Writing

Physical Activity Breaks Writer’s Block?

I fancy myself as a professional writer and I have high hopes for a bright future in print. Fellow writers can certainly relate to the trials and tribulations of a creative endeavor that challenges every brain cell in your head. Sometimes I am full of ideas and at other times, writer’s block takes hold. Its firm grip is not easily released. I can battle it by taking a nap, going for a walk, or inviting a friend over to watch a ball game or movie. Most of the time it works, and if not I just try something else. I can sit quietly and meditate or get active and go to the gym. I often choose to listen to my favorite music or try something new in the kitchen. I don’t have a lot of hobbies because they can interfere with the creative process if they are too frequent. Nothing should deter me when I am on a roll. It is a precious time that doesn’t come as often as I would like.

Thus, writing is very challenging as a profession or a pastime. It doesn’t matter whether you are penning novels, informational articles, poetry, blogs or non-fiction prose. It is all a wonderful occupation because it touches on the realm of art and human self-expression. It can be a career and be lucrative once you reach success. Even part time work is economically productive. With this in mind, let me get back to writer’s block. The other day it was knocking at my door and I had to get out of the house and abandon my computer. A friend and I decided to go and read trampoline reviews online, something I had never done before. Isn’t this for kids? Well, let me tell you that it is not so. We also went and tested some models ourselves, bouncing up and down and we had a rip-roaring time. I was laughing a lot as I lost my balance and went from side to side precariously and perhaps in peril. Ha! Not a chance. The best part of the day was that after a while, I believed that the trampoline activity had knocked some ideas loose. I knew this to be true because that night, words poured from my head and my fingers were racing on the keyboard to get it all down.

I wrote pages and pages thanks to the trampoline. I had never done this before after physical exercise. The idea was certainly not a bust. The next time I am clogged up, I am going again. It has other benefits. It burns calories and help keep you fit. It is a lot more fun than the treadmill at the gym. If you go with a friend or family member, it is a veritable outing and a great time for bonding. It feels like a celebration just to be among other happy people. It is a great choice for a kid’s birthday or just for buddy time.

Writing

Decisions, Decisions

As a writer, I critique everything I read no matter who the author is. It could be an article in today’s news, a blog, a bit of simple information on any topic, etc. While many Internet authors are quite good, and I learn alot there are as many who are not. I am a silent editor for these people waiting in the wings to attack. I can’t abide bad grammar, poor sentence structure, misuse of words, and the like. Non-native speakers should not be penning stories unless they know English perfectly. I hope that I am good enough that no one feels the same way about me, but then, I am a native speaker. We all make mistakes, but I go over my material again and again to make sure it is flawless.

I wish I could say the same for some of the product reviewers on the Web. You search for something – like the best handheld back massager – when looking for a gift for a friend. You pull up the best sites with the most inventory and the best prices. You start reading…and then you choke. Here is an example of a poorly-written review that I found and what I thought was wrong:

Handheld Massagers: best selection, best prices (so far so good)

Product name: xxxxx

The xxx Pro Massager With Heat offers an invigoration massage for the tired worn body. The rubberized comfort handle entails easy gripping alongside a front grip for an easy, guidable action. Features like three different sets of massage points as well as a variable speed control of three different speeds this handheld massager allows the user to customize your experience with ease. There is an optional heat setting that allows for easy relaxation. (how many times does he have to say “ease?”)

So far not so good. Boring and repetitive and no idea how to use commas!

  • Dual head percussion penetrates tight muscles for ultimate comfort and soothing
  • Variable speed control, 3 speed settings allow you to enjoy a gentle and soothing or an intense massage
  • Soothing heat for added relaxation
  • 3 Sets of massage nodes offer pleasant customization of your soothing massage experience
  • Front grip makes it easy to guide the soothing action
  • Rubberized comfort handle for easy grip

This writer likes the word “soothing.” You get the picture. Why not look in a thesaurus for alternatives?  comforting, calming, alleviating, relieving, tranquilizing, palliative….

At least the reviewer knows to include benefits that describe why a certain feature is important. He or she is just not an experienced writer of product descriptions. You want to encourage people to buy and this is an art. The description must be short and factual, but loaded with reasons why you need this item—right now! I won’t reveal the customer reviews because these people aren’t expected to write perfect English. We just want to know if the bloody thing works well and the benefits are true.