Tag: acoustic

Writers Learning to Learn

Ystad

Software like Photoshop, Excel, and Scrivener are great, but they can also be intimidating. Have you ever paid for a program and never use it? Learning something new can be scary. Many programs have help files, but often that’s not enough. Reading something and learning it are two different things. There are three types of learning. They are audio, visual, and hands-on. In this article, I will use Scrivener as my example.

When considering this software, I looked at the Scrivener website and studied the overviews and features section. Impressed enough to make the purchase and read the written tutorial, I was quickly overwhelmed. Note, at this point, I was only looking at buttons and icons.

Next, I went to Facebook and found a group called Scrivener Users. I prefer to hear from those who use the software, as opposed to those trying to sell me something. One advantage was now I could ask questions. Many people kept referring to the book Scrivener for… by Gwen Hernandez, so I purchased that. The book was excellent. Occasionally, I would click on an icon to verify the features listed underneath.

Being a photographer for 40+ years, I relate to all things visual. Therefore, the next logical step was YouTube. Although they had dozens of tutorials most felt like a synopsis, a summary if you will.

I liked being able to see and hear what I was learning. But, I wanted to watch without being dependent on the internet. What I found was a website called udemy.com, which had several outstanding video tutorials. What I had missed to this point, was the hands-on approach. With the program now open, I found the pause button was my new best friend.

The class was reasonably priced and had excellent quality. It was also downloadable. With my slow internet speed, it did take a while (over 5 hours), but each of the 46 videos was downloaded to a folder on my desktop. Now, I could watch, practice, and hear the lessons all at the same time.

If you want to be a writer, you don’t just write when it’s convenient, you write every day. If you want to learn something new you don’t just read a manual and expect to know it all. You use different senses when you want to learn effectively, and you can also use a variety of resources.

Millions of writers write blogs and how-to books with the expectation you will comprehend the subject better. There are thousands of users on Facebook and other social media outlets, waiting to share information they have learned from experience. The key word being experience. You must jump right in and get your hands dirty. YouTube has videos on almost any subject you can imagine. You can find inexpensive courses online. In many cases, you can also find Pod Casts and audio CDs on your favorite subject.

The information age does not limit you to one medium. You’ve heard the phrase show don’t tell. This applies to learning as well as writing. Part of my learning process includes repetition. If I can listen or watch something multiple times, it tends to stay with me better. Some people can read something once and retain everything. I’m not one of those people. The more types of learning methods you employ, the better the odds you will retain the information. When getting your hands dirty doesn’t help and reading is not enough, try using more resources.

Billy Elliot Is Fun for the Whole Family

paradise of ducks

Billy Elliot the musical offers a night of theatrical fun that the whole family can enjoy. It's the story of a young boy who hangs up his boxing gloves for ballet shoes set in the back of the Miners' strike of 84-85. The show has won numerous awards in both London and in the United States including the Oliver and the Tony for best new musical. The show has also received a plethora of Helpmann awards, Green Room awards and Drama Desk awards, which all speak to the technical brilliance of this show as well as the outstanding performances of the cast.

Adapted from a widely popular film Billy Elliot the musical brings together an eclectic and talented group to create the technical aspects of the show. The show's stunning music was written by the famous rock star Sir Elton John, with lyrics and book contributed by Lee Hall. Peter Darling gives the show its delightful choreography that will touch your heart along with the songs the characters sing. Director Stephen Daldry does a great job making the show both touching and funny.

Due to the age of the main character the role of Billy is rotated amount four talented young men. Josh Baker, Dean Charles Chapman, Ryan Collinson and Scott McKenzie all bring something unique and loveable to this amazing breakout role. The roles of the other children in the show are also rotated nightly but each member of this young cast is talented and amazing to watch. They are a new generation of theater stars and starlets just cutting their teeth on a great show.

The adult members of the ensemble are also a joy to watch. Martin Marquez as Dad and Genevieve Lemon as Mrs. Wilkinson, Billy's ballet teacher, bringing a whole lot of heart and depth to their roles.

Billy Elliot is currently playing at the beautiful Victoria Palace Theater on Victoria Street in London, just opposite Victoria Underground Station. The show runs three hours including admission. Tickets may be purchased online or at the box office. Group rates are also offered. Billy Elliot tickets would make a lovely gift for any theater lover and is an especially good show for children. For those that would like to cultivate a love of theater in their offspring this musical is a good starting point and very age appropriate. It can be enjoyed by children and adults alike.

Analysis of the Writings of Kurt Vonnegut

portrait:

Kurt Vonnegut is an American writer-famous for his novel-Slaughter House. He belongs to the generation of modern novelists.

Where We Live

In the narrative ‘where we live’, the writer introduces us to the rustic village called Cod Bay. There is an old library there and a salesman tells the librarian that the Britannica volume is worn out, an old one belonging to the era of 1938. He urges them to purchase a new one.

Harrison Bergson

Harrison Bergson is a writing piece about two people watching television-Hazel and her father Harry. Bergson had been out of prison. The people in the narrative are very emotional and get to talk about the mundane things of life.

Who am I this time?

The author has to take up the role of a theatre director. He discusses with the actors about real life situations which they could adapt in the play. The language that is used is the one of minimalism.

Welcome to the Monkey House

There is a discussion about birth control and ethical suicide as the population of the world is burgeoning. The writ-up is highly exaggerated and too difficult to believe.

Long walk to forever

In this article there is a description of a man and woman who had grown up together. They later meet and the man who is in the army comes to know that the woman is getting married. They have a walk and sort out issues and become reunited as a happy couple.

The Foster Portfolio

In the Foster Portfolio, the protagonist is an avid stock broker and he strikes a deal with a rich buyer named Henry. He is convincing and persuasive and he strikes a ton of a deal.

Miss Temptation

Miss temptation is a description of a voluptuous lady Susana. There are many lechers who stalk her. The story describes the beauty of the woman in ironic humor.

All the King’s Horses

All the King’s Horses is a story of an imprisoned American colonel and his wife. The enemy’s lieutenant engages in a sadistic conversation. He has got an inflated ego and hatred for the Yankees.

Tom Edison’s Shaggy Dog

Tom Edison’s shaggy dog is a writing that focuses on a Labrador. The dog is sensitive and intelligent and the dog always hangs his wet nose on the owner’s ankles. The narrator thinks that the dog had taught him a trick or two about casting winning lots in the stock market.

New Dictionary

In the New Dictionary, the author narrates his fascination about searching for new words in the lexicon. He favors the unabridged one over the abridged one. Dirty words are a treat for the author, a surreal divine forest.

Next Door

Next door is meat that describes a wall separating the dwellings of two families. There is a meek description of family life.

More Stately Mansions

More Stately mansions are a frigid narrative about the life of an aristocratic people. There is a lot of telling about the dwellings in the mansion, its decorations, and its furniture. One can’t be too impressed with the writing.

The Hyannis Port Story

The Hyannis Port Story is a literature in which the protagonist encounters a Commodore. Daily life is thumbed in vigorous prose.

DP

DP is a moving tale that describes an orphanage run by nuns. The children there come from all nationalities. Many of the children are going through an identity crises. They feel the loss of having been abandoned by their parents.

The Barn House Effect

In the Barn House Effect, the author describes the powers of the mind which he defines as dynamo-psychism. The powers of the mind like clairvoyance, telepathy and exist as a hypothetical conjecture.

Change the World

The Windmills Of La Mancha (Explored)

We are capable of changing the world, Farrukh told me while I sunk in the depth of my thoughts. He started nonstop talking without realizing where he is sitting and what he is saying. Without spending time with him, I moved away.

At that time I realized he was right because people like us are capable of changing the world but may be he even do not know why only we and not others. While I was moving away, Farrukh was continuing saying insignificant and stupid sentences. I observed that he is not a normal human he is essentially abnormal because he has more emotions in him which is flowing in the ridiculous way and he always talk more than normal because he eject his extra emotions in the form of words. The people having more emotions also have more potential and ability to change others. If you list the people who influenced the people of the world, you find that these people had extra emotions. In addition, these people utilize their extra emotions in a very positive way by speaking, writing, poetry, art etc.

The best example is of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the ex-prime minister of Pakistan who changed the minds of millions peoples in Pakistan, had extra emotions in him but he utilized those emotions in his debt. Whenever I asked about him from his fans, they told that he was a great speaker. He influenced on the psychic of the people by his speaking power however, such persons are even more practical than others. I am the fan of the famous columnist, Javed Chaudhary. I read most of his columns and I realized that he is also an emotional person but utilizing his emotions in the form of valuable words.

Every person of the world possesses emotions but its level varies in each individual. The level by which we identify elevated emotions is the habits and acts one show during its normal life. I analyzed that poets, writers and artists come under this category but they are utilizing their elevated emotions in a positive way. The extra emotions need to eject out, it flows, and no one stops its way. The most concerned thing is the way that it flows out from one's acts. It is something like water, which is flowing towards the unspecified way, but you manage to divert its position towards right path but can not stop the flow. If a person utilizes its emotions in a very right and positive manner then it will make a difference however, its flow in wrong direction produces ruin, terrible and harmful personalities.

Whenever I see emotional peoples, I start thinking that emotions changes the world but that change is always unidirectional.

Famous People

La Bodeguita del Medio (Marzo 2011,La Habana,Cuba)

Generally speaking, a superstar is someone who seeks media attention and the largest part recently has an vociferous personality. The want to be noticeable is obscure by more or less to be a part of Western culture and more specifically the American Dream as a quantity of accomplishment. A superstar with the aim of shys away from the freely available eye or keeps a very separate secretive life is called a conductor superstar. At the other put an end to of the spectrum, a superstar with the aim of seeks unfashionable publicity instead of him- or herself is often called a media tart, but lone with the aim of uses his or her secretive life as a vehicle instead of enhanced superstar status, now and again desperately, is referred to as media whore. Examples of this are fake or clarify relationships, truth television appearances, superstar nudity and in extreme hand baggage, scandal or superstar sexual characteristics tapes.

There are a broad range of ways make somewhere your home can turn into celebrities, from their profession, appear in the throng media, beauty or even by complete accident or notoriety. Instant superstar is the name with the aim of is used as someone becoming a superstar in very curt era of phase.

Indoors more or less seats, someone with the aim of one way or another achieves a small amount of transient fame through propaganda or throng media, is stereotyped as a B-grade superstar. Often the stereotype extends to someone with the aim of cascade curt of mainstream or persistent fame but seeks to reach or exploit it.

Indoors the 20th Century, the avid freely available lure instead of celebrations and hunger instead of superstar gossip has seen the arise of the gossip correspondent, tabloid, paparazzi and superstar blogging.

Just as lone possibly will turn into a regional or cultural superstar, lone possibly will additionally turn into a superstar in their niche marketplace and hold partial fame apart from it. Stan Lee (best notorious as co-creator of the classic Marvel superheroes) is mostly notorious to comic volume fans and while in last years, he has turned into more well notorious, many outside fandom are still unsure of exactly who he is, other than being a voice.

One possibly will appeal with the aim of all celebrities are niche marketplace celebrities, more or less niches are simply much better than others and many celebrities win fame apart from their niche marketplace as well. A first-rate model can be seen surrounded by the numerous specialized athletes with the aim of are well notorious even surrounded by make somewhere your home who organize not get the gist sports.

Did You Know That There Are Many Famous People With ADHD Who Have Lead Productive Lives?

Crypt of San Minato al Monte - Florence

Yes, there are famous people with ADHD. Some have long since passed on into history but they have left their mark and we benefit from their contributions to the world and to society. Others are easily recognizable and are to be found in the acting and sports arenas, business world, etc. While there is still a stigma attached to anyone with a mental disorder it is worthwhile letting your child who has been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder know that they actually share the spotlight with some very notable and noteworthy individuals. Some have even gone so far as to suggest that schools display information in the form of posters regarding those celebrities and other famous people who have or had ADHD in a bid to eliminate the stigma associated with the disorder.

There are around ten million adults in the United States living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD. Given the enormity of this number it really should come as no surprise that a significant number of those who are famous for whatever reason should also be included in that figure. When this disorder is not treated the individual will suffer with poor concentration and will struggle with being organized which can understandably lead to greater problems in the person’s life.

Roughly sixty percent of children in the country who are diagnosed with ADHD will continue to experience the associated symptoms even once they have attained adulthood. Alarmingly many children who are ADHD will remain undiagnosed with a number of them only getting diagnosed once they have reached middle age.

For children diagnosed with this disorder famous people with ADHD can really help them to cope better as they recognize themselves in these celebrities. For example the Olympic swimming champion, Michael Phelps has ADHD and he has been reported as saying that he oftentimes felt stigmatized while he was growing up. This was exacerbated by the fact that he had to collect his meds from the school nurse every day until eventually he convinced his mom to let him go off the medication. He used his competitiveness in the swimming pool to help him focus himself and attributes that with learning to manage his Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. In fact it has been shown that ADHD kids very often benefit from participating in competitive sports.

Other famous people with ADHD include actors and actresses such as: Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Cruise, Will Smith, Dakota Fanning, Robin Williams, Sylvester Stallone, Jim Carrey, and so many more. Of course years ago it was not possible to diagnose ADHD and so there are many people in history who are believed to have had the disorder based upon written documentation that exists. Some famous people in history who are believed to have had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder include Pablo Picasso, Alexander Graham Bell, Albert Einstein, Walt Disney, Christopher Columbus, Mozart, and Beethoven.

Having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is no reason to feel ashamed or inferior. In fact if your child has been diagnosed with the disorder it might be a good idea to let them discover just how many well-known and influential people have as well. When it comes to treating the symptoms of this common childhood disorder there are generally two schools of thoughts. One advocates the use of ADHD medication to control the symptoms while the other suggests a more natural approach involving dietary changes and homeopathic remedies. Considering the fact that many of the drugs used in treating the disorder are known to be rather dangerous and with harmful side-effects it is certainly advisable to consider the natural approach as your first course of action. By changing the diet of the ADHD child it has been shown to greatly improve the symptoms, allowing the child to function better and lead a normal and productive lifestyle. Teaching the child relaxation techniques as well as helping them to focus on some activity, such as a sport they enjoy, can greatly benefit them and help them to live life to the full.

Sell More Books on Amazon

Video part 3: Basel - Endless Perspectives

Why Should Your Book Be on Amazon.com?

Credibility. If your book is important, it should be available at the world’s biggest book store.

Visibility. People (including members of the media) will find your book and learn about you through your appearance on Amazon. (That’s how I got into Woman’s Day magazine.)

Money. You will sell books you wouldn’t have sold otherwise. Many buyers won’t buy from your Web site or other sources, but will buy at Amazon. And, Amazon pays like clockwork.

Get Your Book Listed on Amazon.com

Your publisher or distributor will handle getting your book into the Amazon catalog. If you are self-published and don’t have a distributor, join Amazon Advantage at http://www.Amazon.com/advantage

To participate in Advantage, you must have distribution rights, and your book must have a scannable barcode of the ISBN.

Amazon Marketplace

Once your book is listed, you can also sell it directly to consumers through Amazon Marketplace. You will find more information about this on the Advantage information page listed above.

Amazon Associates

Once your book is listed on Amazon, join the Associates program http://www.Amazon.com/associates

As an Associate, you get a commission on book sales referred from your Web site. Why send people to Amazon from your Web site? Some people won’t buy from you. They don’t know you and they don’t trust you. But they do trust Amazon. Or, maybe they want to qualify for free shipping.

Enhance Your Book’s Detail Page

Add cover art, book description, editorial reviews, table of contents, excerpts, author information and more. Make your book’s listing just as complete and impressive as the latest from Stephen King, John Grisham and other major authors. For more information, see Bookseller Services at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/catalog-guide/guide/-/372286/ or log in to your Advantage account. Amazon will generally not allow URLs in your content, so don’t try to slip your Web site in.

Search Inside the Book

This is controversial, but many publishers say they sell more books as a result of SITB. My sales seemed to go up after my book was in. You send Amazon a copy of your book, they scan it and make the entire book searchable. It increases the chances your book will come up during searches on the Amazon.com web site. You’ll find information on the Advantage page.

Use the tools Amazon.com provides to bring book buyers to your page and sell more books.

The Problem Of Obesity In Teenagers

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Obesity in teenagers is a growing problem that has become worse in recent times, and the rates are growing every year. The America is a top leader in obesity in teenagers. Some report indicated that as many 33% of teenagers are now obese. It is believed that more than 25% of schools are overweight and in fact, obese, and near a fourth of them are at risk of getting heart disease, diabetes, stroke as well as possibly early death. The worse thing is that according to research study conducted on obesity in teenagers, it was found that teenagers aged from ten to thirteen would have an 80% chance of becoming obese adults.

What are the possible causes for Obesity?

Obesity in teens may result when the teenager has more than 10% extra weight over that what is recommended weight for that particular height. Obesity in child and teenagers will occur when their total energy intake is greater than the total energy expended, which is the energy the child or teenager's uses during physical exercise or activity. There are quite a few factors to consider when looking at the problem.

Family history

If there is a family history of obesity the chances are high the teenager will also develop obesity … With parents over prepare food, imbalance diet or both parents are working and no time to prepare food, all this may lead to develop poor eating habits for the teenagers when they left to their own devices.

Food

As the times pass, the way we prepare food and the frequency has varied, and it is much different from the way our ancestors do. Back then, our ancestors cooked from scratch, but now fast food restaurants and quick fix meals are available everywhere, simply just dial a number will do. Some research studies show that teenagers will eat an average of four meal of fast food per week. This will lead to the list of causes is unhealthy eating habits and poor food choices.

Stress

Teenagers are under tremendous peer pressure at school and in their everyday lives. There may be stressful events in the teenager's life such as death, divorce, or even abuse. Many teenagers react to stress by overeating. On top of that, it may also result in not only other peoples putting them down, but also his / her own self-esteem taking a hit. It has been found that a large percentage of overweight teenagers are thought to be clinically depressed. While depression can often cause overeating, usually being obese can also cause depression. Depression can lead to low self-esteem, and if the problem left untreated, it can lead to teen suicide.

Medical & Psychologically

There may also be medical problems which require the teenagers to take medication such as steroids, although medical problems represent only about 1% of teenager obesity. Overweight adolescents in particular, may not be as affected physically as psychologically with them becoming targets of ridicule, taunts, as well as poor treatment meted out to them by other teenager at school as well as in the community.

Lack of exercise

Today's lifestyle is much different from ten year ago, with modern technology and fast food offers little to improve one's health. Now a day, the teenagers are so immersive in spending whole day and night in front of computers, game box or any gaming console playing their love game. Some teenagers can sit and watch television while text messaging their good friends. Many teenagers now own a car so the chance for walking is also reduce.

Searching For Relief

Obesity in teenagers is literal taking years off of their life. They are setting the stage for type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and breathing and high blood pressure problems. The treatment for Obesity in teens should focus on long-term changes to diet, regular exercise, and family support should be forthcoming if the teenagers are to avoid dramatic swings in body weight. It is essential for parents to get a handle on this problem before it gets worse.

Balance diet

To control obesity in teenagers, the teenagers may need to take a healthy as well as balanced die. Putting a child on a diet is impossibility. The medical profession does not recommend because they are still growing and need plenty of nutrients to develop strong bones. Dieting also leads to failure because not many people who can stick with a diet for life. When we are preparing meals at home be sure to choose foods that have a high nutritional content. Try to keep away from processed and fried foods. Do not try to take away foods the children love; allow the children to eat those foods on a less frequent basis. Denying a child's favorite fast foods will only lead to failure. Get the teenagers involved in preparing the meal. Coach them to make the correct choices, balanced meal without sacrificing on taste.

Regular Exercise

Obesity in children is often the result of too little exercise. Regular exercise is considered to be as important as good nutrition. If children are encouraged to develop regular exercise during their childhood, they have a much better chance of taking it with them into adulthood. Get them involved in some kind of physical activity such as gardening, cleaning the house or washing the car. Take part in some kind of outdoor sports, like swimming, playing basket ball or hiking on the local nature trails.

Support from Family

It is important to remember to show your support. Obesity in teens is a serious problem and parents, family members need to tackle this problem with consistency love and support. Reinforce the need for a healthy lifestyle, and remember to offer rewards and praise when the teens reach the goals. Keeping your children healthy gives them the best chance of living a healthy and long life.

If Your Girlfriend Left You Over Money Problems, You Need to Take Action

Full Moon over the Hartshill Wharf

What is the number one reason most relationships break up? Terrible sex? Too much nagging? Incompatibility? Another lover? You just drifted apart? It’s none of these. By far, the biggest reason that relationships fail can be summed up in one word: Money.

If you have money problems, then you have big problems. Nothing creates tension and hardships like persistent hassles with bills, paying rent, making a car payment – or maybe even not being able to afford a car at all! If your girlfriend left you over money problems, then you have one of the most difficult situations to remedy. Getting an ex-girlfriend to come back to you is hard enough the way it is. It’s even harder when you are hard up for cash.

But before we get all depressed about this situation, let’s get some perspective. Many guys think that if only they were rich, or at least well off, their girlfriend would have never left them. It’s not as simple as that. If you don’t believe it, just tune into what is happening with the rich and famous around the world, be it movie stars or royalty. It quickly becomes apparent that people with a lot of money have no better luck – an obviously sometimes a lot worse luck – with staying within a relationship. How many movie stars can you think of in the next five minutes who have two, three or maybe four divorces under their belts?

The fact is, having a lot of money is no guarantee of relationship success. If you are feeling sorry for yourself because your girlfriend left you over financial problems, then it’s time to start rethinking the whole situation. You could be filthy rich, and she might have left anyway.

What does this tell you about money? Clearly, it makes no difference how much you have or how little you have. If the fundamentals of your relationship are strong, even a terrible money situation should not be an excuse for your girlfriend to leave. Money is only a convenient excuse, an outward factor.

Okay, but let’s also recognize that while money may not be the ultimate reason she left you, it certainly was a contributing factor. That’s because constant stress over money creates an overall climate of tension and struggle. It is very difficult for any relationship to thrive in an environment of constant struggle.

Incredibly, many guys do exactly the opposite thing they should do when they have money problem, and their partner leaves – they plunge themselves into even more debt! That’s right!

There is something about relationship problems that can drive many men to lose all common sense. For example, they think that if they only had a nicer car, maybe their girlfriend would come back to them. So they pull out all the stops, marshal all of their resources, and take out a huge loan to get some new wheels. So now they have a shiny new car, and even more debt and payments to worry about. To get that new car, maybe they had to take out a second mortgage on their house, or run up huge debts on credit cards.

Other guys blow cash on some kind of bribe – maybe an expensive piece of jewelry to dangle in front of their ex in a desperate attempt to lure her back. Even if this works in the short term, as soon as the new load of bills start coming due, the stress level increases to all-new levels. Under these conditions, the relationship is probably doomed.

So the first step in getting your ex-girlfriend back if she left you over money stress is to start tackling your problems one at a time. The last thing you want to do if you have money problems is to get entangled into even more money problems. What you need to do is start getting your financial life under control. Rather than buying a new car – maybe it’s time to sell the one you have!

It’s all about making priorities in your life. You have to decide if you want to put your relationship and personal life first, or continue to be a slave to all of your bills. Of course, getting one’s financial life in order is never an easy task. If you think you can’t handle it by yourself, by all means, seek out some financial counseling from a professional. This does not have to cost you a dime. There are many free debt counseling services – especially in these tough financial times – that are available to you. Take advantage of them. Get some help formulating a solid plan to start paying down you debts, and to start earning more money.

Just taking that first step toward getting your financial life under control can be a tremendous relief. You will immediately get the feeling that you are finally doing something positive to take back control of your life. When you start getting financial control, you start reducing that all-pervasive stress that is tormenting you, and which made your relationship a living hell. It’s a sad fact of our modern society that, even when two people love each other, a general condition of financial stress can cripple even great relationships.

So let’s say you do the hard work, make the tough decisions and start the process of getting into a more financially stable position – but at the same time, you still have this other problem – the fact that your girlfriend is gone! It all can seem pretty overwhelming, and it is! That’s exactly why you have to take a deep breath, realize that the toughest problems are not solved easily or overnight, and take things one day at time.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t start taking the first steps to repair your busted relationship and take action to get your ex-girlfriend back. It might not be a bad idea to communicate with your ex and tell her what you are doing. Maybe write her a letter, and tell her something like:

“I know times have been tough, and that we argued a lot about money. I don’t blame you for not wanting to live a stressful life filled with constant worry over bills, or never having any money for us to go out and do anything fun. I really think my money problems were a big contributor to our break-up. Again, I don’t blame you, I blame myself. I just wanted you to know that I am taking positive steps to get my financial situation under control. I never want to have money problems again. I hope you will give me the time to get myself into a better position. If I do, I really think our relationship could be special again. I hope you will give me the time to right my ship, and maybe even consider coming back to me when I am in a better position, and when there won’t be so many problems for us to constantly worry about or argue over…”

… Or something along those lines.

Note that this in merely an example of the kind of letter you might write to your ex-girlfriend. But notice that the message in our example does not beg or blame. You only “blame yourself” and you also don’t beg your girlfriend to come back to you. You’re just letting her know that you still care about here, and that you are making positive changes in your life because of her. You can’t lose with this approach. Many girls would be flattered that their former boyfriend cares enough about them to want to radically transform their own lives, and strive to make a better world for the both of you.

Still, you may have to give it time. Money problems just don’t go away over night. If you have really serious money problems, things might even get worse before they get better. But until you get to the root of the problem, and remove financial stress from your life, it will be extremely difficult to get your ex-girlfriend back. And even if she does come back, she may only leave again once all the old money problems resurface again.

If there is anything positive about a broken relationship, it’s that this tough situation helps us to re-examine our lives to find out what is wrong them, and it forces us to make overall improvements in our situation. Getting control of money problems is one of the best things any guy can do – and it sets the stage for a stable and happy relationship that will last forever.

Technical Writing – What’s a Reading Level Anyway?

I want to be...

“The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.”

Walt Whitman, 1819-1892, American Poet

The client said, “We want this written at a 10th-grade reading level.” I said, “What’s a 10th-grade reading level and how is it measured?” The client said, “Hey, will you look at the time! I have to leave right now.”

Similar experiences on a number of occasions made me think that people use the phrase reading level without actually knowing what it means. They read it somewhere and think they sound smarter if they can toss it into the conversation. That sent me on a quest to find out what it means and how it’s measured. Here’s what I found out.

First, this is an important issue, and one that’s not well understood or carefully considered by many clients and the tech writers who work for them. For writers with a lot of experience who write for a wide range of audiences, it becomes instinctive. They know their audiences. They know how to write in a way that the readers can understand. They make adjustments for the specific audience they’re writing for. For writers new to the business or with experience writing for a limited audience, it can be a problem when they need to write for an audience they’re not familiar with.

Next, when people say something is written at a tenth-grade reading level the target audience’s ability to read that concerns us. Someone could read “Uber der Welt so hoch” and still not understand it. The goal is to write in a way that the target audience can comprehend. That involves using vocabulary and sentence structure that fits the reading comprehension level of the audience. , it’s a misnomer. What they really mean is that it’s written at a tenth grade comprehension level or what’s called a readability level. It’s not

Finally, the good news. Readability can be measured. The experts in the field of linguistics know what a tenth-grade readability level is and how it’s different from another level. It’s not an exact science, but it’s well enough developed that it can be used by writers to help them hit the mark with more accuracy. We won’t get into the really technical aspects of the subject, but we’ll provide enough background and illustrations that you’ll know how to find out more about it.

Readability Formulas

Readability formulas are used to determine if a document is written at the right comprehension level for the target audience. There are a number of readability formulas used by various linguistic groups. For now, we’re going to focus on the Gunning’s Fog Index because it’s one of the most famous and one any writer can use. The index was developed by Robert Gunning in 1952. The basic idea is that the bigger the words and the more complex the sentences, the more difficult it is to understand the document. Small words and short sentences are still the easiest to understand.

For convenience, the Fox Index levels equates to the number of years of formal education a reader needs to understand the material. By the way, this is based on the American system of twelve elementary and high school grades with the number of years of college education numbered thirteen and up. A high school education is a level 12. A master’s degree would be about a level 16.

To put this in perspective, a typical big-city newspaper is written at a level 7 or 8. The belief in most industries is that anything above a level 12 is too hard for most readers to understand. Remember, the Fox Index is not an absolute measure. It is, though, when used over a range of samples, a very good indicator. Here are some Fox Index levels for popular publications.

Atlantic Monthly = 12

Newsweek = 10

Reader’s Digest = 9

True Confessions = 7

Most comic books = 6

(This article = 11.6)

The Fog Index Applied

Here is an example of the same information written at two different readability levels as measured by the Fog Index.

Example One: Untold numbers of eternally optimistic individuals buy lottery tickets with odds in the multimillions against their chances of realizing success. They’re sustained by a level of ignorance that keeps them from recognizing that the likelihood that such an unrealistic eventuality would actually occur is of an order of magnitude beyond their capacity to comprehend. They cling to the notion that if an event is possible it certainly must happen regardless of how great the statistical chances are against it. Their cry is always, “Well, somebody’s got to win,” which is sufficient to block even the brightest glare of the cold light of reason.

The level is arrived at by counting the number of words, the number of sentences, and the number of three-syllable, or longer, words. Then a formula is applied that gives the readability index level. In this example, there are 103 words, 4 sentences, and 20 three-syllable words. Using the formula, the Fog Index level is 18. That means the reader should probably have a doctorate to ensure comprehension.

Example Two: A lot of people who never give up hope buy lottery tickets even though the odds against them ever winning are enormous. What keeps them buying tickets is that they aren’t able to understand that the odds against them are so great that they can’t really expect to win. They believe that because something is possible, then it must happen no matter what the odds against it are. Saying, “Well, somebody’s got to win,” is enough to keep them from seeing the reality of the situation.

Using the same method, the 86 words, 4 sentences, and 6 three-syllable words in this example give a Fog Index level of 11. That’s a high school junior.

Now You Try It

Pick a text sample from a source you’re familiar with. It helps if it’s a fairly big block of text. The larger the sample, the more accurate the index figure is. For example, I selected two blocks of text from the guide that came with my Nikon camera. Follow me through the process:

1. Count the number of words in the sample. If there are hyphenated words, count each part as one word.

(My count: 120) (Your count: )

2. Count the number of sentences in the sample.

(My count: 5) (Your count: )

3. Count the number of big words in the sample: 3 or more syllables.

(My count: 3) (Your count: )>

4. Calculate the average sentence length. To do this, divide the number of words by the number of sentences. For example, 120 divided by 5.

(My number: 24) (Your number: )

5. Calculate the percentage of big words. To do this, divide the number of big words by the total number of words. For example, 3 divided by 120 = .02 = 2%.

(My number: 2) (Your number: )

6. Add the average sentence length to the % of big words.

(My number: 26) (Your number: )

7. Multiply the result by 0.4.

Fog Index (My level: 10th grade) (Your level: )

Now try it on something you’ve written. From what you know about your audience, does your Fog Index match with the readers’ comprehension level? It’s a very important question, and this formula can help you answer it.

For more information on readability formulas, use any search engine to find sites related to readability formulas, Passive Index, Flesch-Kincaid Index, or Lexical Density Test.