Miscellaneous

Writing Advice Can Never Be Redundant. Writing Advice Can Never Be Redundant.

C.S Lakin, wrote a short piece on ten easy tips to help yourself edit your own writing. As I read through the ten items, I realized I had heard these all at least once before. The very next thing I noticed, was how easily I forget to check these essentials on a regular basis. So, I would like to address the ten tips in terms of my own writing. This will be used as a future tool to remind myself, writing advice can never be repeated too many times.

1. “Give it a rest.”
I am Shaina Hayutin, and I am a procrastinator. I came to realize the severity of the compulsion over the last few months. I cannot start an assignment until the very last minute. The pressure feeds into my writing abilities and makes me write better, more clearly and more efficiently. However, when I receive my grades on such assignments I always see blatant errors that I could have fixed had I given myself more time to reread and edit. If I had taken some more time, a few days, a day, even an hour, I may have seen those mistakes. Admitting is the first step. The next nine steps will be a part of this ongoing process to become a better writer.

2. “Read aloud what you wrote.”
Reading out loud has always deemed helpful in the past. I utilize this step frequently, but it’s time to make it habitual.

3. “Search and destroy weasel words.”
I always try and be on the look out of, “weasel words,” as Lakin would say. They really do muddy up your work.

4.  “Trim sentences.”
I pride myself on clarity. I feel. The shorter. The sentence. The better. In all seriousness, the more words you can cut out, the clearer your writing. My dad is also a writer. He has continuously given me this tip for as long as I can remember; it’s engrained in me.

5. “You need comas.”
Personally, I hate commas. I feel the less, the better. However, I understand the necessity of their use. The more accurately you use commas, the more concise your writing. Thus, the more proud my dad is of me.

6. “Don’t overdo the punctuation.”
I tend to be a dry humor, monotone kind of person. Letting my words speak for itself relies on quite a lot of sarcasm. Overuse of exclamation marks is never an issue. Most of the time, I seem to use question marks properly. However, it’s the period that may get me in trouble sometimes. I rely too heavily on my tone to fuel my message and always use a period. That may be a good thing, but it is also something to be aware of.

7. “Pay attention to verb conjugations.”
Conjugating verbs. I didn’t know this was a thing until I took Spanish class in the eighth grade. Doing it in another language is just as hard as doing it in English. I rely heavily on the way sentences sound, rather than if the sentence structure was written properly. I should really tighten up my conjugating skills.

8. “Ditch extraneous tags when writing dialog.”
I try not to tag people too frequently. It’s always a good reminder to keep a nice balance between formal nouns and pronouns.

9. “Avoid passive construction.”
In my attempt to be clear, I sometimes come off a bit too vague. I would rather say things in less words than go on a rant explaining myself. I must remind myself, proper descriptions are a necessary part of clarity.

10. “Check those tenses.”
I have committed the wrong tense crime many-a-times. Once I take a break from my writing, I always catch it in the editing phase. However, this takes us back to step one. I must work on my procrastination. Then, the ten steps may proceed in a more natural order.

Important note: I wrote the first draft of this post on Wednesday afternoon. Today is Friday. I gave it a rest. Editing today was effective. #makingprogress.

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What is a Millenial?

The term “millenial” is being used quite often these days to describe young people. But, what exactly does the term mean? Who are they talking about specifically?

Well, according to Wikipedia, a millenial is any individual who was born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s. They are also known as “Generation Y.” “Generation X” refers to any individual born from the early 1960s to the early 1980s. And “Baby Boomers” include any individual born between the years 1946 and 1964.

The infographic to the left  describes what being a “millenial” means. (for a larger, more extensive version click here)

As millenials, we embrace technology. Social media and smart phones are second nature to us. We are the most formally educated generation in American history.

Last week in my PR class we were assigned to create an infographic. I looked at tons of examples for some creative ideas. A few infographics sparked my inspiration in creating my own. After some additional research, I decided to make my infographic based on how news sources should target millenials.

So how should political figures, news channels and news sources gain the attention and support from millenials? Humor. Clear and simple. Make us laugh.

You see, news is generally negative. It’s just a fact of the nature of the news. However, having the ability to poke fun, make jokes or laugh at such topics makes news more enjoyable and memorable.

50 percent of millenials get their news from television. And surprise surprise! 60 percent of us watch The Daily Show while 53 percent watch The Colbert Report. Never would have guessed.

But here’s that catch. Most people trust news sources like CNN and Fox to give us the facts of the news. However, a majority of those viewers do not always agree with the manner in which that info is given to the public. The ways in which people form their opinion on news issues is a different process. And social commentary shows like The Daily Show play key roles in shaping such opinions; especially the opinions of millenials.

So, when given the task to create an infographic of my own. I decided to show how millenials prefer that their news be dispersed with humor.

Courtesy of Shaina Hayutin

Courtesy of Shaina Hayutin

Here’s the thing. As effective as The Daily Show and Colbert Report are and have been, they only provide two points of views (both that of Democratic ones). Their is quite a myriad of political view points out there in America. Ranging from conservative, republican, democratic, liberal, statist, libertarian, green, constitutional, independent, populist, socialist and a whole lot more. These points of views need to be heard through the millenial ear. These view points need to speak up. If they want to grab the attention of the millenial generation they’re going to have to utilize the same tactics Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert seem to have mastered. That’s how my generation is going to listen. More importantly, that’s how they will form their opinions. They just need to hear those perspectives from someone they will listen to.