Year 2000 Writing/Communication Tips
by Lucy Paine Kezar

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Writing/Communication Tips: | Year 2000 | Year 2001 | Year 2002 | Year 2003 | Year 2004 | Year 2005 |Year 2006 |Year 2007 |


Tip #1
October, 2000

Go with your body clock.

Write when your mind is at its most creative, expansive, and alert.  This may mean odd scheduling, but results can be worth it.  A "morning person" may do his or her best work at 6:00 a.m.; a "night person," in mid-evening.

Writing for 15 minutes at your time of peak effectiveness may yield a better result than 40 minutes of writing when you are distracted or fatigued.  Our circadian rhythms, once we sense them, can work for us.

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Tip #2
November, 2000

What's wrong with saying or writing,
        "The reason is because...."?

First, it's redundant.  Causality is implied in the word "reason."

Second, there's a structural, grammatical explanation that may interest you.

What do we write or say instead of "because"?

A simple and elegant "that" does the task, as in:
"The reason why an emu won't fly into your birdhouse is that the emu is a 100-pound flightless bird."

In this sentence we correctly write or say, "The reason is THAT [not "because"].  Why?

The problem is not just redundancy.

The verb "to be," of which "is" is the 3rd-person singular form, also means "to exist." Well-known examples include:
     "To be or not to be....,"
     "Whatever is, is right."  Alexander Pope, 1688-1731 (Do you agree?)

Thus if you say, "The reason is because" you are actually saying, "The reason EXISTS because....
That's a different statement, isn't it?  Analysis:

The reason  [big flightless bird]  why an emu won't fly into your birdhouse
 is / EXISTS because...
  [Here would follow an evolutionary fact or speculation about origin of the emu's size and small wingspan, this being a reason WHY the emu's size and flightlessness EXIST.]

The reason "is" (definition follows)

 differs from

The reason "exists" (explanation of origin of the phenomenon follows).

This is a type of error that capable writers and speakers often make.  We hear this mistake so often that it's easy to repeat it.  A certain percentage of readers and listeners notice such errors, however.  Some may even draw negative conclusions about our intelligence or thinking abilities from them.  Therefore,

The reason why we should write correctly is that our use of language says something about ourselves.

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Tip #3
December, 2000

Can't get started?

Do you agonize over creating a lead sentence or an attention-engaging first paragraph?

If so, postpone all that and:
     
     Start in the middle!

You can also begin at the end, drafting your conclusion first.  Once you're working on a written piece, ideas for the opening will come to mind.

For tips on enjoying a serene holiday season, see Lucy's feature article and photograph, "Create Space this Season."

Wishing you joy and humor in the holidays.

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Writing/Communication Tips: | Year 2000 | Year 2001 | Year 2002 | Year 2003 | Year 2004 | Year 2005 |Year 2006 |Year 2007 |

 

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