Before You Write a Thing…

How to become a High Output Production Writer (part 1). While Wednesday Peoplenomics reports are almost entirely income, expense, and getting-ahead oriented, several readers have asked for a “short course on writing.”  We get to be “of a certain age” and the impulse to share with future generations is a natural instinct among “elders.”

We commence that series today because next to a “head for figures” my second-most used skill in 50+ years of business management (and reporting) has been the ability to quickly stitch together what’s in my head and move it from “in there” to “out here” with a minimum of effort.

More than you’d think, there’s a huge physical aspect to it., We begins with preparation, which sounds like index cards and a sharp pencil, But, preparing to write is much deeper as you’ll discover.

Of course, before we get to the “fun” part, we need to drop down into the Friday market action; more sluggish at the open than expected, but to wash out the weak hands?  Time will tell.

And what morning would be complete without a selection of headlines to worry our little selves silly over?

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George Ure
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28 thoughts on “Before You Write a Thing…”

  1. “More than you’d think, there’s a huge physical aspect to it., We begins with preparation, which sounds like index cards and a sharp pencil, But, preparing to write is much deeper as you’ll discover.“

    Physical preparation …
    George Level


  2. 1) Try a pen & tablet. Mice are “address-relative.” Which means you often go over the edge of mouse-world, and have to multi-stroke to get where you want. P&Ts are “address-absolute.” You touch the upper-left corner of the pad, and the cursor moves exactly there instantly. It has a hand-eye learning curve of about a week — but if you try it for a week, you’ll never go back. (Always have a spare pen handy!)

    2) Read your work, out loud. The silent mind-eye won’t hear awkward construction, but if you read your stuff out loud you’ll detect bad flow instantly. Yes, it’s time consuming. But it purges stumbling blocks.

    3) Read Good Stuff. It will help tune your ear. Start with Mark Twain. Bad writing pollutes your mind and ear. Most writing widely extant these days is bad. Crappy. Thoughtless. Improper grammar — etcetera.

    4) One pro I know writes on an IBM Selectric (Steam-Punk typewriter. Maybe it’s diesel punk….) He says all the ancillary “fiddling about” with computer-based word-processing interferes with his thinking. He’s an Old Guy, and finds modern technology often LESS flexible and efficient.

    5) (For me) Edit, edit, edit, edit. Count on making multiple passes. Don’t make small tweaks on the first edit pass. Fix the big things first. Mark Twain said, “The difference between almost the right word and exactly the right word is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” Unless something is a big rush, put it aside till tomorrow. Glaring things will jump off the page at you after a little steep time. A moment often comes when grinding stuff out, that you feel yourself going a bit stale. STOP. If you force it, it will be second-rate material. Under pressure you can’t always take a pause, but if you can….

    6) See if you can find a short-shirt story called, “Cousin Len’s Wonderful Adjective Cellar.” (Author: Jack Finney c1948 He’s a Sci-Fi biggie. 1950s vintage) (It’s a small grinder, such as we use for pepper.) The story makes a point about UN-writing eloquently and memorably. It’s a Science Fiction short-short about a device that when held above a written page, and the crank turned, removes the most unnecessary words first. Held closer to the page, the effect is stronger. This story will change your writing forever, in a beneficial way.
    You can Goggle it other places, too.

    – 73 –

  3. Hi, George,

    I have written many faceting and gemstone related articles in the last several decades. It helps to have good references on hand plus personal experience to utilize. I also have edited many papers on various subjects for grammatical corrections and flow content. In 2017, I was asked to write a technical article on gemstone repair and recuts for a particular journal related to jewelry manufacturing, with a formal presentation made during a symposium in May, 2018. While it was quite an honor to do so, the article took six months of my time. It also included many photos that corresponded to the text I wrote. The article was published in one of the yearly books that this symposium provides. What I learned from this experience was that, along with needing a comfortable chair and track ball to use with a large computer screen, it took discipline and perseverance to accomplish that writing task. It was a lot of work that, once it was finished, I was so happy I did it. Thanks.

    • It is our pleasure to hear that kind of report, Nancy. Next weekend’s Part 2 on the actual writing and editing part will get into this kind of experience in greater detail, but the fact is, a “gem” of an article (or book) is never really “done.”

      It’s that sometimes, you just have to call “Time Out! Going to press!” and this gets back to the self-discipline part you mention. If I am not “writing to a deadline” – as the daily columns here, I really can produce better work. But it is always a balance: No-edit Monday, or twice-read Tuesday…that kind of thing.

      Like mounting a stone – or figuring out when to stop cabbing, lol. There’s an art and a balance hard to put into words.

      Are you working on the follow-on, yet?>

  4. Halllooo

    Allloo! this is the skelyton from outers pace..having a party.. tink Ure tink.

    Was ” out and about of my mind recently…overheard, understanding came.. the incoming ____________ are carriers” – they hold within them incredible information/nrg to bee spread for all Humanity/Earth..”codes’, overseeding..
    Am unable to describe this nrg/codes and its abilities/capabilities/affects on DNA..

    Not worried much.. “they” are got our back regards incoming big “rocks” currently…as the big one – “planet of Passing” is cruising by far side Sol. can “feel” it, just cant see it..

    at least 2 kinds of energy work/ is Hard = performance style qigong. Imagine all that strength and energy displayed – “internalized” in Ure meatsuit.
    Hard styles 4 younguns, negative drain of nrg’s.

    Soft or Internal qigong is about Collecting/Processing/Storing Qi. Gots to bee in resonance wit it to attract/collect. See Tai Chi -soft, flowing graceful- ALL Ages..natural way to collect the QI – and That dear friends is a secret to Longevity.

    • Dao Bum,

      In certain journeys of the mind one could imagine Buddha nodding in tune with your beats on the great gong of the cosmos. As you articulate, sever meaning from the words and thy way forward shall appear.

      As you may be aware, a central Florida concern supplies out-of-this-world chemical concoctions replicating extraterrestrial surface dirt for research by Nasa and suchlike. They are called simulants – 1 “t” only compared to your other research projects. Apparently the firm markets product to individuals pursuing research.

      It appears Cl carbonaceous chondrite regalith (asteroid dirt) is sold out. No problem. Go big or go home. Perhaps you’d like to figure out how to terraform a planet? Care for some MGS-1 Mars global simulant sold by the kilo? You want something more home brew? Sure, they offer recipes to make your own.

      Just think. Get those veggies growing in the Mars medium and you could hit paydirt. You’ll be on Elon’s Falcon 9 to the Red Planet with MaryJane in no time.

    • I believe in the DAO and the Teachings of Confucius..

      Just a few snippets of the teachings of Confucius.. and if you read the teachings of the Tao and the teachings of Confucius then the teachings of Christ..

      you can see how they compliment each other.. all have the same ending but how they taught is the same.. toss out the old testament the Torah etc.. i believe they are there to teach us how NOT to act. towards others..remember Christ was crucified because of the old testaments laws.
      ” The Master said: To study and at due
      times practice what one has studied, is this not
      a pleasure? When friends come from distant
      places, is this not joy? To remain unsoured
      when his talents are unrecognized, is this not a
      junzi?Master You said: It is rare to find a person who is filial to his parents and respectful
      of his elders, yet who likes to oppose his ruling superior. And never has there been one
      who does not like opposing his ruler who has
      raised a rebellion.
      The junzi works on the root – once the
      root is planted, the dao is born. Filiality and
      respect for elders, are these not the roots of
      ren? In planning for others, have I been loyal? In company with
      friends, have I been trustworthy? And have I
      practiced what has been passed on to me?”

  5. To be a good writer you must be a good bullsheet artist and follow the script from the masters . Yeehhhaaa teach em how to fish georgey . Old 4×2 saying !!!

    • Thank you Len,

      “The Tao causes the people to be fully in accord with the ruler”
      Sun Zhu

      With legislatures having the day off, Mr. Zelensky streamed to global citizens from his palace office reinforced by sandbaggers. It is quite the sum, €10+ billion, raised by the Stand Up for Ukraine telethon of Global Citizen broadcasting from Warsaw. The telethon desk featured a former CNN broadcaster, a Polish leader, president of the European Commission, and the Australian ceo of Global Citizen which is aligned with major global corporations, WHO and UN. The EC leader was able to offer Mr. Zelensky the EU application questionnaire for Ukraine to return completed at its leisure. Of course the CBC included the streamed Canadian pm segment whose tie looked entirely washed out in the video feed. Apparently Canada is chipping a billion+ to the cause including half a billion for weapons. Mr. Zelensky advised AP that he didn’t know why peace talks hadn’t happened already at higher levels of government. I’d have to take a shot in the dark myself on that one. Total mystery. Peace out. Back to The Masters.

      • “With legislatures having the day off,”

        Surly you JEST…er… LOL.. our congress had the month off.. they are back what is it next week for four days two of those days are their normal days off.. then they take off for the easter holiday month LOL LOL LOL LOL hardest working group of all.. our congressman was on television locally.. and I would love to ask him why with crap going on the way it is and why with the world in such a horrific display of falling apart.. was he not at work.. it is his job.. but no.. they only work
        176 hours a year. to be forced to work that much it must be the hardest job ever LOL LOL LOL LOL . no need to be of concern though.. there is always a skeleton crew in DC to make everyone believe that the country is ok..

  6. “How would preparing for global nuclear war be any different from the prepping that’d be done for a massive asteroid impact?”

    Global nuclear war is survivable…

      • Wasn’t ‘Giant Meteor’ on the last set of presidential bumper stickers as one choice? Maybe we will get lucky in 2024.

    • I don’t believe a full out exchange is survivable. The nuclear winter aftermath would pretty much wipe us out.

      • d’Lynn,

        You are thinking that everything will be ground bursts throwing stuff into the atmosphere … but that will NOT be the case.

        Many, if not most, of the weapons used will be air bursts, much like Hiroshima and Nagasaki were. Maximum damage to everything except underground structures comes from an AIR burst, NOT a ground burst so that will be the favored type of burst employed by all sides in a nuclear conflict.

        The Nuclear Winter scenario I doubt would be more than double what happened with Tambora in 1815 with the amount of debris it lifted HIGH into the atmosphere (low debris will settle out very very quickly). Tambora blew debris UP by exploding UNDERNEATH the earth ie: blowing it STRAIGHT UP into the stratosphere. Even a lot of ground bursts are not going to have the same impact on throwing debris UP as Tambora did since they are not exploding UNDER the ground.

        The anti nuclear crowd has imo greatly exaggerated the climate impact of a nuclear war … and as shown by Al Gore’s projection of an Ice Free Artic by 2009, agreed to by the vast majority of climate scientists at the time, those types of climate change activists haven’t been particularly accurate with their projections. If they had been we could be going to the beaches on Cape Cod in February, no need to go to Florida for a winter vacation.

        Two to three years of what they experienced the year after Tambora and then things would start to return to a more normalized weather imo as the dust that did get high would precipitate out.

        As to “survivability” that actually is a risk … but not due to the nuclear winter. It will have to do with surviving the actual explosions which would also create the destruction of our modern mechanized industrial agriculture leading to famine.

        That destruction of our modern mechanized industrial agriculture would lead to massive famine for EVERYWHERE … yep even in many places that currently have very large agricultural surpluses since such surpluses are only generated by the mechanized agriculture that are currently employed in much of the world.

        Major Nuclear War IS survivable, but between the actual explosions and the famine that follows it is possible that 2/3 of the world’s population would die.

        (Example: Puerto Rico has a population of 3 million people living on the island, but very little agriculture. Without imported food for several years how much of that population would survive? Ditto ALL of the desert populations across North Africa over through the Persian Gulf – all of those countries import massive quantities of food. So on and so forth all around the world. How much food will California grow with NO water for irrigation? Ditto dryland crop farming in the Dakota’s, Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas which all rely upon pumps and irrigation systems?)

      • “(Example: Puerto Rico has a population of 3 million people living on the island, but very little agriculture.”

        That holds true even with us living in the USA…
        with 67% of our food imported.. and the vast majority of our products produced outside the USA.. it wouldn’t take long.. as far as the D.U.M.B’s.. they are setup to take a blast.. Similar to Covid.. when covid hit everyone assumed that life would go back to normal.. only to discover that we had failed to pass on the information on how the job is done… we dumbed down our youth.. and even if they have enough room to house a couple hundred thousand.. who is it that is going to do the job.. I took my buggy in to have the power steering fixed.. the mechanics they had had to find a way to support their families during the covid shut down.. the only ones available to work on the buggy was fresh from school.. he was taught that what the compute told him is what it was.. that leaky hose never did get fixed.. the same thing with the brakes.. all that time and all that money and I had a catastophic brake failure.. took it in and had an old mechanic work on it and he said you had better have the power steering fixed or you will have the same situation.. I said.. I did.. he said.. who I said some kid fresh from school.. he laughed and said.. you should never take it to the blind school.. needless to say it is back being redone.. it has been over a month already acquisition.. real hard.. and we never learned how to repair or reuse parts like CUBA..
        which is why I have done what I can to learn how to make the creature comforts that my family enjoys… there won’t be anyone to take up the mission when it is over.. if we survive.. I also try to teach my kids how to do it as well..they think I am being to paranoid that there will never be a war on the shores of the USA..
        I of course tell them ok.. give me the keys to your cars.. shut off the circuit breakers and the gas cans for your chainsaws, lawn mowers and your generators..
        NO.. see your as addicted to the creature comforts that the vast majority of the people are.. do you have a wood furnace.. can you make gas.. do you have a sickle etc.. know how to winnow grain.. or how a thresher works..can you thresh by hand.. make a candle.. etc.. etc.. if you cannot or don’t have those skills you are with the rest of everyone..
        knoweledge.. for years and years I have had dreams where after a great issue that I would teach.. then pass on and then a young woman would take my torch and move forward..
        it was a dream.. only a dream.. then two weeks ago.. some missionaries came for a home visit.. who should walk in.. the woman from the dreams.. OMG.. even the voice was the same as I had dreamed.. I was shocked to say the least.. she has a million and one questions to which is good.. she doesnt’ know that she was in my dreams.. but as she visits she askes me questions on .. do you know how.. so I answer her.. of course.. here is how it is done..
        things I had dreamed of.. all are clicking.. very few know of those vivid dreams and I keep them to myself because they would all have me commited.. LOL

      • Check out any of the sites which feature nuclear attack maps and note the difference between fallout patterns of ground bursts vs air bursts.

        If a body is located somewhere that’s not downwind of an intense fallout pattern, they will survive. They may starve, but they’ll survive the exchange of bombs, itself.

  7. George, that long article described what may be done to repair a damaged gemstone, what criteria is required for a successful recut, and how jewelers and customers damage gemstones in the first place. A successful recut of certain gemstones, such as sapphire, tanzanite, aquamarine, and kunzite, can increase the per carat price two or even three times the value of the original configuration. Many damaged gemstones can be repaired, one way or another. However, some just cannot be salvaged at all and need to be replaced. When the labor cost is more than the stone is worth, I would advise against it, unless the gem has a sentimental attachment. Each case is different and has its own issues. Gems treated with a certain epoxy, gems treated with a very thin coating, and gems that are diffused or contain leaded glass treatments are never candidates for repairs or recuts. Those types cannot be fixed, period. Thanks.

  8. Great Post!
    On my fiction books, I make a Character section at the top of my working file, ahead of the Table of Contents. As I add characters, I update that section. Access is quick, and I avoid relying on my sometimes-fading memory for spelling, ranks, or characteristics.
    On books with a long timeline I include a section for that, just behind the Character section. My current alternate history project, Empire of the East, timeline stretches from 1405 to just before the Civil War.
    I usually move these sections to a separate file when I start the editing process.
    While Notes would work, I prefer the quick access in a single file.
    I’m looking forward to next Saturday’s Post.

  9. I had a college professor like George. Words just flowed from his fingers…. on an IBM Selectric. He said he could think, and the language just flowed out his fingers at 60 wpm. He wrote numerous ‘newsletters’ for his classes to let us know what was going on.

    “The Chair”. Friend of mine taught online classes. He retired early & wealthy, so could afford anything. He got a dentist’s chair to recline in and outfitted the lamp arm in front of him with an array of three monitors. Wireless keyboard on a slant board in his lap, and another swing away mouse pad next to that. The perfect virtual ‘cocoon’ for long periods.

    I’m not a production writer. I write short things when I am inspired to do it. My claim to writing fame was to write an article for a broadcast engineering magazine when I was the lucky user of the world’s first all-solid-state 22kw TV transmitter back in 1986. I wrote a great review. And shortly there after the LARCAN series M transmitter became the most popular TV transmitter in the world during the late analog TV period.

  10. Investor population buying and selling to saturation composite equity and commodity peaks and lows are self-ordered and easily observable in the asset-debt system’s empirical growth and decay fractal patterns. Jeremy Granthum is qualitatively right about a very significant crash coming in global equity valuations. The growth and decay fractal patterns provide the quantitative timeframe. With historical Fed QE comes consumer inflation and politically unacceptable troubles for the working base of the economic pryramid. The QT selling by the Fed of a portion of its 7 trillion ex nihilo created dollars and debt on its books since 2009 through competitve non-fed buying has sharply elevated US Ten year Note interest rates over 120 basis points within a four month period, the fastest dr/dt/dt ever and provides a relatively very fast feedback control on real estate and equity superbubble valuations.

  11. Yes, Mr. Macron, The Battle of Waterloo was fought on a Sunday. The duel is on. The Ancient Regime Establishment is wasting no time dialing in the artillery. Britain’s 200 year old newspaper of record “The Guardian” is repeating a Macron mantra “…Marine Le Pen has a racist and extremely brutal programme…”.

    Meanwhile “Deutsche Welle” has a screen shot up of the pair’s past debate duelling. Ms. Le Pen on right with a Mona Lisa smile as if she just purloined Mr. Macron’s Easter basket goodies. He on the left looks stunned beside the channel number overlay – “2”.

    Yes, folks, this prelude to the runoff vote in two weeks may be a harbinger of the biggest collapse of a Frenchman since Jean Van de Velde triple-bogied the eighteenth at Carnoustie 23 years ago enroute to losing the British Open.

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