Curing Writer's Pain

Writing samples: Parker 75
Image by churl via Flickr

I didn’t know there was such an affliction. Not only is such compositional agony out there, it is the subject of college coursework. Stephanie Allen at idealawg (link here) posts on the subject from her experience in a workshop course presented by Dr. Donna Strickland. I urge you to hit the link to her post; it is detailed and definitely worth a read.

There are a few points I would like to highlight here. First, Dr. Strickland mentions the positive impact of a book she read, How Writers Journey to Comfort and Fluency: A Psychological Adventure by Robert Boice. In it, the author cites several causes for suffering:

  • Work aversion
  • Procrastination
  • Writing apprehension (this was the only cause on the list that Strickland did not experience)
  • Dysphoria/depression
  • Impatience
  • Perfectionism
  • Rigid rules (e.g., “If I don’t have three hours to write than what is the point?” or “I have to have a good first line before I write”)

These “causes” actually look like symptoms of pain to me. Why do these behaviors arise in the first place?

Dr. Strickland does set about crafting some cures for these conditions, which include letting go of the “mindfullness” that drives the above-cited “causes.” Dr. Strickland’s steps include incorporation of Boice’s steps and appear centered on the idea of dropping blocks that our intellect can put in place. Patience, yoga, beginning before “ready”, all have a place in aiding writing and curing pain.

Attorneys faced with writing a brief or motion may find themselves in pain as well. But we don’t often have the luxury of losing the “mindfulness”  aspect of our experience. Case in point, it makes little sense to start writing before you are prepared with the proper research, particularly if a deadline is looming. Writing twice and cutting once isn’t always an option.

But, we can practice our writing whenever possible to work through some of the issues implicated in the writing pain process. One of the real benefits of blog writing for lawyers is that it gets them to engage in a different form of writing than is usually before them and may even help to loosen up tight writing muscles that even Ben-Gay can’t touch.

In any event, Allen’s article includes links that may be of interest. If you have thoughts on the writing process and how to get past your own personal hurdles, I would love to hear about them in the comments.

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Heapr Is A Fast, All-In-One Search Option

Want a comprehensive search but don’t have the time to hit all the major engines? Check out Heapr (link here). Heapr will show results from Google, Twitter, Wikipedia, WolframAlpha, Flickr, and more. It’s cool and its really fast – it starts searching as you type and only loads one page at a time. Images will show you both Google images and Flickr images. Videos show results from YouTube, Vimeo and Hulu on the same page. You can download YouTube vids with a single click. The lite version of Heapr just hits up Google but does it much faster than Google itself!

Heapr offers a browser plug-in so you can access Heapr’s search from the little browser box in your bar. Go ahead and check it out – bet you will be as impressed as I was.

I got the screen below in response to my “tweetie purchase” search in about 2 seconds. Wow. Oh, and for you ad-phobes, there are no ads. Really. It also looks like there are some features in the pipe-line, including customizable layouts, color themes, widgets and speed enhancements. A service to watch, for sure.

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More About iPhone OS 4

Apple Inc.
Image via Wikipedia

I followed the live cast of the introduction of iPhone OS 4 last Thursday. Interesting stuff coming down the road. I plan to do a post on the new Enterprise-friendly features that are pushing iPhone closer to the business user group in a later post. I thought I might give a run down here of all of the features I can glean from articles and news sources across the web.

Multitasking: it’s the big news. Double tap the home button to activate. This activates a multitasking tray at the bottom of the screen which swipes to reveal more apps. Closing multitasking apps is similar to how you would delete an app, with a press-and-hold.

Folders: the next big news, in my inventory. If you drop one icon on top of another, they fill a folder button (which can hold up to twelve  icons/apps). Folder name defaults to the category of the first app, but you can edit it.

Mail: third biggest news. Now your mailboxes default to an integrated all-in-one mailbox view. You can still select one of the individual accounts and see all of the relevant folders for that inbox. New option threaded view, kind of like Gmail. Email from contacts will show the image associated with that contact. You have the option to keep or delete shared media before sending.

Search: it won’t say “Google” anymore next to the URL in the browser – it will only say “search.” Spotlight search on the phone will allow you to access the Web or Wikipedia within the search screen.

Screen: there are some visual changes that hearken to the iPad, and you can select your own wallpaper for the home screen.

Ipod: you can see your folders and subfolders from iTunes now on the iPhone. There are some editing and display tweaks as well.

Messages: search field added. Character counts can be toggled in the settings.

Calender: now you can select any number or all calendars, rather that all or one.

Photo: will support the iPad “Places and Faces” with syncing based on people identified in the photos. Geotagged images will shop maps of the area. You will be able to rotate pics before emailing or messaging.

Camera: now has digital zoom for camera and video and touch to focus in video.

Notes: wireless sync, multiple accounts. IMAP email, as well as MobileMe.

Location: you can now select on or off for various services in Settings.

Passcode lock: has been beefed up with alphanumeric password support.

Game Center: not sure how this will implement, but it is apparently an on-line gaming community tool to facilitate games-based communication and competition via the iPhone OS. Will support push notifications, which is already found in many iPhone game apps.

There are other minor details and cosmetic changes in OS 4, but I hit the bigger features here. All in all, not a bad set of upgrades.

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