The most under-rated art: Writing (Part 2)

The most under-rated art: Writing (Part 2)

In my previous post, I not only briefly outlined the power of writing, but also raised the question why professional writing is considered so under-rated in every aspect of modern life (I usually get a frown followed by confused looks when I tell people I earn my living as a ghost writer). The misperception towards writers is even worse in the business world.

Thanks to the fruits of the internet and online marketing, brand-new companies are diving into the market every second, but unwillingly maim their newborn brand by having no budget or severe budget cuts in terms of hiring professional writers in promoting their businesses. Of course, it’s much easier to get help from the company CEO’S willing nephew studying at an unrelated department in college or it’s certainly much cheaper to find the resources from the company’s existing work force; an over-ambitious employee who would try anything for a promotion.

However,…

…spending a penny in the right place helps building social branding, having a unique voice and style, being different in a giant pool of competitors…

What’s more?

Implementing SEO into any piece of online text guarantees visibility in search engines and in a way provides free marketing which otherwise can only be bought by excessive expenditure. In the end, companies who hire professional writers save money by spending it in the right way!

Getting professional help in writing related services also helps companies in…

Not becoming a laughing stock in the eyes of their potential or current clients…

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…and their planes are suspected to be in the sky after taking off!

Professional writers are also expert researchers! Not that this news article published a while ago needs any researching, but still… just imagine what happened to the credibility of the newspaper after a careless reporter writes off such an alluring headline!

Getting their message out loud and clearly…

Even the tiniest flaws like typos, a missing or misplaced punctuation in writing can easily convey your message in a totally undesired way. Just like the case of the missing comma in the sample sentence below:

“Let’s eat Grandma!” versus “Let’s eat, Grandma!”

Imagine the comma-less motto perfectly placed in a poster ad for your newly (de)formed food company!

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Image credit: Make a meme

Your emerging company would not only be labelled as having cannibalistic tendencies, but it would also bring some unintended mishaps regarding people over a certain age… People get offended for much less…

And typos?

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Why sell for less just because of a misplaced letter! Image credit: Pleated Jeans

Giving a unique style / voice to their services or products…

Targeting audience in the right way and making more sales is not an easy task… at least not for those lacking writing skills. Words have immense power and with that power comes great responsibility. And if that power is used in the right way, masses will follow. Any potential customer has the basic ability to correlate product photos with its unnecessary descriptive and factual text regarding its physical appearance that can be seen from the photos themselves. What most production descriptions lack, is that they often fail to convey how that product would make the customer feel. Feelings can hardly be levied otherwise.

Another useful tip about identifying the target audience and writing accordingly is not being compelled to use technical jargon for products intended for kids. It is not the greatest idea although such ads target parents as well… but even so, the parent then has to paraphrase whatever you’re selling to their kid, most probably lacking adequate product or service info.

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Product Description: Scoliosis Surgery “Scar Buddy” Awareness 10″ Bear | Handmade Incision Sewn, Spinal Fusion, Titanium, Neurosurgery, Scoliosis Warrior. Image credit and product link: Etsy

I am well aware that the above product and its description is not intended for kids, but still it serves my purpose…

Becoming global and making history…

Did you know that in the original French version of the story, Cindrealla’s slippers were made of fur, not glass? “Vair – fur” and “verre – glass” sound almost alike. A basic misinterpretation of the word still has a huge impact today, but rewriting history does not always turn out to be so positive! (Glass slippers are much more fitting than fur shoes for this story:))

furshoes        glassshoes

The most under-rated art: Writing (Part I)

The most under-rated art: Writing (Part I)

Establishing a shared method of communication is one of the key components of advancement into founding a civilization.

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Speaking, talking, singing, conveying our ideas to others, teaching and learning in a faster way, verbalizing feelings, rallying crowds or manipulating masses… it’s no surprise that the ability to have meaningful, oral communication with others, has put humanity on the top of the planetary food chain and made it possible for us to found an advanced civilization, where much stronger animal species like dinosaurs, bears, lions, and such never could.

Oral communication is always considered the most viable inter-human communication since we were cavemen; talk well to inspire an army into a triumph, beg for votes on a political campaign for a chance to rule the world, or simply express inner feelings to foreplay mating in a ‘civilized’ way.

Sounds the best?

But, for the likes of me (and hopefully for the likes of you when you finish reading this), it can only come after writing. It’s just much more than speeches can ever offer:

  • Oral communication is lost in the present whilst writing can travel forward and backward in time. Or else we wouldn’t be meddling to decipher ancient hieroglyphs or send letters and emails to others for a future read. Writing is the best way of preserving memories, retelling history and transferring knowledge into future generations.
  • Writing grants immortality to its creator as spoken words are scattered in the wind and soon forgotten if not recorded.
  • The unnecessary components of oral communication such as small talk, echo questions and filler words can be mostly avoided unless a dialogue is being mimicked in a work of fiction.
  • Writing requires education of some level at least and that’s all the difference between a toddler mumbling about their needs to their parents and a scholar influencing millions.
  • It’s possible to translate a piece of writing into the reader’s native tongue as no immediate responses are needed.
  • Never forget that ‘pen is mightier than the sword’ and that a sword can cut a blabbermouth. Writing always wins.

 

So, despite all this proof, why do most people underestimate the power of writing in the modern world?

Why is being a writer not considered as a proper job?

Why are the benefits of hiring a professional writer is seen as an asset by only a few selected businesses?

You don’t build the house you live in unless you’re an architect and a bricklayer. Do you?

Would you like to know more?

Then, stay tuned in for the next part of this article coming up soon…

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Communicating with visitors from outer space: The uncanny resemblance of the Unfamiliar Familiarity…

Communicating with visitors from outer space: The uncanny resemblance of the Unfamiliar Familiarity…

We are born… totally unaware of the world around us; an alien world…
We learn crying first… that’s our first attempt in communication… or attention seeking until we find more effective ways…
Then, we learn to stand on our knees, crawl and finally walk…
In the end, we learn to speak as we complete the totally helpless phase of our infancy. The comms link is finally online…

It takes us years to get familiar with our home world and its humanoid inhabitants. Yet, we are never fully familiar towards other life forms on our planet…

Nobody has communicated with a chicken…
Nobody knows how a potted sunflower truly feels when neglected too long…
Nobody has ever set their eyes upon the creatures living in the deepest parts of our oceans…
Nobody has tried to make a pact with deadly viruses for them not to make us sick… oh wait! Most of us aren’t even aware that viruses aren’t living organisms… but we try to kill these lifeless but contagious pieces of code anyway.

We still know only bits and pieces about the other life forms we coexist with, on our shared planet…

Yet, we seek intelligent life forms in deep space and still believe we can come to terms with these aliens through diplomacy once we find them and form an inter-galactic federation to rule the galaxy peacefully altogether… or crush the destructive, evil ones…

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Before elaborating more on the ways to communicate with aliens, let’s take a short trip into some popular alien encounter plots in the sci-fi world:

A spaceship either makes its way to one of the largest cities in the world, or just crash lands in the suburbs where a small town lies nearby. The aliens’ agenda is always the same wherever they land though: to destroy us or strip our planet off its valuable resources. Then the war for our planet commences…

We beat them 9 out of 10 times. Perhaps because they look like us somehow… an uncanny resemblance of the unfamiliar familiarity: they’re either off-color humanoids, complete with all the limbs etc. Or some variation of earthly creatures like giant bugs or non-aquatic octopuses.

This physical familiarity must be the reason we believe we can communicate so easily with them.

So, let’s make it easier for the mankind and imagine the first aliens we encounter are not only humanoid in form, but also a nearly exact copy of our image. But even then… what makes us think we can understand each other? How easily can we communicate with other people? Can we even completely understand our fellow earthlings?

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… in a world where,

… men can’t truly understand women…
… archaeologists can’t decipher most ancient writing forms… (such as the Rongorongo of Easter Island)…
… each Earth culture has its own beliefs and values…(even gestures)…

Still not convinced?

Try explaining snowflakes to a young Masai warrior…

or

what an ocean is to someone who has lived in a landlocked country all their life…

Redefining Death: A Contemporary Guide

Redefining Death: A Contemporary Guide

As persistent seekers of healthy, prolonged lives and even immortality in the modern ages, we, mortals have always feared “death” as it means a definitive full-stop to what we have valued the most: Life…

But, what is death?

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According to most dictionaries, “death” is the end of life…

For me, it’s “ceasing to exist in the former plane of existence”… but, I am not all into the heaven-hell thing as I believe those two opposite concepts were designed to direct the majority of the human race into doing good deeds, so that all good-doers are led to believe they will have their afterlife retirement lying in endless flower fields above the clouds, drinking mulled wine from its rivers and having sex for eternity (and that is without the help of Viagra for the elderly men). The evil-doers, on the other hand, will burn in agony for eternity

Eternity? A concept valid for both heaven and hell? Wait! Living for eternity is achieving “immortality” Wasn’t that our final goal? Our seemingly impossible dream? To be immortal? Is reaching our final goal through “death”? Or, was the whole concept of immortality just an unintended word play, the creation of a concept due to bad punctuation and spacing (as in “Immortal” vs. “I’m mortal”)? 

Anyway, going to heaven sounds fun, right?

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Then, why do we feel so down and depressed when we bid farewell to our loved ones on their voyage to a better place? Are we worried they might end up in hell? Are we just selfish for not being happy for them? Or do we secretly know that heaven does not exist? Who knows…

On another note,

As I said before, “death” is ceasing to exist and it happens to our loved ones all the time and in numerous other ways as well, like:

  • when we break up with a partner and never want to see each other again… or
  • when a loved one moves across the globe for a job opportunity, etc…
  • when someone we trust wrongs us in an unacceptable way…

The people in above cases “cease to exist” just like how I perceive “death”… and in all cases time heals us, gradually soothing the pain. The question here, is how we deal with the sudden loss… do we cry our eyes out until they dry out? do we surrender to booze or other similar ways to dull the pain? or do we seek their familiarity in the experiences of our daily lives and remember how they made us feel? No matter how we might grieve, time is always there for assistance…

As a final thought, I must say “death” according to me is like a paradox similar to the Schrodinger’s Cat… we can never know for sure if our deceased, loved ones are happy or not on a different plane of existence… until we are certain of their fate, they may very well be both happy and not…

The Overuse of Lexical Items in Describing Emotions

stop saying like

Language has never stopped evolving as more new words are added to the lexical pool every passing day. We are now using more words than ever, to express ourselves fully to one another. But, is it all necessary? Or are we simply dulling our senses and devolving ourselves, restricted by the limits of language itself?

In face-to-face encounters, language loses most of its function as actions take over the role of wordly structures. We never describe our actions in wordly forms when what we are doing at any given moment is so obvious. Imagine you’re in a cafe with someone, do you ever need the urge to make sentences like: “I’m now holding the cup of coffee with my left hand, preparing to take a sip.”?

Of course not, as each person is equipped with a behavioral decoder of their own. But, then again, why do we use words to describe our emotions to the other person accross the same table; saying we are happy, upset, depressed or scared… Have we disconnected and devolved so much that we can’t decode emotions without the aid of words anymore?

The joy of hugging someone and transferring our emotions in a silent harmony is what we should have been doing all along. “Wordless” does not mean it’s “worthless”, it’s just more. It’s actually feeling for each other.

We are taught to “apologize”, “praise”, “confront”, “encourage” and “congratulate” each other even before we start school… but even the words picked for such actions are random letters in tiresome, long sequences, …. difficult even to pronounce let alone understand each other’s feelings.

In writing good fiction, there’s one fundamental rule: “Show, don’t tell.” How come “showing” is more appreciated than “telling in words” at a medium where the reader and the writer is almost never in the same place?
Showing, not telling adds great value to writing, so,  perhaps, we should implement this rule to our daily lives for a change to enhance our personal relationships.

Finally,

Who is the culprit for demoting our emotions, then?

Is it the gibberish rules of society we are dictated since birth?

Is it the technological advancements causing the daily rush we find ourselves in, to get pointless things done in little time?

Is it because we are becoming more and more selfish and ignorant?

Whatever the cause, it is never late to share our feelings in an entangling bundle of limbs, enclosing two hearts within…

The Significance of Numbers in Literary Titles

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Numbers are never related solely to mathematics. They have the immense power to make literary works more alluring and certainly add a unique flavour to titles irreplaceable by any other non-mathematical word. Numbers are symbols… and we have always had a special liking to symbolism. Tip off 8 and you get eternity, Nine along with its mirror image make up a spiral heart…and so on.

Numbers also remove vagueness from stories and make them credible. Isn’t to say that there are 5,876,777,091 stars in our galaxy more credible than saying there are billions of stars in our galaxy, even if it’s not true.

The numbers in book titles, foreshadow events and attract readers subconsciously. Just look at the literary titles and my own explanations below and decide if any other number or word could replace these numbers in the title:

“20,000 Leagues under the Sea” : It couldn’t have had the effect if it were a different number. In the times of Jules Verne, 20,000 was a massive number and the reason why a round-up number was chosen is basically because it’s easier to say it out loud than “forty-five thousand” or any other inexact, massive number.

“Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” : Not all the thieves in the story are indeed relevant to the story but it’s a credible and a huge number to describe the enormity of the bandits. Any number from 30 to 50 would have worked, but 40 does have a special ring in this case.

“The Three Musketeers”: Why is it the three musketeers when there were four? (Yes, I am counting D’Artagnan as one…) It’s simply because three is an odd number and it shows the balance could change when taking decisions. One side will always win.

“Two minutes to Midnight” : The title which is also the name of a popular rock song suggests the severity of the time running out as midnight symbolizes the end of something (at least the night..)

“A tale of Two Cities” : You can foresee the conflict brewing in the story by just looking at the title…

“The Thirteenth Tale” : 13 is associated with “unluckiness” hinting the unfortunate events to be unfolded in the story…

Never forget! A good story always begins with a good title…and the right number in the title…

Non-Native Language Teachers versus Native Language Teachers

Non-Native Language Teachers versus Native Language Teachers

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In an ever globalising world like ours, you can be born anywhere on the sphere (Perhaps, Antarctica is a less likely destination but still… there are plenty of places to be born on our planet.) You have an instant advantage in becoming the master of your culture and native tongue the moment you are born. You begin learning your native tongue without even being aware of the process. It’s total immersion.You do not even remember learning how to speak it, read it or write it. It’s almost automatic like breathing.

Breathing!

The first action we learn right after being born! Every soul born, masters it in just a few seconds. Everybody is excellent at it… We can easily say that we are all native breathers! Now, imagine that you are hired as a native breathing-instructor to teach how to breathe to a bunch of newborns (and just for the fun of it, imagine that they cannot learn it by themselves). What would you do? How would you even start? What would your first instruction be?

Open your mouth and suck in air through your mouth or nose???

In theory, being a native and having it done a zillion times, you should be an excellent teacher at Breathing – 101. However, that’s not the case, is it? Think about Albert Einstein or Dr.Michio Kaku (if you want a more contemporary example)! Did they start gaining scientific knowledge right from the time they were born? Were they native physicists? The answer is a big “no”. But, noone can claim that they are (or would be) “not so competent” in teaching Physics, can they? We should look at the non-native language teachers the same way. There may be marvels among us (language teachers) who will always fall behind in job hunts just because we are not passport holders of a country that we are teaching the language of. Having mastered the target language for decades will not put you in front of a native candidate (in a job application) who has no experience in teaching! Sometimes the label is more important than the content.

I have no intention of offending native language teachers in this article, but don’t we at least, deserve an equal chance in professional life? Below are some points which might make non-native language teachers a choice at least:

Non-native language teachers…

* have gone through a similar learning process as their pupils and can identify the tough parts in learning the target language and take precautions…

* can explain unexpected questions about grammar points as they have not learned it unconsciously unlike native teachers…

* can adjust their level of English according to the students’ level and communicate much easier with them…

* are more intercultural and aware…

* have better sppelign, speeling, splenig….spelleing…. (or maybe I should leave this one out)

I want to know what you think. Please comment!!!

Nobody knows

It’s our world now… we live in a realm where nobody knows anything. No one cares anymore; not the nobility, not the simple peasants, not even the nosy people you run into here and there. Nope. The hope is long gone and all that remains are the distant noises of some inner conflicts one might have, barely audible like northern winds on a warm summer night. Knowledge is what we lack and somehow we have no intention of reaching for answers even if it knocks on our doors. Answers are not welcome anymore. We have become noobs where once experts thrived in this world. 

A change might be coming, hiding behind a simple yes/no question. You have to decide NOw….

Love does not need a picture…

Someone…

Show me the existence of wordless communication, where sweet looks and gentle touches do the talking…

Turn me into a bedroom mirror, so I can watch you fall into sleep every night…and wake up with every light…

Equip me with a brand new collection of a 1000 words of love to describe my never-ending feelings…

Allow me to enclose you all over in my octopus arms…

Kiss me so deeply, sucking the air in until it runs out in my lungs…

Build me someone immune to infinite cuddles…if you can’t be the one…

And, if that’s the case… then,

Rip my soul in two…so that I can be sure that someone capable of true love like me, exists in this realm…


P.S: Lol….the first letter of each line, spells out STEAK BAR! Perhaps, my true love…

Archaeology of the Present

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Imagine our current civilization ended up in flames; totally wiped out… a few remaining survivors of the human kind (possibly stripped of all advanced technological knowledge and know-how) started all over from scratch.
In a millennium, every advancement is already long forgotten and our civilization at present is regarded as an ancient one, pretty much like ancient Egypt in our era.
The new civilization follows more or less a similar path as ours to flourish. However, some things have never been invented or some ideas have never been thought of. At least, they invent the notion of archaeology; digging up the past (and trying to uncover our secrets).
Let’s do a thought experiment…
It’s the year 2116; a thousand years from now and the future archaeologists uncover the following:
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1. The personal library of a sci-fi enthusiast, which survived a millennium in a nuclear shelter/bunker. All the books that survived are works of fiction…about intergalactic wars, time travel, aliens, etc… and after decades of hard work, they are able to crack the code of our language. What would they think? Would they regard them as works of fiction or consider them as ancient history? We seem to regard every written record of ancient civilizations as real…
2. An email message printed on a browned out paper (actually the paper browned out much later :), containing letters of the alphabet as well as characters like @,#,_,&,* and :). (From the same library mentioned above) Would they combine these symbols into our ancient language and overthink about their function?
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3. A dozen autographed baseball bats by some of the baseball idols of our era dug out from the ruins of a sports shop. Luckily, the UV coating on the bats preserved the signatures from smearing out through ages. What would a baseball bat suggest to a culture who has not invented the concept of sports (for entertainment)? Perhaps, a primitive weapon of war; inscribed with an ancient god’s name to channel divine power to the wielder? How about the sports shop? Would the future archaeologists be happy that they unearthed an ancient armory?
4. A huge, curvy water slide in an abandoned amusement park: An aqueduct?
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5  A bowling ball… Let me be more specific: A size 14, shiny, purple bowling ball. Hmmm… What are the three holes for? For fingers? But why three? Would they think that ancient humans had two less fingers? Oh wait! That’s how we depict some aliens!!!
The moral of this article?
No matter what your intentions are (when you invent or create something), you will most likely to be misunderstood …