Some of the most influential people in history kept detailed journals of their lives. Those journals served two purposes: a permanent record for posterity, and cathartic release for the people writing them. Even if you don't think you need either, keeping a journal has benefits you can enjoy immediately. Here's why you might want to sit down regularly to jot down your thoughts.
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Naming things is hard, especially if the name needs to be unique. Over the years I've worked for sites named Urlesque (rhymes with burlesque, it's about memes), Slacktory (it's a factory for slacking) and Valleywag (which came scarily close to being called "Boomshank"). I always loved the evocative site names of the Gizmodo network. Sploid connotes splatter, tabloids and explosions; Deadspin promises ESPN with an unexpected angle; Kotaku puts the slightest spin on the Japanese term for obsessive nerdy interest. More famous names like Instagram, Medium and Upworthy also compactly convey multiple meanings. The same approach is popular for fictional character names: Darth Vader, Voldemort and Ebenezer Scrooge read immediately as bad guys.
It's a little hard to focus these days. More weird, wild things happened this week than we would expect in a week (month?) of, say, 2015. If you have a creative job or hobby, how do you put the world's happenings out of your mind so you can settle in and create something amazing? Or do you embrace the emotions you're feeling, and feed that fear and anger and sadness into a sort of mental meat grinder that can turn them into something beautiful?
The ability to write creatively is a skill not many people possess. While typically linked to the arts, good writing is also fueled by a surprising amount of science. Exploiting this knowledge can help take your prose to the next level. With that in mind, here are seven scientific ways to improve your writing.
I'm always searching for ways to counteract my type-A, future-focused tendencies that make me a tangled ball of stress. Try meditation, they say. I've tried sitting still, focusing on nothing in particular and thinking about not thinking. I've had some success with it, but the real breakthrough came when I started journaling.
Do you go to the store for "cupcakes, vanilla, and chocolate" or "cupcakes, vanilla and chocolate"? There's a long-running debate over whether it's proper to include that last comma in a list. Lifehacker's policy is to eschew it, but we have to admit that the so-called 'Oxford comma' does makes things clearer on occasion - as proven in a recent US lawsuit.
In a world where people tell their stories on film from ideas that start on paper, there are two powerful platforms that provide all the tools budding screenwriters need: Final Draft and Celtx. One is the entertainment industry standard. The other is free for all to use. But this Sunday, only one can be the best in the biz.
Spelling and grammar are the cornerstones of professional writing: but that's only half the battle won. To really make your writing shine, you need to avoid cliches, fluff, nondescript adverbs, redundant phrases, purple prose and filler words. This infographic from GlobalEnglishEditing lists 23 phrases you need to pull back on, along with suggested alternatives.
In our day to day, it can be hard to focus on the truly important things when everything seems important and to-do lists can be their own sort of hell. Instead of dealing with overwhelm, start by answering, "What would make today great?" to define the things that would make you happy that you did them.
A couple of years ago, Khan Academy and Pixar teamed up for Pixar in a Box, a series of courses meant to show off how Pixar gets things done. They have expanded their initial offering quite a bit since launch, and now they have added a storytelling section.
Windows/Mac/Linux: LibreOffice, the open source, free alternative to Microsoft Office, just got a big update that adds in a ton of new features alongside a new cloud version you can install on your own server.