I know that very little that I write is exciting and/or worthy. Let me just say that up front. But the subject of this tweet went something like: traffic is really bad; it's not to be unexpected.

What does that sentence leave you feeling? It leaves me feeling like I just wasted time reading that sentence.

Lesson no. 1 in news writing: mans bites dog versus dog biting man. If the story isn't original, then don't write it. If your audience expects that the traffic will be bad, then they don't need to read that it was bad. And THEN be told that it is not to be unexpected. And let's not even get into the double negative issue here.

Today I published a Facebook status that admits to the world that I love to imagine myself playing lead guitar on songs that rock. I do this probably daily. Maybe a little less. Doesn't everyone do that? Anyway, that may be a stupid post; that may be something that no one wants to read; but at least it's not cheating the reader. It's giving them new news.

So, tell us something new, something truly unexpected. Make us feel. The purpose of even Twitter shouldn't be to ALONE write things like: went to the gym; went to the store; went to the gym again; played some golf; wow, it's hot; traffic is bad, but who the hell thought it wouldn't be? etc.

Or maybe that is it's purpose.

Saturday, August 01, 2009


Well, the first sentence of my last blog is incorrect. My identity isn't new; it has only been added to.

I love this baby more each day. It's quite a ride. I still don't mind getting up nights, mostly because I only have to do it once now, though we're having to sort of work toward the "once." Meaning, when she wakes up at 1:30, I have to go in and pat her and put in her pacifier, then go back to bed and wait to see if she'll cry and I need to do it again...until I actually feed her at 3:00. But I think she'll start sleeping until 3:00ish without assistance soon.

I was freaking out about her schedule last week but am feeling much better, thanks to the many friends who sent me messages on FB about the topic and the husband who is more understanding than I at times deserve. Right now we're doing a morning nap and a longer afternoon nap, and she's pretty much given up a full evening nap, though she likes to doze here and there before 7:00. A bedtime routine is forming. But most importantly, I'm learning to have an open hand with it all. There are days when the "schedule" just isn't going to work "perfectly," and that's okay. Thank God.

I made it through my first month back to work, which feels great. I look forward to one book in particular next month.