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Thursday, August 04, 2016

Taking Myself to Task

I have wanted to focus more on my writing, and to generally be doing more of it than I have been in the last few years. And since I've finally figured out that wanting alone is not the best way to hope to get something done, I decided to set myself up on a task to be completed, involving a series of writing tasks revolving mostly around those topics that come to my mind and that I want to say something about. This is starting to sound unfortunately similar to when I first started this blog, but this time around, and now that I'm about a thousand posts of "early years" nonsense out of the way, I wish to make a more professional effort of it this time around, maintaining a schedule and watching my error frequencies and performing other such, basic analysis.

Many serious writers whom I have met and interacted with have often looked down upon the basic "Readability Statistics" that are available on MSWord. It's not particularly profound, and I remember when I asked about the last three statistics in the "Readability" section, the closest I came to a good explanation was when I was told that I shouldn't worry too much about these, more about the grade I would receive on my assignment. Able to acquire information on my own now, thanks to such rigorous schooling, I have used these stats as indicative measures of my writing. There was a brief moment in time when I discussed these with John, and as my boss and mentor at the time, he was very good about pointing out that these measures were more applicable to the world of the high school English classroom in the US. Passive sentences are looked down upon in academic writing, as they are both verbose and serve no particular stylistic enhancement to the writing task at hand, so the lower this percentage the better. This was very much in line with the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level, where unless we were writing to a specific audience that demanded a much higher Grade Level, it should ideally be about the upper middle school level to cater to a much larger audience. The Flesch Reading Ease Score, he explained to me, had a score that functioned in the opposite direction. The higher the number, the better the score, but really, because of its analysis of word and sentence lengths in arriving at a test score, any extra focus on it may disparage a budding writer not looking to excel in academic writing. For me, with my passion for long, run-on sentences, and big bombastic words that take up as much space as my sentences, this was most apt as far as timely explanations go. 

I will be tracking the MSWord-generated results of these tests, for this writing task, because I just want to see what it looks like for the kind of blogging that I am doing. Of course, as little as I have contributed to this blog in the last few years, this is possibly shaping up to be another one of those good-idea-bad-implementation things already. However, I am making a far more serious effort to get off my lazy wannabe-writing-but-can't-find-the-time butt and really make this happen. Normally I would say something clich├ęd like "Wish me luck", but this time around, I am going to ask people both online and offline, the latter with proximity of habitat to not exceed five kilometers from my rented apartment, to kick my butt if I get lazy again. Drop me a line, knock on my door, curse at me in public, but please, if you do not see me posting something at least once a week, I encourage you to take stern action and just wake me back up to this post and my apparent commitment to complete a writing task, and I will be most grateful for this. You have my permission to "awaken" me, but not to do so in a manner involving physical violence, or projectiles, or both, or...you get my drift. :) I hope it will not come to this, certainly!

A couple of weeks ago, I attempted to get back into my blogging rhythm by firing off a series of posts, attempting to make it a daily memoir of occurrences or thoughts, once again. However, some posts were pushing the 2000+ word count mark, and while I do not shy away from attempting to produce large pieces of text, attempting to do so while I am at work and handling responsibilities that I get paid for was proving to be very difficult. Furthermore, I felt that there was too much interference of work-like blandness that started permeating my writing, so much so that I have been attempting to wrap up what started out as a spur-of-the-moment piece more than a week ago, and I still have not gotten around to liking the way it’s turning out. With my newfound plan, I am most likely going to start from scratch again on this post, and see if my newly rediscovered zest and zeal for blabbering on in type is going to take me to a new, unfamiliar, yet very comforting place. It is a place that I have wanted to be for some time now. Now, both that time and place have arrived...and I do not plan to miss the bus this time around!

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Here are the MSWord 2007 Readability Statistics for this blog post:

Words = 900
Characters = 4025
Paragraphs = 4
Sentences = 25
--
Sentences/Paragraph = 6.2
Words/Sentence = 36.0
Characters/Word = 4.3
--
Passive Sentences = 8%
Flesch Reading Ease = 48.6
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level = 15.4
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