As the heading suggests, I’ve been writing. A lot. Since my daughter has been away, I’ve been afforded a lot of time I’d much rather be with her, but unable. And I’m finding my focus and energies, both mental, emotional, and physical, have been devoted to a lot of writing. About a lot of things of all interests.
As a note about that, it’s how I believe you will inherently become better at writing: volume. The more you do it, the more your brain is able to organize and churn out better and better writing. That’s for the recipient of the message’s benefit and in the name of the clearest communication coming from me as a transmitter as possible. It’s important in the line of work I’m seeking to find myself currently. With a lot of sudden interest, I’m happy to report. A new tactic of highlighting my content strategy and management skills seems to be paying off in lots of interviews at least.
Another way to become better at writing is to grow your vocabulary. And even better, not just learn the main or obvious meaning of words, but nuanced and refined. Poetry will teach you that, but I know that’s not for everyone. Very well! But I can’t imagine being interested in writing and English and not having some interest in poetry and the language itself. That’s the essence of the whole communication effort.
Some a lot of my writing I intend and know is more throw away than anything. But every now and then there’s a kernel that more and more ideas zap and magnetize to in a more noticeable and hasty fashion. Those are ones I want to look more closely at because they’re obviously growing arms and legs. And hopefully a brain.
And yesterday I wrote for over 10 hours straight about a lot of what’s going on in my life, but more importantly, the system and circumstance thrust upon my 6-year-old daughter and myself, to the huge detriment of our emotions and relationship. It’s horribly tragic and contains some eye-popping facts. I have so much swirling around in my head about my sweet daughter and a few other related matters that I find it may be beneficial to dump my mind out on this website every now and then for later reference. And I do use this site as a repository and reference center for myself about what’s going on in my daughter and my life. And hopefully, it’s useful to others. I have a wide range of material on here that reflects a wide gamut of interests. I wish I had a few more of myself and a few more lifetimes to explore life and this world and beyond.
I also realized I have 87 drafts sitting there needing to be worked on. That’s a lot. That’s a lot of thought, emotion, words, and time.
How I usually work is to build up some drafts like this, then go through and work on the one(s) that seems most enjoyable, informative, productive, or has the most propensity to grow legs. But 87 is way too many. I’m wasting time if I can’t publish more frequently but am still writing all the time. My quality needs to improve. (I need feedback, is what I need.)
Many of them have to do with the same topics. But I hesitate to put things that are too personal on my website. I have a section entitled “Dirty Laundry,” which is where I store such embarrassments and dysfunctional adventures. I live my life as an open book, plus I try to be humble, so these things don’t bother me as much as they might some. No one’s perfect.
I then see if there’s any content that I can use together. Sometimes I have several posts that can be combined, but that takes quite a bit of editing. (Tip: Become an English major, you’re then an editor for life, like it or not. And it can be a rough stressful gig at times, especially on deadlines)
Because of life circumstances, I have a few matters that occupy my mind more than others. And this is what I write about mostly I find. It’s therapeutic if nothing else. But I aim to have long-term goals with my writing. Not just giving my fingers a workout. I’d play guitar if that was the case. Much of my writing is meant for my now 6-year-old daughter during different stages of her life. (If she ever learns to read. No one is helping her learn in my absence according to her and the evidence.)
But these are the types of things that grew and grew to be formidable work. It’s not a rant. I don’t like reading rants any more than I want to be accused of writing such. So I’m conscious I don’t fall into that category. Which sets it a little higher on the literary quality scale. It’s turning into something I’m kind of proud of. So I’m thinking of really polishing it up and seeing if I may be successful packaging, publishing, and marketing it. Not out of vaingloriousness (see what sort of snobby word you can pick up by writing all the time?) but I honestly have some things in there that I believe would be of interest. In several ways. There’s humor as much as drama. And my brain was popping like nuclear popcorn for some reason.
A big, and at times the very biggest, reason I write so much and so furiously around here is that I’d ultimately like to have a series of work involving a collection of posts/lessons for my daughter. You never know when I might get swept up by a tornado, and then where would she be? In a very poor place indeed. But not without serious, tested, and proven guidance beyond any other resource she has available to her anywhere. I would have loved to have had this mini-series I put together for her when I was growing up and beyond. It would have saved me misery, money, pain, time galore, and that’s exactly why I’m doing it for her. In hopes, it will accomplish that goal for her. And anyone else who stumbles across these life lessons.
And as much as I want to help her from beyond the grave if necessary one day, and see how I’ve figured out a way, I’m doing it. I’d do anything for her. And that’s something I always want her to know. As well as what I was like as a person. I do my very best to set the very best example I can for her. And something I mention all the time is that I do not expect more from anyone else, no matter who they are than I am willing, have done, or could do myself. Ever. That’s hypocrisy otherwise, and you see it too much in life.
This is important to understand: It is that way because talk is cheap. Actions trump talk all day long. Written in an email or somewhere trumps talk as well. If someone asks to move the talk from written to spoken, they’re wanting to lessen the value of their word. Watch for it and check it out. Those are some of the types of tips I have in the piece I’m thinking of shopping around. And from a legal standpoint as a non-fiction drama, it may be a masterpiece. I’m going to keep working on it, though because we have many miles more to go
in this battle on this journey.
But back to discovering and executing on a way to let my daughter perceive how I think when she gets older and I may not be around. I’m an older father, although in great shape and planning to stay that way for her. Perspectives, life events, vocabularies, and other dynamics occur over time. So: Disclaimer: What may be read on this website at one time is liable to change over time.
I can’t write about writing in 2022 and not mention AI and Grammarly. Grammarly uses AI, of course, and it’s a product that has helped a lot of people with their writing. And I mean a LOT. I have it activated and like it a lot. According to Grammarly, it’s checked well over 4 MILLION words of mine since I signed up. 4 million words is a lot of writing for a lifetime, much less just a few years. (For reference, Tolstoy’s “War & Peace” is a paltry 600k word leaflet.) And that’s just what Grammarly’s checked. I’ve written WAY more than what it’s counted because I often write using an editor like Ulysses or Hemingway which aren’t integrated with Grammarly. Which, FYI, is a Ukranian/American company. So there’s one reason to help Ukraine not become a pile of rubble.
I use it as an aid to compensate for my terrible typing skills. I can’t even call them “skills.” Which is both funny and ironic. I’ve been an editor and now make a living from typing. I had an electric typewriter growing up, and a Commodore 64, which I spent countless hours on typing in miles of BASIC code out of computer magazines to create games to play. I’ve been “typing” since I was around 11 or 12. I’ve had a typing tutor come to my house each week when I was growing up, who was the typing teacher from school, Mrs. Lucas, who was a sweet day that lived not far away and whose typing class I took at school as well. And I STILL can’t type properly. I’m pretty fast, but I make a lot of typing errors due to my haste and pecking/piano playing style of typing. The statistic above in the middle, being accurate only 54% more than other users is due to the typos I make from my typing challenges. They’re corrected before publication, of course, but not before Grammarly finds a missing comma or the problem words I always flip the letters around in, like “fo,” “ot’ and “yuo” which impact that figure. The 99% and 96% are the stats to pay attention to. My goal is to use 100% more unique words than other users. I’m only a few tenths or hundredths of 1% away and I’m ALWAYS at 99%, each report. I’m consistent if nothing else, as you can see by the bar graphs in the report. That jives with my suggestion to increase your vocabulary, lest I’m a hypocrite.
I must mention one grievance with Grammarly, which is the placement of little modals on the screen. I know they’re there to help, but they’re usually placed OVER the writing, hiding it from the author’s view. How can I fix and read what I’ve written with a big red dot over my sentences? (I can’t)
One thing I’ve noticed as I get older is my spelling has gotten more challenging to me. I used to be an impeccable speller. I won spelling bees when I was a kid. And now I struggle to remember how some words are spelled. That could be due to a much larger vocabulary, or it could just be my brain getting full (or emptier). Either way, I’m not enjoying having to look up words I want to spell correctly, which is all of them. And I write a lot, as the title of this article makes clear.
No one should use Grammarly as a replacement for learning how to write. You can’t do it, and any effort will be the opposite of a good paper. But it can catch slipups well with grammar, and even teach proper grammar and punctuation so that it doesn’t catch so many typos and punctuation mistakes. Note: I catch it making suggestions that are incorrect ALL. The. Time. So it isn’t infallible by a long shot. And often makes more mistakes than when it “catches” them so look at what it’s suggesting before blindly accepting it. It’s a good tool, but like all tools, you need to learn how to use it best and when to rely on it and when not to. And you have to know English for that.