Tag Archives: Career Change Strategies

A Common Error Indie Authors Make

 

 

 

 

 

Firstly, one of the most common. This error is everywhere when people write.

  1. Lay Lady Lay.

A few words from Face-book the other day, “ … instead of laying on the lounge I laid on the beach.”

The word lay is a verb that requires an object. You have to lay something or someone. Like an egg.

It has NOTHING to do with being supine on a bed or lounge. Used that way, it is an error.

Now he/she may have been talking about sex. ‘Cause that works. The verb lay can sometimes have an object that is understood, ie not actually stated but there nevertheless.

Because lay can also mean ‘have sex with’, the understood object would be ‘my partner’, or some-such variation thereof.

The sentence quoted above, if it read, “...instead of laying my friend Bill/Betty on the lounge; I laid him/her on the beach” then it would not be an error. My friend Bill/Betty and him/her – being the object(s). Strange, maybe, but grammatically accurate.

To help avoid this error, try this.

Write these words — “lie, lay, lain” (to recline);
then below them — “lay, laid, laid” (to place or put down).

We call this the Michiko Sato rule after the Japanese lady who invented it. A great and easy way to avoid this error.

Check this list each time you need to use one of these words. You will be amazed how it helps you get the grammar correct.

  1. She jumped off of the train.”

The compound preposition off of is generally regarded as informal and is best avoided in formal speech and writing. So not really an error? Perhaps.

What is a preposition? Prepositions are usually used in front of nouns (things) or pro

nouns and they show the relationship between the noun or pronoun and other words in a sentence.

The construction is “much inferior” to the form without the “of” according to Garner’s Modern American Usage (3d ed.).

There is nothing linguistically or grammatically wrong, it has been said with off of. It’s non-standard in some dialects (mainly American) and informal in most, so you should probably avoid it if you’re concerned about your writing seeming formal, or accurate from a grammar perspective. OK. Not an error, but to be avoided.

Cambridge Grammar notes that the combination “off” followed by an “of” phrase occurs only in American English.

The Oxford English Dictionary calls it “only colloq. (non-standard) and regional” in current use. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary of English Usage says it’s “primarily a form used in speech”.

So what’s supposedly wrong with off of? The main problem seems to be that the of is unnecessary. In the case above, why not use just off or perhaps from the train, for example? The “of” adds NOTHING to the exchange.

'Off of' has become idiomatic in the USA, although it has “faded into the past” in Britain.

I still think it’s non-standard, an error, in fact, and doesn’t belong in the best written English.

Conversation and informal writing? Not sure. Perhaps!

It has been said, that one day “off of” will undoubtedly be accepted as standard American English, but not yet. I hope not ever. I hate it.

But then I’m not American.

  1. I took the knife off her

There are a couple of strings to this particular bow. Off is a preposition as defined above. It shows relationship between two things. Here the knife (noun) and her (pronoun – substituting for a female person).

As such the usage above is correct - on the surface.

However, off is usually considered an opposite (antonym) of on. Therefore if the knife is on (top of) the woman, off is the correct usage. But, as is probably the case, the knife is more likely in her hand or pocket or handbag. So “from” would be a better preposition to use. Even “away from”, but not “off”.

Then you have the ‘One Word One Meaning’ argument. If off means not on, it can’t mean anything else? But ...

This would seem to prevent anything from being ….. off topic, off in the distance, off like a shot, on and off, straight off, a little bit off etc. Quiet. I'm thinking!!

Once again (see above) this might be considered colloquial/regional American English.

It seems to me that where the preposition FROM could be used, then it should be. This will avoid all of the above discussion.

None of my sources suggest, on the other hand, that from and off are synonyms. (having the same meaning). Therefore if we are taking something away from a person, animal, object or place; then the preposition FROM should be used in all instances, unless one of the ‘things’ is actually on top of the other, and off is then appropriate.

I’m not even sure American English is a thing. I guess I hope not.

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Jillian 33 – Some Writing Notes

Writing tips from Our Jillian

For the start of these episodes go to
http://career-change-strategies.com.au/jillian-1-meet-my-friend/

Writing has been on my mind. Lately I have been reading a lot of free books on my kindle. They are promotions mostly by newer authors and some of them are fantastic.

Some of them fail the very first test of writing – not even good writing – just writing in general. They are just not interesting and do not hold a reader enthralled for any-time at all. Some are also diatribes by people with an axe to grind and these ??writers?? use their stories like the basis for a lecture. Not fun at all.

I mentioned this to Jillian as I know she writes and wants to be a full time author some day.

She said that there were two things a writer, of fiction anyway, needs to be aware of. Obviously there are more than two things or anyone could be a writer, but two elements that are more important than any others.

“OK.” I said. “I'll bite. But don't they say there is a book in everyone, you just need to find the gumption to let it out?”

“True.” she replied, “but you still have to have some idea about the process or the technique. Why do you think there are some very famous writers whose books are read by huge numbers of people, and prolific authors with very large lists and very few readers. And I am not just talking esoteric and less accessable subjects here. I am talking your basic novel that no-one wants to read.”

“Oh, I know what you are going to say,” Jillian butted in “It is just practice, and if you write 500 words per day everyday you will get into a habit and your book will suddenly appear out of apparently nowhere.”

Now that is a good idea (there is a web site that has a 31 day writing challenge based around this very idea) and you should do this if you want to develop your muscle, but, as you know, the wrong exercise will not help a muscle, it may even be a bad thing. So you do need SOME technique.” Jillian was rising to the challenge. I could visualise her in her school marm garb with chalk in her hand and white dust floating about her head like a miasma of cigarette smoke. It was pretty awesome to see her in action this way.

I had a thought. “Well, it's true I have seen some pretty poor examples where people have just taken their lives and some stuff that they'd like to do put it together and let their imagination, as they say, run wild.”

“If that's what they mean when they say there is a novel in everyone' – I reckon in many cases it should stay where it is.”

“True again,” Jillian said, “but the addition of a tad of actual knowledge, (there are after all University courses on writing and journalism and stuff like that,) might be just a little beneficial don't you think? So, perhaps, it is something you can and need to learn.

“OK.” I said. “The first thing is a good plot. The action must be awesome? Right?”

“Nup.” She dismissed me with a flourish. “A very famous author once asked us at a seminar given as part of the Writers Festival in whatever city I was in at the time, 'What was the plot of the latest Harry Bosch or Alex Cross novel that you read?' No one remembered. But they all knew Harry Bosch or Alex Cross, a lot about his life, wife and or kids if he had any, what car he drove and many other things he had got up to, but the latest adventure (The Plot) no one could immediately call to mind.

“So.” she said majestically, “plot is secondary to fabulous characters. Your novel needs to be full of personas that will grab the readers by the nose and lead them places they would love to go but are scared, or show them things they have dreamed about, or make them part of a reality that is impossible but

wonderful at the same time. Readers will identify with the folk in the story. They will live their lives with them. A vicarious existence they had only imagined. The characters need to be real and LIVE in the minds of the readers. All else is secondary.”

Hating to interrupt this flow of erudition I took my life in my hands and said, “Plot – which I naively thought of as the story – is not that important, then?”

“Of course it's important you moron,” she blustered. “but if the characters are not engaging then no one cares. If you don't mind whether the detective, for example, lives or dies. becomes corrupted or sleeps with the suspected killer, or any other plot twist or turn, then none of it matters to you as the reader.”

“OK.” I think I’ve got it.” I say a tad chastened, “but exactly where does the plot fit in?”

“Good question,” Jillian winks. “It is the glue that holds all the characters together. Why is there a detective, why a jilted lover, who is hiding in the shrubbery, what is the point of this discussion and where is the money? All of these plot or story elements are connections between the characters and are the twists and turns that make their lives (and by extension – yours) fascinating. The plot is like a roadmap to your character's final destination.”

“I remember,” I thought out loud, “when someone in a story I was reading acted in a way that seemed to be completely opposite to how I expected them to respond (out of character if you will), that I lost interest in this person and figured I really don't care what you do. Yes. I reckon that this character had been set up with beliefs and values that wouldn't have generally allowed her to do whatever it was she did and so was unbelievable. Therefore I lost empathy and all my other feelings for this person and what they did or didn't do or what happened to them was not something I wanted to know about. I put the book down and never returned to it.”

“Something like that,” said Jillian. “you have to be aware of being overly judgemental, though, they are characters in a story remember, so not everything can be explained. And sometimes timeline and other literary devices may mask possible major changes in a person's character attributes. But yes. You might find things like that.”

“Okaaaay. Let me think on that for a while”, I said thoughtfully.

By the way, There are a huge number of websites that are focussed on this topic. Here is ONE I found. It is not necessarily the best; it is one of many, but it has some good stuff including a downloadable cheat sheet to help with character development.

Character Development

“What is the second element of which you spoke?”

“I reckon we've had enough for one time. Don't you? What say we talk about the next bit later? Besides it is hard to explain and even harder to do consistently.”#ourjillian

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Martial Arts And The Force

Go No Sen; Sen No Sen; SenSen No Sen

To start, these three terms refer to the different kinds of timing used in dealing with an attacker in budo training. The timing of the response to an attack in generally, aikido and they came from O-Sensei Ueshiba Morihei, Founder of Aikido.

Budo

The modern budō has no external enemy, only the internal enemy, one's ego that must be fought. Budo gives attention to the mind and how one should develop oneself. Keep this in mind for a little later.

Go No Sen; Sen No Sen; SenSen No Sen

Aikido

O-Sensai says “In Aikido, there is absolutely no attack. To attack means that the spirit has already lost. We adhere to the principle of absolute nonresistance, that is to say, we do not oppose the attacker. Thus, there is no opponent in Aikido. The victory in Aikido is masakatsu and agatsu; since you win over everything in accordance with the mission of heaven, you possess absolute strength.”

O-Sensai goes on to say, “If I were to try to verbalize it I would say that you control your opponent without trying to control him. That is, the state of continuous victory. There isn't any question of winning over or losing to an opponent. In this sense, there is no opponent in Aikido. Even if you have an opponent, he becomes a part of you, a partner you control only.”

This is often interpreted to mean that correct victory is winning over your own self or ego.

Reaching this state of selflessness, is the way to swift victory (not only in martial contexts but also in life itself).

A quick summary:

  • Go no sen - After the attack. Block and counter
  • Sen no sen - Attack the attack. Be faster than your opponent
  • Sensen no sen - Take initiative. Attack before the attack.

Let's look at these terms in a bit more detail.

Sen

The Japanese character for ”sen” can also be read as “saki.” It means “before”. But in the terms go no sen, sen no sen and sensen no sen, it is an abbreviation of sorts for the word “sente” meaning initiative or lead. The “te” in sente means hand, so sente directly translates as “before hand.”

Go no sen

Go means “after. So, a combatant takes the initiative in a situation after the opponent has already started an attack. In other words, once an opponent starts to attack, the defending combatant performs this technique. After the before hand.

We move in harmony with the attacker, but it is the attacker that is taking the initiative in the attack and we are mirroring his or her movements.

Sen no sen

Sen no sen means before the attack. Sen no sen implies that you become aware of an opponent's intention of attacking and right at the time when he is starting this attack, you step in and stop it. To continue the thought before – this is before the before hand.

Sensen No Sen

This term consists of a repetition of the term sen. So this refers to the timing before sen no sen. It is the case of initiating a movement intended to lead the attacker’s spirit as well as to draw forth an actual attack, in order to utilize this attack for a defensive technique. And the thought here becomes – before before the before hand.

What does it mean to us and how does this energy force stuff fit in?

I guess where I am going with this is the fact that martial arts students are taught that there is no attack, only defence. And they are in addition taught to either figure out when this attack has begun, or to realise that an attack is imminent, to know what form that attack is likely to take and to lead the attacker forwards into a defense strategy that has already been crystalised in the brain of the defendant.

Sounds like an energy force to me. And a very clever harnessing of said force for the purposes of good.

I have before heard of martial arts opponents being 'knocked' to the ground without ever being touched. That surely is a force to be reckoned with.

Remember what we said about Budo training – The modern budō has no external enemy, only the internal enemy, one's ego that must be fought. Budo gives attention to the mind and how one should develop oneself. Eckhardt Tolle has a lot to say about this in his book “The New Earth”.

Martial arts and 'THE FORCE' in Star Wars seem to have a lot in common. Leaves me to wonder how such a thing can so quickly be debunked as pseudoscience.

Your Own Examples

Perhaps you can think of examples from your own lives where there has been some indication of an energy or life force that is inexplicable by your basic laws of science, but nevertheless has happened to you or those close to you. I'd love to hear about them.

More next time. #CareerChangeStrategies

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Ego – A Book Review: A New Earth: Create a Better Life – Eckhart Tolle

I have been reading this book the last few hours.

I have to say it is probably the best book of its kind, I have read for a long time.

Why?

I have not even finished Chapter 3 and am completely blown away by the content. Mr Tolle has taken me and given me the biggest shake.

There is soooo much here already that explains a lot about my life and why I am like I am.

Believe me I am going to change. I am not going to be ruled by ego any-more.

Need to know what this is all about – then get this book.

Example?

One very small example that stuck with me.

When he was a counsellor, Eckhart was working with a woman who had cancer and was told she had only 2 months to live.

She was raving, this particular day, about a belief that her carer had stolen her grandmother's engagement ring. “It has so much sentimental value,” she wailed.

Eckhart asked her what was she going to remember about this ring in 10 weeks time? She thought for a moment and then said, “They think I'll be dead by then.”

“Yep,” he said.

“And while it is not right that it might have been stolen, why are you wasting the little time you have left getting so excited about it? This is your ego talking. Someone has to be wrong. You are the one in the right. It is YOUR ring. 'Oh My God,' you are crying, 'what have they done to me?'

But it won't matter to you in two months. So let it go now. Live today. Enjoy. Don't fret. Be happy. All that good stuff.”

Think about it:

How many times have we all worried about something like this? Something where we complain and fret just to make a silly point? To be right? To be better than someone else? To be richer, happier, more moral, more beautiful? Ego. I am.

Let it go.

More soon. I am going to finish this wonderful book and take as much of it on board as I possibly can.

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Battles V’s Challenges

Battles

The best battle, Sun Tzu says, is the battle that is won without being fought.

One dictionary definition is: An encounter between opposing forces.

Therefore; we assume - if we use the word battle, that there will be opposing forces and one of these will be a winner.

By definition this pretty much always means one of the forces will lose, even if according to Sun Tzu an actual battle has not been fought in the traditional sense. We still have an assumed winner and a loser. Let us call that a “pre-supposition.” And definitely one with negative results for one of the parties.

Challenges

A challenge on the other hand is something that puts you to the test. It can often be used in the sense of questioning whether something is true or right. And it can be a demanding or stimulating situation as in questioning a statement and looking for an explanation. This doesn't, by definition, require either a winner or a loser. It assumes (pre-supposes) an outcome, but not necessarily one that means any party will be vanquished.

A challenge is often thought of as something you have to face and deal with as you see fit. Not necessarily involving another in direct conflict. It can – but usually doesn't.

If a challenge seems like a battle, it can nearly always be reduced to a win/win situation. The sort of thing that can be dealt with by finding and exploiting alternatives to any head-on confrontation.

A challenge can therefore, pre-suppose (or assume) a solution that is not necessarily competitive to the point where protagonists on opposite sides become engaged in a fight or a battle. This is likely a more positive outlook is it not?

This is not to say a situation remains uncompetitive and lacking in any desire (even STRONG desire) for a satisfactory outcome - just that win/lose is not the primary aim of the interaction as it is in a battle.

It suggests that YOU will find an outcome that is satisfactory to YOU without destroying, decimating or even sidelining others who might also have an interest in the outcome.

What we have here is a stance that involves the taking of individual or group responsibility for a particular situation along with the actions undertaken; and accepting the results obtained.

Not a fight to the death.

Conclusion

Therefore, let us not look for battles to win, but challenges to face.

And let us use words that help us to see outcomes in a positive win/win light and not conjure up adversarial elements where they do not need to exist. #CareerChangeStrategies

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Jillian 25 – The Big Game (Patterns)

A story from Jillian’s memories. A rogues gallery of friends and enemies.

Arthur had been retrenched and had no idea what to do or where to go. Money was not an immediate problem due to a reasonably generous package, and his partner who was still working at a really well paid job. She said she would support him as he figured out his next step.

His life coach worked with him to find out what he enjoyed and what he was good at, basing this on his life history up to now; and with a few generalisations and some chunking up - a model emerged.

Arthur’s patterns of life were related to sport – he didn't play just liked watching. All sports and all events like Aussie Rules, Rugby - Union & League, Cricket of all varieties, Superbowl, Grand Slam Tennis, Olympics – Summer & Winter, World Cup, Grand Prix Motor racing etc. You name it he was onto it.

He even had a pretty good grip on local sport in many of the major cities in Australia

Knowing almost everything there was to know about players, teams and competitions, his knowledge was legendary. Encyclopaedic.

If a player in any team was having relationship troubles he knew about it before the blonde bombshell stories hit social media and TV.

His numbers told him everything.

You see he was also into maths (another pattern that showed up when he and his coach looked for it) not the pure theoretical kind, of codes and theorems, but statistics, probability even finance.

His university studies led him into accountancy, finance and economics. He loved his job as an accountant in a well known city firm, but often seemed to have a plastic smile on his face. Perhaps he was not really a people person, even though as a financial advisor he was meeting with and talking to people all the time. It may have been the backroom stuff that excited him. Not the human element.

But now he had to re-assess - as 'there is no job'.

If sports and numbers were his thing, he needed to figure out how to make that pay. “You see, the clever way to do things is to evaluate what you know and then find a market”, Jillian said. “Someone or some organisation willing to pay money for this knowledge”.

Arthur started out volunteering with a local community radio station doing the sports round-up on Saturday evenings and a much longer summary on Sunday afternoons of all that had gone on sport-wise nationally and internationally in the last week. His numbers ability and knowledge in all sports was now front and centre. Interest in the programs and his audiences grew.

He was happy. And it was good.

So good that before too long he was being poached away from the free stuff to a paid gig at a commercial radio station and then was offered a show of his own on a TV station in Australia. Guests and all. His call. He was the boss.

It was syndicated nationally. A star was born.

A pattern followed, uncovered a life plan. Patterns and Big Game Hunting.

“You see.” said Jillian, “It's not who you know. It's what you know.”#ourjillian

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What Did You Learn today?

One of our core needs is to grow.

Growth comes from:

  • New stuff.
  • Old stuff with a new perspective.
  • Something completely out of left field.
  • Mistakes that show you why or how something didn't work.
  • Words that had the opposite effect from what was expected
  • Words that had a different effect from your expectations
  • Feedback both good and bad.
  • Reading
  • Listening

Nothing here about talking.

What else? This is just a teaser?

WHAT DID YOU LEARN TODAY?

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Bringing up Children V’s Being a Good Salesperson?

Have you ever thought of the similarities between these two? Between children and customers?

Just as an example:

Try shouting at a baby/child to make him/her do something.

Try shouting at a customer to get him/her to buy your goods/services.

Same result?

Why's that?

Your comments please.

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#ourjillian

Wow

I'm kinda getting with it. Lots of stuff happening here at Career Change  Strategies.

New Logo. new plan and new direction. Stuff will be changing here on an almost daily basis. More focus on writing and selling my IP.

Stay tuned for more about this. Very exciting.

1st up that affects my good readers is the

Hashtag (#)

All Jillian posts will now have this included, and you can add stories of your very own Jillian. Or at least someone who is very like our Jillian and has some interesting stories to tell. Or some weird stuff. We're into that.

Would love to see this grow.

Writers

Come on all you wannabe writers out there get your fingers going.

Colin

#ourjillian

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