Mindful Writing

A quick preface before I jump into this mini-lecture. I'm a graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a dual concentration in English (lit) and Communications (speech). I am an avid reader and writer, creating my own original fiction and work based as "spin-offs" to others' work. I am also frequently given the writing tasks at work by department leaders because of my background. I have written for the campus newspaper and have submitted fiction to our literary journal here which has been published. So I do know something about talking and writing to people.

The discussion... Be mindful of what you say and how you say things.

When you phrase a post or a lecture, you start out with something you want to talk about. You have a thesis or purpose in your post. Something you want to relate to your audience. You have your research and knowledge to rely on and flesh out your discussion.

Let's look at the 3 points I've just mentioned: your purpose, your audience, your evidence.

Your purpose: What's the point? What do you want to say? The first hurdle. Though school can be a pain, think about how you are expected to write an essay or book report for class. Would a teacher give you a passing grade if you hopped all over and around your topic in your paper? If there was no definite train of thought that could be followed? Probably not. You have to state what you're going to talk about, show evidence in your discussion and give it a decent conclusion. For those of you who use internet message boards, do the same when you post. Decide what you want to talk about and DO IT. Don't stray off into other ideas and conversations--those are better suited for their own posts. Stay focused and remember your point. [My point right now: to instruct/guide on good communication skills.]

Your audience: Who exactly are you talking to? Who is your audience? This is--in my humble opinion--one of the most important things to consider when you are speaking to someone(s) verbally or in writing. To be able to judge your audience successfully, you're going to have to rely on some empathy training/skills. You have to KNOW your audience. [My audience: pretty broad scope of people really. People who are interested in "psychic" studies, my ficiton or some other facet that drew them to this site. Range of people who have varying levels of knowledge, background and expertise in communication.] How then, do I gear what I say? There are several words you can use in any given situation to make your point. But being mindful of your audience means that you take into consideration that everyone might not know what you know on a subject. Use language that hits a broad audience versus a narrow one if you are speaking to a large group.

Your "research": In my opinion, one of the trickiest things about addressing a mystical topic is that you often have to rely on only what you know. Now, that sounds like it is easy right? Ok, so I know lots of stuff. But, it's not that easy in spelling out what I know internally. Given the fact that when you write you'll often have to rely on what you know--DO IT. Give examples of what you are talking about--stories, anecdotes. A lecture, essay or post is fleshed out a lot more if you can tell a story to give an example. If you do have the ability to use secondary research--looking something up in a book, journal, web site, etc. Use it. Take a look and see what is out there that supports what you are trying to spit out (something I am choosing not to do today--just pulling from my memorized text books). [My research: Experience as a communications student, testing these concepts in posts at various web sites, using these techniques offline in conversation.]

As Jedi, it is important to be mindful of those around you that you are to protect, assist, teach, aid. Be aware of how you communicate those duties.