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.

~ ~ ūüĆü¬†~ ~

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.

~ ~ ūüĆü ~ ~

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?

Self-awareness 101: If I Tell You I’m Doing Nothing, This Is What I Mean

…or maybe you won’t. Who’s to say?

OH MY. Cognitive dissonance. I got it.

The other day I realized that I’ve been saying something that’s not necessarily true.

Yes, that would be me, the one known for telling the truth no matter what.

You see, I keep saying that during these last few months of low-key blogging, aka my Summer Hours, I’ve been doing nothing.

That I’ve been a slug, first class, with honors.

That’s what I tell everyone.

BUT the reality is I’ve been doing many, many things behind the scene here in Chez Bean. ¬†Things that are decidedly not interesting or exciting or worthy of a blog post.

And that last point, I realized in a moment of self-awareness, is how I divide my life now.

After all these years of writing a personal blog.

For the heck of it.

TO WIT, there are personal stories, or topics, that go into this blog and there are personal stories, or topics, that aren’t worth the time to muse upon, let alone type onto this virtual page.

I wish I could tell you that I knew when I started to divide the events in my life thusly, but I cannot.

I just know that’s how I do things.

Now.

And that when I say I’m doing nothing I mean: I’m doing nothing that would interest you so I won’t even mention it.

A Funny Bumper Sticker That Lends Itself To Discussion, Research, And A Poll Question

I.  Stuck in traffic I laughed out loud when I saw the bumper sticker on the car in front of me.  The bumper sticker said:

ANNOY THE BORING

The car had no other bumper stickers, suggesting this bumper sticker had nothing to do with 2020 politics. ¬†In fact the bumper sticker looked like it’d been on the car for years.

While we’ll never know why this person put this particular bumper sticker on his car it does lend itself to contemplation. I figure we all know how to ANNOY each other without any further investigation, but we can contemplate who¬†THE BORING might be.

‘Tis a fact that you have to define your terms if you want to communicate a useful + meaningful message. ¬†No doubt this bumper sticker was meant to be a prompt for existential thought, a declaration of raison d’√™tre, and a catalyst for conversation.

‚ÄĘ ‚ÄĘ ‚ÄĘ

II.  So I sat down at ye olde computer to find the dictionary definition for *boring* while also checking what the thesaurus had to say.  Then I did a fast internet search about *boring people* so I might learn about the traits generally associated with people who are considered boring.

Synthesizing this information I created the following cursory list of the types of people who I shall refer to jointly and separately as THE BORING.

INSIPID: talk too much/have unbalanced conversations

STALE: stuck in a rut or routine never doing anything new

LACKLUSTER: have no opinions about or passions for anything in life

QUOTIDIAN: hang on phone or stare at other screen instead of engaging directly with people

TIRESOME: only complain or talk about their disappointments in life, what is wrong with the world

SOUL-DESTROYING: lack, or do not use, empathy/are bad listeners

DULLSVILLE: talk in droning voice, often referred to as flat affect

STODGY: have no sense of humor &/or cannot tell a story/joke

‚ÄĘ ‚ÄĘ ‚ÄĘ

 III.  Below is a poll question for you to answer.  I listed THE BORING, as defined above, in such a way as to allow you to pick one.  That is, which one of these types of behaviors drives you bonkers the fastest?

Or to put it differently: WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO ANNOY THE MOST?

Photos From A Car Ride On Saturday Afternoon, Just Because

Spoiler alert: pretty photos do not necessarily make for an exciting blog post; ¬†however I work with what I’ve got, adding some attitude with my words.

THE BEGINNING

Saturday the weather was unusually clear and sunny and cool. ¬†It was a perfect day to do something, if there’d have been something social to do, which there wasn’t. ¬†So instead of having a nutty at home, we went for a car ride. ¬†Like old people. ¬†

Here is a park bench with no one sitting on it. ¬†I’m not sure I’ve ever seen this particular bench without someone sitting on it. ¬†It kind of unnerved me, but ’tis a different world now, hey what? ¬†

This is a photo of a charming gazebo that suggests a refined gracious lifestyle and the patience to, or the bank account for hiring other people to, maintain such a folly in your yard.  Cute, huh?

Here is a field as seen from the car window. ¬†To me, a non-farmer, it looks about the same as it usual does. ¬†I include it here because it is something I saw and the sky was a snazzy shade of blue, don’t you know? ¬†Pretty.

This is a photo of a horse doing her best to ignore me. ¬†I wanted to get a picture of her face, but she was having none of that. ¬†Not that I blame her, I don’t like having my picture taken either. ¬†Too personal.

Here is a soccer field without one person on it, near it, around it on a Saturday afternoon in the suburbs. ¬†If the first photo is one of amazement, this photo is a one of disbelief. ¬†In over 20 years of living around here I’ve never seen this field empty like this at this time of year. ¬†Just weird.

THE END

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.