Discussion: Shorthand

101 journaling promtps (2)This morning I didn’t know what to write about on the blog, and so I consulted a little book I bought exactly 2 years ago (apparently): 101+ Creative Journaling Prompts by Kristal Norton.

The book is targeted at very arty people who like to create any kind of visual works of art. But there are also some gems in there to crank up the writerly juices and thought processes.

The very first section is Hopes, Dreams, [sic – see *Note*] & Goals. And the very first prompt is “What is something you want to learn how to do?” (Grammar note: There would usually be a full stop after these quotes, but as there’s already one included in the question mark, it’s not completely necessary any more.)

If you’d like to buy this book, you can find it here.

(*Note*: This is not really the Oxford comma. The Oxford comma is properly used these days to avoid confusion, when the items in a list of words are not single words, as in “I like to eat my grandma and dogs” v “I like to eat, my grandma, and dogs”, rather than being optional at the end of any list of single words and before the word “and”. You can find clarification here.)

teeline for journalistsI’d like to learn shorthand. I wanted to learn shorthand at school, but it was classed as a dying skill in the late-1970s when I did my “options”, and my teachers wouldn’t let me do it. (They wouldn’t let me do drama either, but that’s another story.)

However, since then I’ve discovered that shorthand forms the bulk of the widely recognised NCTJ courses for journalists. I did a C&G (City & Guilds) in broadcast journalism, with BBC Radio, which was all of the NCTJ course but without the shorthand.

I’d love to learn shorthand so much I’ve started this book several times: Teeline for Journalists by Dawn Johnston. There’s a CD that I’ve already loaded onto my mp3 player, but I’ve always fallen down because I’ve not had anyone to read the “read out loud” exercises to me, and I’ve always stopped at that point.

So, this week’s discussion is shorthand. Do you have it? Would you like it? Should I have it? How best can I learn it?

Bonus discussion: What books help you when you need a prompt or two?

Thank you for participating. 🙂

Grammar Nazi At Work

Bassenthwaite, where thar be osprey (can you see them?). (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)
Bassenthwaite, where thar be osprey (can you see them?). (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Yes, I’m a bit of a grammar nazi. But I try not to bandy it about too much as not everyone is as bothered as I am about quality, standard or consistency – or just plain being correct. So with emails, texts and social media, I tend to just ignore mistakes, typos and general bone idleness.

However, when it’s a writing organisation or a writing competition, I’m slightly torn. I’m annoyed too when it’s promotional literature that a client has paid for – surely if they’re paying a professional rate, they should get a professional job. Or maybe I’m just old-fashioned like that.

For example, if I see a poster on, say, Facebook, that has anything to do with a campaign or something else I have a lot of interest in, I tend to share it with everyone on my list. But if that poster has any grammatical errors on, I just like it and move on.

When it’s a writing organisation or a writing competition, I really do want to share it … but if there are grammatical or spelling errors … I tell them.

This happened this morning on FB, and I won’t name the organisation as they fixed it as soon as I sent them a private, friendly (I hope) message. Within minutes there was a new poster available that I felt more able to share.

So, today’s question is this: Would you tell them or would you let it go?

Navel gazing
I’ve had a bit of a navel-gazing week. I wasn’t very well on Monday still, following our little flu epidemic last week, and yesterday I just couldn’t get on with much work beyond mechanical-type stuff. I didn’t know what the problem was until I received a phone call from one of my lovely bosses, as I had plenty of work in. But the problem turned out to be, I didn’t want to do it (for various reasons I won’t go into here); I wanted to work for lovely boss.

So we had a chat and he does have plenty of work for me, and this has given me light at the end of the tunnel, if you like. Now that I know I don’t just have this work in I really don’t want to do, but I have more, more enjoyable work on the horizon, I was able to find my mojo again.

Writing bag
I started by upgrading my writing bag to one I can fit the editing/proofreading folder in as well.

I’ve added my Teeline Shorthand for Journalists course to the bag and intend to work on this for at least an hour a day.

The current novel is in the bag – The Beast Within: A Marcie Craig Mystery.

My Kindle is in there, with a few reference books for writing I have open, a collection of stories from Arthur Conan Doyle, and a novel.

I have a journalism workbook in there too, and all of the current short writing work in progress, plus all of my various notepads and a pencil tin.

Current WiP
Today I’m editing a book and tweaking another. I’ve already updated the gig list for the week. Tomorrow I’m in Birmingham to see to a few things with my parents.

Today’s picture
While we were on holiday in Dentdale, we also ventured over to the Lake District. There are osprey at Bassenthwaite, and from the RSPB viewing platform up on the hillside we had a very good view of the adult male and the two juveniles – one male, one female. The adult female had already migrated about a week or so before we arrived.

In today’s picture, taken by the poet, you can see the lake and a bar of sand where the juveniles’ favourite perch is. We also watched the male juvenile have a go at a spot of fishing.

While there we also saw a jay, some finches and a beautiful red squirrel. I’ve never seen a red squirrel before, so that was a special treat for me.

Enjoy the view. 🙂