“If you read only one book per month, that will put you into the top 1% of income earners in our society. But if you read one book per week, 50 books per year, that will make you one of the best educated, smartest, most capable and highest paid people in your field. Regular reading will transform your life completely.”Brian Tracy – Self-development writer and entrepreneur
“Since brevity is the soul of wit / And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief…”Polonius – Chief counsellor of the king, and the father of Laertes and Ophelia. Hamlet may have popularised the phrase more than created it perhaps.
“If I had a nickel for every person who ever told me he/she wanted to become a writer but “didn’t have time to read,” I could buy myself a pretty good steak dinner. Can I be blunt on this subject? If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.“Stephen King – This quote seems to come from his book ‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft’ and is much repeated on the internet. Naturally, I have not yet read this book.
Language is the tiling-over of experienceWords to the effect of the above came, I think, from the neuroscientist/philosopher/podcaster/author Sam Harris though I’m presently unable to find the exact source.
“Talking is thinking; the externalisation of our internal cognition and the application of the tools of vocalisation should be understood to be part of thought and not as distinct from it.”Daemon Towndrow – Musician and data analyst. I visualise this concept comfortably as an expansion of the area in which thought happens beyond the skull by a couple of feet.
Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – French writer, poet, aristocrat, journalist, and pioneering aviator… what a wonderful list of accolades. He has many other useful quotes “Language is the source of misunderstandings“, “A goal without a plan is just a wish” and “What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well” stand out.
In order to create a consistent product (and indeed to create consistent productivity) I will use this first post to work through a few of the problems I suspect that I am soon to incur in the writing of this blog. I will take a brief moment to establish purpose and clarity and in doing so facilitate an easier creative process for myself. I hope to unburden this blog to some extent so that it needn’t become all things to all people and can instead occupy its own comfortable, useful and appropriate niche. This post will therefore cover the following ground:
- Purpose of the blog
- Editorial focus
- Citations and references
- Formal elements
- Structural considerations
- Creative concerns
- Language, proofing, standards and revision
These seven elements will form the basis of the first post. This will, with luck, provide context for the new reader and a series of hooks from which to hang the project in general.
Purpose of the blog
A number of the books I have read recently make arguments for purpose ahead of much else. It is a common and self-evidently useful insight that highly functioning individuals and collaborative enterprises should have a declared purpose. It is, therefore, regrettable that so few activities are guided by such an explicit statement from their outset. Just as a toothpaste manufacturer helps their customers lead fulfilling romantic lives (through confident bright smiles, long-lasting fresh breath and hygienic kisses [and not simply a lightly abrasive paste with fluoride and detergents]) I aim to give the reader…
A more successful working-life through improved decision-making.
This purpose is then approached through the following mechanism.
Short articles exploring problem solving, cognition and analysis with a primary focus on the application of these principles to commerce.
Naturally, there are smaller goals and purposes nested within the two larger thoughts above. In the interest of the exorcism of these demons these are laid out in the following list.
- Capturing and storage of thoughts that are usually left to my own, inadequate, recollection.
- The forced synthesis and appraisal of my own reading into informationally dense artefacts.
- The creation of a ‘self-portrait’ or diary of sorts.
- Scratching the creative itch and the need to deploy my reading and thinking into an immediate product rather than manifesting it opportunistically in my working life.
- The development of my own linguistic faculty.
The blog will focus on the following areas:
- Psychology and its application to commercial activity. I suspect that this element will veer towards what people call “Pop Psychology” insofar as the author has no formal expertise in this area.
- Commercial disciplines such as project management, change management, technical development, data analysis, selling and so on. These office skills are, I believe, an aggregate concern.
- Personal development, creativity, emotional growth etc. Are these perhaps nested within Psychology? Potentially so, though I feel that calling out these will help the new reader.
Citations and references
Citations will be given where possible. It is not the intention of the blog to obtain intellectual credit for the work of others and effort will therefore be taken to provide references. That said, this is not an academic exercise and it is freeing to be able to write in a journalistic, opinionated, fashion and I will therefore seek to balance these approaches.
It seems to me to be abundantly possible that I may write a short article based on ideas and research that have disintegrated in my own memory to form a fragmented backdrop to my thinking. I apologise in advance to the original authors of what seem, to me at least, to be my own thoughts.
The form on this blog will be short articles supported wherever possible with visual aids. Language will be prosaic and readable, business jargon and cliché are to be avoided wherever possible.
Articles will be short. I tend towards the verbose in general; I will try to limit the length of the output in favour of readability and frequency. This will make articles less impressive in isolation and more impressive, potentially, in aggregate.
There will be a list of quotations in the header of each article. This quick assembly of thoughts allows for the creation of an abstract conceptual space within which I can create the article. I feel that this is a useful shortcut for us both, the author and the reader, to assemble a common understanding and background. I will attempt not to directly reference these quotations understanding that they are connected tangentially to the line of thinking taken in the article.
Articles will contain a summary at the end in a simple list format. This will increase the retention of the reader through the simple repetition of the article’s main points. Furthermore, these summaries will provide a quick reminder of the contents of the article if the reader is rescanning the content.
This project will, at times, create some elements as well as simply synthesising the work of others. In these moments I gently ask for the readers’ patience and confidence. It is all to clear to me that whatever education I may be able to bring to a topic will be deeply inadequate when compared to the experiences and expertise of the professionals working within the domains that I intend to cover.
Clearly, there must be a moment in the assembly of information on a topic where the working knowledge is ‘good enough’. I hope to use this blog to explore a number of concepts and feel strongly that I will need to acclimatise myself to the imperfect and bold act of writing about something before all the available material has been consumed.
This experiment will require balance. I must carry out sufficient research confidently report back to the reader whilst not paralysing the process through imposing the restriction of impossibly high standards.
Language, proofing, standards and revision
No editors, proof-readers or consummate literary professionals are employed in the service of this blog. Typos, inadequate communication, syntactical and grammatical errors are anticipated to be commonplace. These will be corrected when discovered without notation.
The blog may make changes as required over time particularly in the case of conceptual revision. Effort will be made to ensure that such revisions are clearly shown.
- The blog seeks to help people make good choices in their vocation
- The blog will reliably contain references though is not an exercise in academic writing
- The blog opens with quotations that serve as a backdrop to the article
- Blog posts are closed with bullet-pointed summaries