Thursday, March 24, 2011

How Assumptions Can Spoil Communication

University of Victoria library, bikes, and rab...Image via Wikipedia
Assumptions produce more communication problems than one female (doe) rabbit's production of babies (kits). Keeping track of the effects of assumptions can be about as difficult as herding rabbits. But the manifold frustrations bred by wrong assumptions inspires us to take note and to remember the potential harm.

What is an assumption, in communication? Wikipedia says, "In logic an assumption is a proposition that is taken for granted, as if it were true based upon presupposition without preponderance of the facts." In other words, an assumption is real or a fraud, created before, or whether or not, we have proof. We may  base our "fact" on past experiences that do or do not relate specifically to the communication topic or the person communicating with us.

One rabbit is cute and cuddly. A multitude of rabbits loose on your property does not have the same appeal as a few in a pretty cage or enclosure. False assumptions are never cute or cuddly, if they do harm, which they often do. They may appear to have truth, based on appearances half-seen or facts derived out of their full context. We also might create a false assumption due to our uncertainties or insecurities. In other words, we tend to expect the worst when a routine or practice is not conformed to. For example, do you expect quick replies to your IM's, e-mails, or text messages to specific people? If the quick reply does not come, do you wonder why or even stress about the change in routine, habit, or expected result?

As a writer, do you assume a prompt reply will come to you, for your queries to editors or submitted manuscripts? That's an example of an assumption, or expectation, not based on fact and also not based on common practice. In other words, it is a  hope, but not an expectation based on reality.

With time and enough disappointments, we begin to realize that quick answers or feedback are not the norm when dealing with editors, especially editors with whom we have no relationship, yet, professionally.

The top communication problem to avoid, then, is to assume that your communication will get approval or a fast response. Let it be a terrific surprise if it does happen, not something taken for granted.
We become increasingly good communicators when we can avoid presumption, assumption, or expectation not based on the norms of the publishing world.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

With Rare Exceptions, Long Blog Articles Annoy Me

Illustration for "The Black Cat" by ...Image via Wikipedia
Like cats on heads, long blog posts can be annoying.
Jean Purcell

As a blog writer I have posted some long essays. I could call them articles. I might call a few short stories.

As a blog reader, however, I grow increasingly impatient with long posts by other writers. If I have to scroll down more than once to read all of one post, I get ready to bolt for bytes of interest elsewhere.  

This morning I came across a long blog article that I would have enjoyed if it had been on a printed page. On paper. But on the monitor, it seemed to go on and on and on and on and on. It had all the right things, including some neat dialogue. Still, I did not read it all. I ran fast for the last paragraph, whose example I did not understand due to having skipped so much.

This post, dear reader, is near its end. I wrote it shorter just for you. If my remarks encourage you to write shorter on blogs, good. Or do your own thing if you just have to write long.

I understand, believe me. If you must write long, please don't use tiny print sizes!

(c) 2011 Opinari and Jean Purcell
The book at left is Short Stories and Essays from Literature and Life by William Dean Howells. It is available for Kindle at no charge- $0.00!
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

'Got Blog Yet?

English Language Camp 2008 SMK Taman Rinting 2...Image by Roslan Tangah (aka Rasso) via Flickr
by Jean Purcell

Okay, it's not the best of English grammar, but, really, "'got blog yet?"

Where are you in the world? Wherever you are, I suspect that you are a writer.

Perhaps you are not writing a lot yet. You are unsure about what you have to offer. Do you keep a journal? Then you are a writer! Let me hear from you if you are beginning, and I will be glad to point you to resources.

Are you an author, now or in the future? Maybe you're an article writer or feature freelancer, as well.

If you have one computer at hand, with easy Internet access, you should have a blog. You can have a free blog. Search it out~and, why not a group blog? You can have a blog about the special interests of your friends or educational group. You can plan together and in that way learn together.

The easiest way to start? Some blogs are easier to set up than others. You will be able to learn as you go along. You can add as many new gadgets or widgets as you like.

Use your favorite search engines to investigate blogs...if you don't have a blog yet!

Then, check into the blogs whose bloggers can help you blog better! They can help you decide your mission, focus, unique advantages, and other good pointers.

(c) 2011 Opinari/authorsupport and Jean Purcell
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Friday, March 4, 2011

Book Industry SG highlights e-book "power buyers"

Book industry study group logoImage via Wikipedia

The latest Book Industry Study Group (BISG) reports  new Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading research study with items below, and more. Interesting reading for e-book authors and publishers.   

  1. Income is a more important factor than discretionary time; those earning greater than $50K annually buy higher proportion of e-books.
  2. Urban readers buy the most e-books although rural buyers say they benefit more from the easy access in this format.
  3. Is Amazon's Kindle e-book reader still the dominant e-device or is the Barnes & Noble Nook device gaining share?
  4. Retirees  buy fewer e-books than fully employed e-readers.

    Learn about the "Power Buyers" of e-books in the
    newest fielding of the Book Industry Study Group's (BISG's) latest Consumer Attitudes Toward E-Book Reading research study.

    Source: Copyright © 2011 R.R. Bowker LLC. All rights reserved.
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    (c) 2011 Author Support. Jean Purcell, author and editor, owns a small press in the DC area. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and has interacted with international leaders both on and off the record. She publishes Opinari Quarterly for subscribers.
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    Wednesday, March 2, 2011

    Resources to Share: As Spring approaches, so does the season of Lent

    JW BibleImage by mtsofan via Flickr
    For God so loved the world that he gave 
    his only begotten Son 
    that whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish 
    but have everlasting life. 
    John 3:16. 

    A few resources to help you think about Lent, personally, and to remind others through your writing 

    First Week of Lent - March 13 - 19, 2011 

    I don't come from a background where Lenten self-denial and other observances were practiced. However, I remember the preparations for Easter Sunday at home and in church, through special plans and music. The day of Easter was a shining day, whatever the weather, and such observances in the church helped me, growing up, to be more aware of the love of God through Jesus and His life offered on the Cross for the sins of the world. This is a good time, also, to... 
    Write or collect poetry, scripture verses, articles, pictures, devotions, and prayers...or other works that help you focus on this time. Lent contains the weeks leading up to Passover and Easter. The link below leads to reading for the weeks on the schedule also below. You can search on-line for readings, prayers, and meditations for your personal consideration, to share with others, or for your writing inspiration. May we go further than dipping our toes into the waters of the ocean of faith during this holy season. May we take no day or opportunity for granted, and honor the Lord. 

    Lenten Bible Readings for these weeks: 
    • Week of the First Sunday in Lent (March 13 - 19) 
    • Week of the Second Sunday in Lent (March 20-26)
    • Week of the Third Sunday in Lent (March 27 - April 2)
    • Week of the Fourth Sunday in Lent (April 3 - 9)
    • Week of the Fifth Sunday in Lent (April 10 - 16)
    "The word Lent comes from Anglo Saxon times which means spring.
    In Latin, Lent is quadragesima which means forty days. In Greek, it is tessarakoste (fortieth), a word formed on the analogy of Pentecost (pentekoste).
    "Period of Lent
    The season of Lent is the period of forty days before the celebration of the great feast of the Church, Easter.
    In determining this period of forty days..." read more: The Meaning of the Word "Lent"
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