Grinding Gears

Image used courtesy of The Public Speaking Project under a Creative Commons license.
Image used courtesy of The Public Speaking Project under a Creative Commons license.

There’s a saying about people who are new to driving a standard and have trouble finding their gears.

“If you can’t find ’em, grind ’em.”

I feel like that’s happening to my mind today.

Earlier I said I’m stretching my skill set. My grandpa said, “You’re expanding your skill set.”

He’s right.

It’s a matter of perspective.

Stretching a skill set implies that it’s temporary and that I would forget it soon after I no longer need it.

Expanding a skill set, on the other hand, implies that I am learning things that will be beneficial to me in the long run and it won’t be something I would soon forget.

Since I have often said that I am a perpetual student, I much prefer the latter.

In the meantime, I’ll be grinding gears until it becomes second nature. Much like driving a stick-shift.

The Wheels Are Turning

Image used courtesy of The Public Speaking Project under a Creative Commons license.
Image used courtesy of The Public Speaking Project under a Creative Commons license.

It is easy to get lulled into the belief that writing is writing is writing. Today, I was reminded that is not necessarily the case.

Researching articles for news writing is a different ballgame than researching for magazine articles. True, some of the basics are the same, but the process itself is different. You have to ask different questions of yourself and of your sources for news writing (reporting) than you do for magazine writing.

This is not a complaint. It is a statement of what is.

I also realized the power of flattery in getting a potential source to be more amenable to meeting for an interview. This was an unexpected realization. Yes, I know people like to be complemented, but I underestimated how valuable a tool it could be.

For example, a potential interviewee seemed rather reluctant to agree to talk to me. Then I mentioned the research I have already done on his work and how I think it looks like A Very Good Thing.

Boom!

He asked when I wanted to meet for the interview.

I think flattery is probably a tool that is best used sparingly, otherwise it could seem insincere. I think, too, though, that it is a valuable tool and should not be ignored.

When it comes to the actual writing, I am having to retrain myself about such things as when to abbreviate and when to use the full word/term and whether or not to use the Oxford comma.

Yes. The wheels are turning. And I swear I can feel the rust of unuse falling off as they move.

An Unintended Experiment

Image used courtesy of The Public Speaking Project under a Creative Commons license.
Image used courtesy of The Public Speaking Project under a Creative Commons license.

Did you see my post yesterday that included a short story? No? Don’t worry about it. You don’t have to go back and look at it. It’s OK.

It actually worked out to be an unintended experiment. And it showed me a few things.

While there are blogs where short stories are posted and well-received, this is not necessarily one of them. It does not mean it was a bad story or that no one liked it. It does mean that when you visit this blog, that is not the kind of content you come here to read.

I have worked to make my mark in two distinct niches: Creativity and social media. Over time, I have discovered that I am making some pretty good progress in those two areas. They are broad enough that I can write about many things that fall under those two umbrellas. They are also what I need to focus on here.

So let’s call yesterday’s post a social media experiment. It may have been an unintended one, but that is what it was. After all, isn’t that what most, if not all, social media is? An experiment to find out what works? It’s kind of like throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks.

For me, creativity and social media stick. Thank you for helping me figure that out.