Technical Writing is important!

Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, Hanukka, and/or any other you might celebrate!  I refuse to be politically correct and say Holidays!

Anyway, Last Cliches:

World of Good: Enormous benefit.  World has been used to mean “a great deal” since the 16th cent.-this phrase dates from 19th cent.–used in connection with something that was beneficial to one’s health.  See Thomas Mann in The Magic Mountain (translated by H. Lowe-Porter, 1927).

Ends of the Earth: Remotest part of the globe.  First appeared in the Bible: “All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God” (Psalms 98:3).  Turn of phrase is based on the idea of a flat earth, which actually has ends.  A cliche by late 19th cent.

Food for Thought: Something to ponder.  Metaphor implies that the mind can chew or digest an idea, dates from early 19th cent., although words to that effect were cited y Erasmus in his Adagia – 16th cent.  Modern cliche used by Mark Twain (A Connecticut Yankee in King aRthur’s court, 1889): “There was food for thought there.”


Technical writing is so important.  How many of you received “gadgets” for a gift?  Something you had to figure out how it worked or put it together?  I had several.  Even as we speak, I’m waiting for instructions on how to get my Memorex wi-fi dvd blu-ray player to have sound.  Had sound yesterday after I spent hours with it, but this morning, no sound again!  I looked under the trouble shoot guide for no sound and all said was probably not hooked up right.  Ha!  Only one cable and when we took the old DVD player off, we plugged in the new one.  Should work.  We have picture, no sound.  I read instructions and changed some settings yesterday, and there was sound.  This morning, No Sound!  I think there’s a flaw in the unit?

However, all my other “gadgets” seem to work.  Yes, technical writing is important because without it, we couldn’t do anything.  Step by step instructions on how to put something together or use an item is very important.  I figure you have to write like you’re telling how to do something to someone who cannot see and has never been exposed to it.  I call them “baby steps.”    Don’t leave any step out, because that might be the one step that makes everything make sense.

How many times have you received something and the instructions were not clear?  It’s no longer a sure thing that the instructions will be included or that they will be clear to someone.  On the instructions I have for this player, there is no telephone number.  You go to the website and ask your question and now I’m waiting for an answer.  Said it might take two days.  I realize they can’t write everything in an instruction manual, but to not have a phone number!  Wow, you’d think that would be one of the most important things to put in an instruction manual.  Someone to call for help.

Anyway, if you’re writing instructions, please make sure you include all steps, including contact information so that whatever you are writing about will be easy and cyrstal clear so that even a “child” could put it together or get help if needed.

Enjoy your writing!

Julie A. Winrich
helping readers enjoy sleuthing and solve puzzles!

What’s your responsibility as a writer?

What do you see your responsibility as a Writer is?  Well…

First, let’s get last week cliches:

Time to Kill: Spare time which someone must somehow occupy.  Kill implies wasting or using time frivolously.  See Vanbrugh and Cibber’s play The Provok’d Husband (1728) or Ugo Btti (The Fugitive, 1953): “Killing time is the chief end of our society.”

Throw Down the Gauntlet: Issue a challenge.  Date from time of knighthood, when the gauntlet or mail-plated glove was used to protect the hand, standard armor.  Throwing it down was a challenge to combat as chronicled by Edward Hall in 16th century.  Thomas Nashe (Pasquil’s Apologie, 1590):  “I cast them my Gauntlet, take it up who dares.”

Blow Hot and Cold: Vacillate, indecisive.  Expression comes from Aesop’s fable about a satyr and a traveler eating together on a cold day.  Traveler blew on his hands to warm them and on his soup to cool it.  The satyr saw this and threw him out because he blew hot and cold with the same breath.  Term came to mean hypocrisy (“These men can blow hot and cold out of the same mouth to serve several purposes,” wrote William Chillingworth about the Protestant religion in 1638).   Also used to describe simple indecision in Thomas Percy’s 1765 collection, Reliqus of Ancient English Poetry).

Remember, these cliches come from the book: The Facts on File of Dictionary of Cliches (2001) by Christine Ammer.


So what do you believe your responsibility as a writer is?  Are we supposed to do a world of good?  Do we write what we know? I guess this all depends on what type of writer we are.  Are we non-fiction?  If so, do we go to the ends of the earth to find the truth?  And, what is truth, ours or someone else’s?  If we’re fiction writers, then what?

I believe writing is first, for me as the writer.  It’s something I do because I enjoy it.  I love writing.  I love making up stories–must be a fiction writer?  Not necessarily.  One can take fact and write a story.  But it must be a good one and follow the facts.

Once I follow the first rule, writing for me, then we can follow the second rule–don’t cheat the reader.  Whether it be non-fiction or fiction, there are rules a writer should follow.  I didn’t say “Must” follow, but should, because there are always exceptions to the rules.  But our story should entertain not only the writer, but the reader and hopefully will bring forth emotions, and in the end, satisfaction.  We want to write a satisfying story wherein both writer and reader feel a completion at the end of the story.  That should be true whether it be non-fiction or fiction.

Well, I hope I’ve given you some food for thought.

Until next time,

Keep writing!


Weekly Blogging?….

Do you have time to kill?  Boy, I sure don’t.  I missed writing here for a week.  One minute I typed, then the next, I realized it was almost Friday again and I hadn’t written on my blog.  Where does the time go?

First things first…

Last Cliches:

On the Ball–Efficient and/or effective.  An American colloquialism probably came from baseball where pitcher puts spin or speed on the ball -strike out more batters.  Changed to mean any kind of competence by 1912 in article in Collier’s said: “He’s got nothing on the ball.”

Work One’s Tail Off–Work very hard.  Dates from first half of the 20th century  James Farrell used it in Studs Lonigan (1932-35). Also is used as to work ones’ butt off.

You Can’t Win ’em All–Impossible to succeed in every undertaking.  20th Cent. Americanism dates a little before win some, lose some, originating about 1940.  Used in Raymond Chandler’s The Long Goodbye (1954).  Shorter —you can’t win is spoken out of frustration with defeat -used earlier about 1910.

Yours Truly–I, me, myself.  Phrase used as a closing for letters since late 18th century.  By mid-19th century used as a synonym for “I,” –see George A. Sala’s The Baddington Peerage (1860): “The verdict will be ‘Guilty, my Lord,’ against yours truly.”

How many cliches did you find?

Ok, back to the idea of weekly blogging.  How many of you actually blog on a schedule?  Once a day? Once a week?  Once a month?  What’s your schedule or do you have one.  Maybe it’s time to throw down the gauntlet and say I will blog once a week rather than on a certain day?  I can’t seem to get to this site every Friday as I had hoped.  Maybe Friday is a bad day for me, but the week seems to go faster and faster as I age.  Ok, we won’t discuss that, but it does.

I enjoy writing on my blog, passing on the cliches and writing thoughts.  So why is it so hard to do it every week?  Do you have difficulties?  What are your solutions?  I suppose anything will become a habit eventually, but instead of saying I’ll write every Friday, I’ll narrow it down.  I admire those who write every day or on a set schedule.  I don’t write my stories on a set schedule either.  I mean I write every morning on something, but maybe not on my stories.

Lately I’ve been busy writing on the Policy and Procedure Manual for Redwood Writers.  Technical writing, which I’ve enjoyed.  Thankfully, it’s almost over and I can get back to my novel writing.  Of course, maybe I used the manual writing as an excuse not to write on my novels, but that subject is for another blog.

Since I blow hot and cold on this Friday day, I will definitely say once a week for my blogging.  I will try writing on Friday, but if it’s not that day, I won’t beat myself up over it.  So let me know how you all manage your blogging time.  What tidbits can you pass on?

Until next time….Keep Writing and I will too, to help my readers solve puzzles and enjoy sleuthing!