Things what I writ

I sometimes write nonsense about things to try and sound clever

Archives
Categories

Waiting for the train that never comes

hepworth 1

“Here’s my platform. I’m stood on my platform, waiting for the train. But the harder I wait the less the train comes. It’s a paradox. The train will never come if I wait for it, however hard I wait.

So I go to my park. Here’s my park. It’s got grass and trees and things. There’s places I can go and just not worry about trains. So I stand on a pole and start not to worry too much about trains. Soon I’m not worrying about trains at all.

And then my feet leave my pole and I ‘m lifted to the sky. I’m flying. I look down at my park and there are other people in my park. They’re not worried about trains. They’re just doing whatever it is they do.

Before I know it, I’m way, way up in the sky. I’m so far from worrying about trains that I’m playing with the planes. The planes are orange and Easy. Not like the trains.

Oh, the trains. I need to get a train. I’ll never get a train up here. I need to get a train. We all need to get a train. Where are the trains?

So I’m back at my platform. I’m stood on my platform, waiting for the train. But the harder I wait the less the train comes. I know there are trains. I’ve been on trains before. They took me right where I wanted to go. But there’s no train here. Maybe I’m waiting too hard.

Wait, here comes a train! I think that’s a train I can use. Let…Oh. It’s gone. Still, there’ll probably be another one. You know, wait hard enough for one train and they all come at once.

<pause>

No. No more trains.

But wait. It’s not just me. There’s other people here waiting for a train. Other people trying too hard to wait for a train. I wonder if they have a garden? Or a pole? I wonder if they fly? I wonder what kind of trains they’ve been on? So we talk. We talk about gardens. We talk about poles. We talk about flying. And we talk about trains. It turns out we’re all waiting too hard for our trains and those trains just never seem to come. Maybe we should stop waiting so hard.

And you know, as we’re talking…a train arrives. We’re not sure where it’s going, but its there, all the same.

And then another arrives. We’re not really sure where that’s going either, but it looks kind of interesting.

And more and more trains arrive. Until there’s so many trains that we just don’t know which ones to ride on. But it’s alright. Because we’ll just try a few and see where they go. We don’t have to go all the way, but it might be interesting so see what happens. How about we just take a train each? We could meet back here and tell each other how it was. If we really like one, let’s take it all the way together.

Here’s my platform. I’m waiting for the train. But I’m not waiting too hard. Seems to me, the harder you wait the less the train comes. Anyway, my friends will be here soon. We’ll not wait too hard and just see what happens.”

Writing to be read: A workshop on being a better writer

Martin Belam and Cennydd Bowles have written popular and successful books, articles and blogs on user experience. On Tuesday evening, I attended a writing workshop, where they shared tips, tricks and best practise for ‘better writing’.

I write too much. When I write about an event, I fill the page with clever, but meaningless sentences. Seeing the details of the workshop, I thought it would be a great way to learn from others and share opinions on what makes a better writer. It ended up being all that and more. It was an insight into methods and practices that Martin and Cennydd use in their own writing, highlighting that personal approaches to writing differ, but common creative techniques and some rigorous editing can nearly always improve output.

First off, Martin shared some of the tactical armoury he has developed through his own writing. He focused on tips and tricks for writing to be read and was able to provide some excellent examples of the dramatic impact simple devices can have. Some of his advice was common sense, while some was quite crafty. Some was plainly evil, but, nonetheless, common practice, when writing with particular targets in mind.

Cennydd, on the other hand, wanted to help us understand that after writing, the real work starts. Editing your content is just as important as writing it. Through a series of classic examples and anecdotes from his own experience, he gave practical advice on analysing and improving your own writing, through careful, considered editing. In common with Martin, Cennydd also was keen to make the most important point of all: if you can’t speel, please don’t write, especially if your grammar do suck.

It was thoroughly enjoyable evening, with practical, actionable advice. Clearly, there is no one ‘right way’ to become a better writer, but if you can learn from others’ experiences, you can, at least, take steps in a better direction.

[This post is an edit of the previous post ‘This title is clever but pointless and inefficient’. It is an attempt to put some of the learning from the writing workshop into practice and so it’s not a great post, more of an exercise. If you prefer one or the other, leave a comment. You might not like either of them, which is more likely]

listening post: the soft moon – circles