actuality.log


All entries tagged 'writing'

Saturday, April the 21st, 2012

A few months ago, there was a wonderful episode of This American Life—#454: Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory—in which the show featured the experiences of one Mike Daisey’s visit to an Apple contractor in China. The show was an emotionally super-charged look at the deplorable conditions that workers in electronics factories endure every day, to produce the shiny gadgets that you and I enjoy Angry Birds on.

Recently, This American Life released another wonderful episode—#460: Retraction—after discovering that Mr. Daisey had fabricated many of the details making up the heart of the previous piece. This episode, rife with awkward pauses, attempted to separate fact from fiction as the host and correspondents of the show confronted Mr. Daisey.

Huzzah for journalistic integrity, if that is something you care about. But that’s not how we roll here on actuality.log, where the story is always more important than the facts.

I leave you with a select quote from Mr. Daisey that adequately captures my feelings on the matter:

“I think I was terrified that if I untied these things, that the work that I know is really good and tells a story, that does these really great things for making people care, that it would come apart in a way where it would ruin everything.”

Comments Off on Anything for the story
Monday, February the 2nd, 2009

(Can you taste the delicious irony?)

From flamewars defending one’s favourite publishing platform, to worrying too much about specific versions of obscure software plug-ins, to constantly tweaking the appearance of blogs, there’s an unfortunate tendency in the blogosphere to focus incessantly on the technical aspects of blogging to the detriment of everything else. In an attempt to buck the trend a little and bring into focus what’s really important—high-quality content—here are ten quick tips to improve your writing on-line:

  1. Focus on the things you know, enjoy and are passionate about.
  2. Never publish your first draft. Nor your second.
  3. Read your entries out loud. It’s amazing how many errors missed when silently scanning words get caught when you hear them out loud.
  4. Find a writing and publishing schedule that works for you. And stick to it.
  5. Recognise that this is not publishing on paper; things can be perpetually improved. Continue to evolve your entries even after they’ve made it to your web site.
  6. Learn to use a thesaurus and a dictionary to make your writing more apt (and stylish!).
  7. Know and engage your audience.
  8. While your writing environment (different blogging software, word processors, text editors, paper and pencil, …) is not of central concern, make sure you choose one that doesn’t get in the way.
  9. Don’t be reluctant to experiment with different writing styles until you figure out one that works for you.

I know I said I’d share ten blogging tips but only ended up presenting nine. Would you like to help me complete the list above?


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