13 Dec 2009

A change is coming

I have not been blogging as frequently  of late for various reasons. One of them is that I had 3 assignments for university that fell within a couple of weeks of each other. It isn’t all hard, these assignments, but it does take some getting used to when you have to change a lifetime of habits.

For example, I have to write in a different manner. I like using words to express myself, and usually can write oodles and oodles if called upon. Now I find myself constrained to word limits and I have to watch every single word, literally.

As an example, ‘Which means that’ becomes ‘meaning’ thereby saving 2 words.

In my last assignment, little changes like that eliminated 138 words! Thus, I used the space to plug in 2 fresh ideas, which I would not have had room for had I written in my ‘normal’ style.

Another new idea to me was to mind map (or strategise) my response. I usually do this a full 2 weeks before beginning to write, if I can. This allows me some time to leave it alone, then come back to it with ‘fresh’ eyes. I can then see things I may need to modify, include or exclude.

When I finish writing, hopefully a week or so before sending my assignment off, I can again leave it alone, and come back in a couple of days to re-read, modify and review. What I noticed was that this gives me a better chance to be objective. This is important because at this point, the impartiality makes it easier to ‘excise’ ideas I may have been holding on to.

Sometimes I may do as many as 5 edits before sending my assignments off, all in an effort to be clear but concise. And I have the habit now of printing up, reading, and checking for mistakes in grammar, spelling, composition, ideas etc. Sometimes, it is amazing how many gaffes can be unseen in reading from a monitor screen.

Now, if only I can find an easy way to locate my glasses…