About This Section

Full confession: this site needs more features.  I would like to use this area to discuss productivity hints, tips, and tricks.  But I'd like to build up some more content first.

So for now, here is a glimpse of the type of posts I intend to have.  Check back soon for updates.

Writing Techniques

The only times in my life where writing comes easy is when I'm too busy to write anything down, angry about something I can't change, or when I'm writing horrible things about my friends behind their backs.  The rest of the time, I struggle to put words on the page.

The hardest assignments for me in school were always those that had a minimum page requirement.  I like my content short and sweet.  I don't mind reading long pieces-- I've just never had a knack for filling space with words.

Some people do this when they speak to you, some when writing.  They continue on and on yet still manage to not repeat themselves and stay interesting.  I am not that interesting.  I do, however, have a system.

The Jeff (Easy) System of Writing

I can’t sit down at a keyboard and “turn on” writing like a faucet.  I have to take advantage of it when I’m in the mood, and I carry a phone with me to take notes at all times.

Some people "think best with their hands", letting the keyboard dictate the flow of their writing.  I prefer to walk and talk at the same time.  Whenever possible, I dictate the bulk of my content into the phone, and go back to edit later.  I've always thought best on my feet, and at this point in my life there's no point in fighting that.

I spent a great deal of time walking in circles in my office at home speaking clearly and deliberately so the speech to text can pick it up.  I'll also wander the neighborhood with the dog, muttering to myself (this has nothing to do with dictation, I just thought you'd like to know).  I can type faster than average, but I speak around 110 words per minute. The phone seems to have little keeping up.

Inevitably, it gets a number of words wrong.  The first word of that last sentence, for example, was mistakenly picked up as "definitely".  My phone usually gets about 90 to 95% of the text correct, but it does miss or mix up a few words here and there. I'll sometimes correct this as I go, but typically leave the errors that I think I'll be able to solve later.  My system is to get the words out of my brain and into text format as quickly as possible.

As I run out of things to say, I start to slow down. I'll go back, make major changes, and usually dictate an alternate way to say a paragraph or two.

When I'm done, or bored with this, I transfer the text to the computer and begin to edit.  This can sometimes be days or weeks later (I find that, by putting it down, I can look at the text with a fresh perspective).  The first stage is to fix the glaring errors in grammar and punctuation.  I follow that up by moving content around and carefully crafting the work of art that you see before you.

For a post like this one, i often have a bunch of random paragraphs that need to be rearranged and touched up.  I usually spend about 2-3 times as long editing as I do on the initial writing.

All in all, writing is a very slow process for me that does not come naturally. I watch in awe as my wife crafts beautiful essays and research reports that can go on for over 100 pages.  I can write roughly a paragraph in the amount of time it takes her to write 2 pages.  

I do enjoy it, but I fully acknowledge that I have a long way to go.  I've got my system down, but I need practice over time.

Thankfully, I just have to write this. You're the one that just wasted time reading it.