Friday, July 31, 2015

Friday Fun: Once In a Blue Moon

There's nothing more grounding than the sky. Once in a blue moon, it's absolutely necessary to go outside, look up, and simply be grateful you're alive. Make tonight the night. 

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Creativity Exercise: Mark Twain

While doing research for a client, I stumbled across a Mark Twain quote I'd never read before:

Is that perfect or what? It's perfect. And to make it even perfecter, show me the fire. This quote screams out for some kind of illustration. A painting, a photograph, a doodle. Go! Do!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

You're Not My Typo

In the past three days, I've had three people express angst over sending me an email or text with a typo or grammatical error. One person? No biggie. Two people? Maybe they're neurotic. Three people? Yikes. I'm going to own that.

So, just for the record, let me clarify: I'm not judging your intellect, creativity or all-around wonderfulness by the grammar and spelling in your emails and texts. Yes, I am a writer. Yes, I'm more aware of grammar than your average bird. Yes, I typically notice those typos and grammatical mistakes.

News flash #1: Noticing doesn't equate to judging.
News flash #2: I make typos and grammatical mistakes myself. Especially in texts. (Let's all pause now for a collective gasp.)

You may be like me in this -- I generally see my own mistakes right after I send a text or email. And, as you know if you've been on the receiving end, I frequently send an immediate correction. Because I am a tad obsessive-compulsive about my own spelling and grammar.

On the other hand, I'm delighted that you are communicating with me at all. I work alone. It's a delight to hear from someone. I'm not reviewing and criticizing every word. Writing two when you mean too does not make you an idiot. You can even use 2 rather than too and I'll keep breathing.

On the other other hand, the same does not hold true if we're working together on copy for a client. Then, I do aim for perfection. They're (there their) paying me to aim for perfection.

So write away. Right away. I love to here from you. ;-)

P.S. OK, I can see why I make people neurotic. Even leaving the intentional typo in the last line, complete with the winky face, is making me crazy ...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Creativity Tips: End of Retirement

Earlier this year, right after my husband retired, our financial planner sent a document outlining how long our savings could last from first withdrawal until the end of retirement. I am embarrassed to tell you how long I stared at that chart, fighting disappointment over the concept that I had to go back to work in my 90s.

Fortunately, even a dim bulb shines a little light.

I did have the good grace to laugh at myself when the light went on and I finally realized that end of retirement didn't mean I'd be hauling my 90-year-old self up to the office to write ad copy again. I'm still laughing -- the phrase may be my all-time favorite euphemism.

And yet ... consider this: The dictionary defines a euphemism as "a mild or indirect word or expression substituted for one considered to be too harsh or blunt when referring to something unpleasant or embarrassing."

Has death really become something that even financial planners find too "unpleasant or embarrassing" to discuss? Oy.

Here's my advice: When you're trying to communicate, say what you mean. Choose the right words and use the right words. Should you watch your tone? Certainly. But don't obfuscate.* We have enough trouble understanding each other as it is.

End of retirement. Seriously? You're killin' me.

Scottish proverb -- and one of my mom's favorite sayings. :-)
* Can you use words not everyone knows? If they're the right words, heck yeah. I'm all in favor of expanding vocabularies.