How to Stop Going on Autopilot

“I’ll bet a fiddle of gold
Against your soul
‘Cause I think I’m better than you”

You had a five-page assignment due and managed to squeeze it in in a solitary day. You feel proud that you’re so efficient and are one click away from turning it in to your professor or employer. You feel as confident as Johnny taking on the devil on the fiddle.¬†You reluctantly give your work a quick skim and even more reluctantly come to the realization that writing has to be original to be impressive, not just speedy.

The paper is full of cliches and fillers and doesn’t even flow smoothly. Looks like you went on autopilot and just thought you were having a creative streak. It’s a great realization right before a deadline.

Satisfying the Word Count VS Writing

There are no less than five paragraphs in your paper that all say the same thing. When a paragraph ends, the small point should be over. If the reader arrives at the same conclusion multiple times, it’s dull and a dead giveaway that the author does not care about the material.

Genuine Interest

This is the key factor in writing well. You have to engross yourself in the writing. Always make sure you are putting effort to feel something, anything about the topic before you begin. If your interest is being shy and you are tempted to expand contractions to meet your word count, there are a couple go-tos to help make yourself interested.

Compare Statistics

Statistics is a magical world. There’s nothing that sparks interest quite like inferring conclusions from numbers. It is difficult to explain, but you know when an article is backed up by real statistics that that article just came to life.

poowpyouw

Relate Personally

Remember something related to the material that personally happened to you so that you can evoke real emotions to use for solid writing. This goes back to the days when you thought your third grade teacher was very interested in your personal life but really just wanted to prompt you to write well.

Add further ideas in the comments!

Satire, You’re My Best Friend

When you’re good, that is.

Bad satire is one of the most painful things to read. At least when fiction writing or informative writing is kind of poor, you can still enjoy it. There are certain things that have to be true about a satire piece for readers to enjoy it, however.

The Target Market Has to Side With You

If most Americans think hummingbirds are cute, and you write an article poking fun at how ugly hummingbirds are, it is not going to be received well. It doesn’t matter if your article is hilarious to 5% of the population because they don’t like that type of bird. The other 95% will not be receptive to your clever writing.

hummingbird

If you write for a Republican blog and you satirize lawmakers who enforce cocaine regulation, it will not be well received. You can make great points, but people really just want to laugh or smirk at satire, and having views challenged just makes anyone salty.

Racism, sexism and other -isms are really obvious in satire. Some people can pull off being funny by pointing out a possible connection between a real job ad looking for a marketer for a Synagogue and a low hourly wage, if they get the context right. Very few people find you funny by implying Jewish people are straight up bad people, but there are plenty who will go out of their way to avoid your writing in the future.

Writing About Hummingbirds Won’t Cut It

People are just not as invested about most topics as they are about political and social commentary. Most people just plain don’t have a strong opinion on hummingbirds or most topics, actually. Why do you think The Onion does so well?

Yet, even The Onion has bad days, which goes to show there are other, more delicate factors to consider.

There are many other things that make great satire. But it’s very difficult to explain what makes things funny. That’s why in the professional world of satire writing, you either have it or you don’t. And if you don’t, you’re very lucky to get further criticism other than “it’s boring” or “no one cares about hummingbirds that much”. So if your satire is bad, it’s just best to let it die.

Pretty Little URLs

When sending someone a link, how do you write it? What is the proper way to send it? Is it okay to start with “https” or do you begin with “www.”? How about just jumping into the website name and only adding .com to the end?

One detail might have slipped your notice if you don’t pay too much attention to URLs. (URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator by the way.) “https” and “http” are two separate prefixes to websites, and boy does that little “s” make a difference. You can learn more here about the differences.

So, if you want information conveyed about the safety of your link, you should type out the entire URL. This is somewhat of a minor deal for most people, so you can chop it off if you please. Next, you are faced with “www.” Do you need to use it? The short answer is “no”.

“www” is mainly just a filler. It’s just to indicate that there isn’t another part to the URL before the goodies. For example, my blog’s URL is “writingisforbirds.wordpress.com”. It doesn’t have a “www” in it. It is a webpage that is part of WordPress, not a separate website. If you really want to get left-ring-finger happy, you can type out “www” in front of this address, but it will redirect back to a URL free of the World Wide Web acronym.

Readers, I just typed in cutebirds.com because I was playing with URLs, and I have to say, I am wondering when the countdown will end and what will arise. The only links on the page landed me to reading about “The Hedonistic Imperative”.

cute-birds

One thing is for certain about trying to go on new website adventures without a search engine…You will discover some some odd places unexpectedly!