Let’s Write Friendlier Blog Posts, Shall We?

Everything old is new again…

SORTING THROUGH ANOTHER BOX of stuff I inherited from my mother and her sisters, I found a small booklet, Let’s write Friendlier Letters by Earle A. Buckley, Director of the The Buckley Institute, Philadelphia, PA.

This booklet, published in 1945, is described as: “A practical course in MODERN LETTER WRITING.” It is 36 pages long and has 21 points intended to help you become a better letter writer.

If I may be so bold as to summarize, the gist of the advice in the booklet boils down to 3 smart writing tips: be concise, be conscientious, be personable.

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AS I UNDERSTAND THEM, the 21 points are as follows:

  1. Every letter is a sales letter.
  2. Make friends with people by understanding their perspective.
  3. Stereotyped, trite, hackneyed phrases serve no useful purpose in letter writing.
  4. Words cost money so eliminate unnecessary ones.
  5. Your opening sentence is your first impression.
  6. Stop writing when you’ve said what you need to say.
  7. Prepare yourself mentally so that you’re thinking clearly about the subject you are about to discuss in your letter.
  8. Your letter must have personality if it is to be perceived as truthful.
  9. Stay away from long sentences because “they’re dangerous.”
  10. Letters are either categorized as “inquiry” or “answer.”
  11. Write in a way that makes the letter look pretty while molding opinions in your favor.
  12. When answering a complaint you must show you understand why the complainant is upset, then move the discussion to friendly terms quickly.
  13. Use contractions to make the tone of your letters seem conversational and natural.
  14. Don’t write like a telegram because your letter won’t be perceived as written by a friendly human being.
  15. Look at the appearance of your letters as you would the appearance of a salesman.
  16. Tell enough to be interesting, but not everything.
  17. Write so that your ideas flow logically + smoothly from paragraph to paragraph.
  18. Your relationship with your stenographer needs to be one of effective teamwork.
  19. Avoid form letters that look “form-letter-ish.”
  20. Get in the habit of editing your letters, you’ll become a better letter writer.
  21. To be an effective letter writer you must sell yourself first so that your tone will be a friendly one, sure to increase your business.

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WITH THE EXCEPTIONS OF Point 4 [words don’t cost money in the blogosphere] and Point 18 [who has a stenographer?], I’d suggest that these points are amazingly good advice for today’s modern blogger.

Good advice that is spot on IF you want to write friendlier, well-received blog posts. Perhaps you do, perhaps you don’t. Who am I to say what it is that you want to do with your blog?

However, if’n you’ve been wondering how to zhoosh up your blog making it more convivial in these stressful, antagonistic times, then may I suggest you heed this old-time letter-writing advice from 1945.

Just a friendly thought. Agreed?

Ally Try Again: Re-evaluating My Rules Of Life, As One Does

As you may recall The Spectacled Bean is on Summer Hours.  

This means I continue to show up here every few weeks. I write about anything that isn’t current events, instead leaning into my penchant for flapdoodle and twaddle.  

Thus I give you the following.  

• • • 

• • • 

Deconstructing What Was

SORTING through old paper files I found the above.  I published it 13 years + 6 months + 21 days ago on January 01, 2007.  I wrote it, complete with disclaimers, in the context of a New Year’s Resolution + my guidelines for how I wanted to live my life.

For many years this is how I approached my life.

However thinking on my rules of life in light of today’s world I find the above useful, but not in step with how I conduct myself now. And that’s where I want to be, not stuck in the past, like some lost soul who longs for what was.

So I sat down with myself and analyzed what I’d written before.  I decided that when it comes to rules of life I liked short action statements that get to the point.

I also decided that I didn’t want my new rules of life to include pithy sayings [like the watermelon seeds one in the example above].  I say pithy things, but those are personal mantras or succinct commentaries on a particular situation rather than actual rules of life.

• • • 

Creating What Will Be

PONDERING what my new rules of life might be, I deleted the ones from before that no longer served me.  Then I made the following list of potential rules adding ones that I believe might be helpful now.  In the bracket behind each rule I wrote what core value I was thinking about when I chose this rule.

Do your best [trustworthiness]

Less is more [simplify]

Maximize your options [creativity]

Pay attention, life is in the details [knowledge]

Ditch the mean people [self-respect]

Keep moving forward [growth]

Say thank you often [gratitude]

Follow your muse [authenticity]

Do no harm [kindness]

• • • 

Questions Of The Day

Comments, anyone?

Do you have rules of life you follow? If so do you rethink them, then update them from time to time?

This list is not definitive, it’s in process. What am I missing here?

TGIF: I Answer Jill’s Questions Over There While Announcing Summer Hours Here

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THE JILL’S QUESTIONS OVER THERE PART

Jill Weatherholt asks questions, oh yes she does.

In fact she asked me to answer her questions, so I did.

Should you care to read my answers to her questions then click on I WANT TO READ ALLY BEAN’S ANSWERS TO JILL’S QUESTIONS and you’ll be magically taken over there to her blog.

Forsooth.

THE SUMMER HOURS HERE PART

Wanna know a secret, my gentle readers? Yes? Well then lean in closer and I’ll tell you one.

When I chose SIMPLIFY as my word of the year I planned on taking this summer off from blogging.  Just bug out completely.  Detach entirely.

However plans change.  Perhaps you, too, live in a state where you are still being asked to stay at home?  Well, we do and we are.

This is the end of Week 13, by the way.

Now clearly I have the time to post to this blog, but summer [in the northern hemisphere] is when I’ve found that personal blogging slows down to a dribble.  Plus I’m in a blogging rut, in the mood for a change, a simplification as it were.

Thus I’ve decided to adopt what I’m calling SUMMER HOURS.  To wit:

  • I’ll be posting my usual flapdoodle and twaddle here every other week instead of weekly.
  • I’ll be posting mid-morning, probably on Tuesdays, thereby allowing me to have a relaxed morning in keeping with summer’s mellow vibe.
  • I’ll be commenting less frequently on your blogs, keeping up weekly with the cool kids who keep up with me.

And with that I wish y’all a groovy weekend and a happy summer.  I’ll be here when I’m here.

LOVE ‘YA. Mean it.

May 2020: As We Continue To Stay At Home I’m Getting Silly

As a longtime blogger and a person who attempts to arrive pre-amused to life, I’ve come to realize that I’m at my blogging best when I ramble a bit about whatever is bouncing around in my mind then write about it here.

I tend to naturally process my life in a way that allows me to be entertained… inspired… often educated… sometimes baffled… by what I see going on around me and within me.  Once I’ve done that I babble about it.

No pre-planned editorial calendar for me.

That being said, here is a blog post written today, the 972 gazillionth day of staying at home.  I am, of course, not alone in my home because my Sweet Babboo, who will continue to work from home all this month, is in the next room.

[Pretty pink tulip to any commenter who knows that reference… without Googling it.]

I’ve got big plans for the day, NOT.

Oh sure I may crochet a little bit, I have a wacko project in mind.  I’m not good at crocheting, but I am good at dreaming up pointless projects for snorts and giggles.  More on that as it takes shape.  [Pun intended.]

Who knows, I may attempt to read a novel, something I’ve been unable to do since we all started to stay at home.  Apparently when I’m frazzled by a world gone topsy-turvy I’m unable to focus on reading a book.  This makes me sad, but self-awareness is good, so now I know.

Finally I’ll be fussing around with the annual flowers that I bought last week when I went inside a store, my one adventure in the world during the month of April.  Stay-at-home-ness, I gots it 99% of the time, but pretty posies for the month of May are a siren song to me.

Thus having shared with you how I’ll be fiddle-farting my day away, I’ll ask you:

WHAT’S NEW WITH YOU?

Tell me your plans for the day. Or the week. Or the month.

Tell me how you’re feeling about your life as we continue to struggle with COVID-19.

Tell me anything, anything at all. Entertain me. Amaze me. Inform me. 

Think of me as your agony aunt and ask me your question. 

I am still here at home getting a bit stir crazy silly. 

Please talk to me.

One-Liner Wednesday: A Memorable Piece Of Marital Advice From Aunt Ann

This is one of those you-can’t-make-it-up stories.

Z-D says considering all the bad advice that is on social media lately I need to share this here. It’s a story from my past that imparts some memorable advice.  

Kind of weird advice.

I swear to you that his Aunt Ann said this to me years ago. And I’ll also tell you up front that I can honestly say I took her advice to heart.

But I’m getting ahead of myself here…

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Many years ago I went to a bridal shower held for moi.  It was ostensibly for me to meet about 20 of Zen-Den’s older female relatives, but was in fact a way for them to size me up.

They were not a friendly crowd.

It was an awkward uncomfortable event for me, an introvert, a sweet little lambie tossed in among the wolves, but I did my best to be likable because back then I cared about such things.

At this shower we played a game in which all the women at the shower were to write their best piece of marital advice on a 3×5″ index card.

While they got snacks I was to read all the cards to myself, picking the card with what I believed to be the best advice.  The person who wrote this card then got the door prize.  I can’t remember what it was, but these women wanted that prize.

There was a competitive spirit amongst them.

That I do remember.

I realized immediately that this game was a trap, the Kobayashi Maru of bridal shower games.  No matter whose advice I picked I’d tick off someone and there’d be repercussions, perhaps for decades.  These were women with a penchant for holding onto resentments.

Grudges were their lifeblood.

I did not like this game, but miracle of miracles I read Aunt Ann’s piece of advice and I instantly knew that I liked it the best PLUS I realized that no one there would ever resent me for picking it.

Yes, that’s how timeless and profound it was.

Aunt Ann told me: Never start ironing your rags, because once you do, you won’t be able to stop. 

Is this not so? And was I not fortunate to have Aunt Ann point this out to me, thereby setting me on the course to a life of freedom that comes from having wrinkled rag?

Huzzah!

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To learn more about Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday click HERE.