Declutter Your Prose: Three Phrases to Avoid in Your Posts

I promise you, if I see what is described in #2 at the beginning of a post, I will not read it. I read a lot of blogs and I pretty much don’t read any of them that are cluttered as described in this post. Good stuff, worth reblogging.

The Daily Post

On The Daily Post, we want to help you improve your writing and offer concrete advice to craft clear, crisp prose. As an editor on WordPress.com, I read many, many posts each day on our platform; it’s worth pointing out words and sentences that might detract from your writing.

Here are three ways to copy edit your writing and declutter your prose:

1. In this post, I will explain . . .

When we draft posts, we naturally dump our inner monologues onto the page. And that’s good — that’s the beauty of free writing and cranking out first drafts: we have material we can later rework, cut, and move around.

Before you hit “Publish,” scan your intro for phrases like “In this post, I will explain…” or “Today, I will write about…” and similar phrases. In your drafting process, just let go and type. But when you’re…

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KIDS MAKE ME SICK.

In a pool of mediocrity occasionally you come across a written piece of work, so true and so stinkin’ funny that you cry. I’m going to be laughing all day over this one. If you have taught children, parent children, occasionally spent time in the presence of children – you’re gonna get this… Enjoy, it’s worth the four minutes of your life. -Rebecca

Storytime with John

Kids make me sick. And, no, not just uncomfortable, or a little bit queasy – but down right, pit of the stomach, SICK. It’s just something that they do that can turn that “thank God it’s Friday!” feeling, into “thank God I didn’t eat a large greasy breakfast”…let me run you through Friday’s events real quick ~

So I’m sitting in my kindergarten class, going through one of the books – most of the kids say that it is “easy peas” (they’re Korean so cut them some slack on the misuse of the phrase!), however one of the boys struggles with learning difficulties, so I’m giving him a little bit of extra help. That’s when I hear the long whine that I hear about 3000 times a day (approximately): “Teeeeeeeaaaacccccherrr? Oh, Teaaaaaachhherrrr? Teeaaaaachherrr! TEAAAA-”

“Oh my GOH…WHAT?”

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I cried this week…

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I was a missionary for 12 years. I vividly remember the emotions my friend A.L.F. is describing in her post, “I cried this week…” I was in a position, as she is, to lead hundreds, sometimes thousands – it is a lonely place up there all alone and thoughts of throwing in the towel are never far from your mind. After over a decade of that life, no wonder I tend to write humor…

A Living Flame

I cried this week. I almost never cry. I am not one who prides myself on not being a crier but I just don’t respond to emotion often by crying. Life has been hard though. I have cried more in these first months of 2014 then I have in years. It is not brought on by shallow, petty or even circumstantial things but by deep hurt. Mostly the hurt of being misunderstood.

I am thankful for the honor and position that God has given me. It has allowed me to make a great impact in my sphere in the world I live in. Being in a place of position does have great disadvantages. Often people in ministry are placed on a pedestal. It is not a pedestal that we have asked to be placed on. It is often a pedestal of honor. However when you are on a pedestal you…

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Motherhood, Magnolias and Missionaries

I rarely struggle for inspiration. Actually, I don’t struggle at all – sometimes I just don’t have it. We’re halfway through the A to Z Challenge and on most days I know well in advance what I will be posting for each letter. But not today. Not “M.”

M! Motherhood, Magnolias, Madness. So many Ms! But I wasn’t feeling it. Was. Not. Inspired. At. All.

stockvault-magnolia-tree121131I care about you, dear readers. I do. I never want to post – just to post. When I read A Living Flame’s post this morning I realized instantly why I was not inspired – she had already written the post meant for today. Voila! Missionary. (PS – I loved this post. PPS – She also wrote the recipe for Chai in my post The Art of Chai.)

A Living Flame

Some days life on the field is easy. Then there are days when it is hard. There are days when I climb to the rooftop and singing praise songs over my neighbourhood and then there are days when I feel like hiding in a quiet corner of my house and listening to the voices that tell me I am not good enough and will never accomplish anything. When I want a close friend to take me out to coffee and pray with me I am reminded that I am alone.

But there is encouragement. There is a way that I bring myself back to reality and realise that my obstacles are small, my friends many and my situation hopeful.

In the past few years I have found great joy (and sorrow) in reading of the lives that have gone before me. When I read about Amy Carmicheal and that she…

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Not Much is Gonna Happen if You Just Stay Home

I really just wanted to lie down on Saturday afternoon.

Yet, I had an open window from 2PM, when I dropped off two children at a birthday party, until 5PM when I needed to pick them up.

Drive into the City and meet Culture Monk/Kenneth Justice  who was visiting Philadelphia on his Drinking in the Culture Tour or not? That was the question.

It’s weird, isn’t it? To walk into a coffee house with a 10 and 5 year old at your side to meet a person that you only know through reading his blog? In fact, I wasn’t even sure what he looked like, between the coffee cup and the baseball cap all I could decipher from his profile picture were bright blue eyes. I should just stay home and rest, I thought, meeting this random person has got to be weird.

Thankfully, Weird and me are old buddies. Weird said, if you don’t meet him while you have this chance, you’ll regret it. Weird was right. I would have.

I don’t know what was more intimidating, meeting a person I’ve never met or walking into a coffee house. For non-coffee drinkers like me, I assume the coffee employees are going to spot me right away. “COFFEE HATER!” they’ll point and yell before sliding me out the door.

The good news is, the place was Super busy and I apparently slipped in unnoticed by the Coffee Drinker United police. My girls and I stood by the entrance- not in line, but next to it and I said to C, “I think that might be him.” Deep breath. “Are you Kenneth Justice?” I managed to get out.

And he was.

Shake hands. Introduce myself. Bolt for the door. That was the plan.

But Kenneth immediately pulled up chairs and engaged us in conversation. Warmest person in the world.

In more crazy news, Kenneth chose to shared the story of our meeting on his blog The Culture Monk today. Find it here. It’s strange to be the one written about and not the one writing.

Kenneth is a story-teller of other people’s stories. He’s a conversation initiator and obviously a lover of humanity. What a great job you have Kenneth. You are blessed.

I’m so glad I didn’t stay home and nap.

Oh, and FYI – I know the answer to the question Kenneth posed in his article:

Whatever is attributed as good, or noble or admirable in me is always and ONLY the work of Christ in my life.

-Rebecca 

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The sweet girls eating their promised frozen yogurt and watching a street juggler. Glad we didn’t stay home.

Lies & Why I Can’t Move to Florida

lie!

The statement above is clearly a lie.

However, when my daughter and I bought the plaque last summer we totally believed it. It still hangs on our door but I’ve hidden it with a kindergarten Valentine project from G.

I’m a flip flop girl. Even living here in the Northeast I could still somehow get through winter with my flip flops, some snow boots and a slip on mule-type shoe (with socks, of course.)

mule

 

Not this year.

Last week I finally broke down and bought sneakers. I haven’t owned a pair of sneakers in close to fifteen years. I wore them to the office the other day and my brother (who works next to me) noticed them immediately.

“Nice sneakers, Bec.” he says.  Which in sibling talk means,

“You know you look like a Dork in those shoes, right?”

I confess, I’m terribly self-conscious about the sneakers. I’m 40. I’m a mom. I’m sure the sneakers have caused my butt to spread at least four inches. What I’m trying to say is –

I’m. Just. Not. A Sneaker. Girl.

I have considered moving to Florida where I could wear flip flops all day forever and ever for the rest of my life. The only problem is, I watch way too much Animal Planet.

Not only would I have to worry about alligators and crocodiles snapping up my little ones in the back yard, but now Florida is overrun with terrifying Invasive Species like the Burmese Python and Snakeheads.

burmese-python-invasive-species Snakehead_fishJust the name: “snakehead” is enough to keep me out of Florida. Yeeeeee.

I suppose I’ll just have to make my peace with the sneaks.

 

Conversations with Myself

Getting a massage is a good time to think of blog posts. During my Mom’s Day Out massage on Saturday I wrote five blog posts in my head. Yay me.

I’ve forgotten four of them.

This is the problem – I do a lot of decent writing in my head, I even do good writing Out of my head. But if I don’t write it down, it’s gone.

Much of my best writing is done while having conversations with myself. That’s just a nice way of saying – I talk to myself.

For years, whenever I was talking to myself in my daughter G.’s presence she thought I was praying. I may have led her to that conclusion…

G: “Mommy, who are you talking to?”

Me: “uh, Jesus.”

The conversations I had with myself (usually in the car) in the presence of my daughter were technically not prayers – since I was talking to myself, but in my defense,

God.      Is.      Everywhere.

He hears my every thought, word and random with-self conversation and oral blog post…

…yeah, even I’m not buying it. And somewhere around age six & a half, G. stopped buying it too.

g

Chai Did It

In general, I am caught off guard. A remodeled kitchen leads to cleaning out and repainting my pantry, which leads to picking up a box of Tazo Organic Chai Tea (which I don’t like). For some reason, (probably to put off actually working,) I decide to read the box.

“DID YOU KNOW?

In the foothills of the Himalayas, chai wallahs can be found serving up steaming cups of sweetly spiced chai to wandering souls.”

Yes. I did know.

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And suddenly, I am there. I can feel the small, stained brown, angular, hot glass in my hand.  I see a wrinkled, skinny old man in a knit cap squatting on the ground watching me watching him take drags on a cigarette in between sips of his chai.

That was unexpected, but sure enough, I’m there.

 

From 1999-2011 I lived in the country of India as a wife and a missionary.

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