009. Your Daily Compost

In todays news: This word could kill you. Tonight at 10.

(it’s only 6:25 but I’m impatient.)

Your Word of the Year. That’s right. Not your word of the day or even of  the month. In fact, let’s make this, the word of a lifetime. I’d like to extend the suspense as long as possible, so first let’s have a word from our sponsors.

Okay, enough of that. Here is your word of the (choose your temporal preference).

Ever thought maybe you were sick? Not flu-sick.  Like, sick in the head-sick. Well, good news. You probably are. Here’s your diagnosis:


The overpowering, inexplicable, and often uncontrollable desire to write.

Here are the necessary conditions for diagnosis:

1. Masses of notebooks or paper with your scrawling all over it. The accumulation will vary in quantity depending on age (and depending on whether or not you burn any of it) but it should be considerable.

2. There must be no external incentives to produce above mass of writing. Read: no money. Maybe it’s a side-effect. But it must be created to satisfy the need to write, express, communicate, etc. Not to pay a water bill.

3. Much of the writing may be rambling, inconsistent, false, flowery, philosophical or entirely self-absorbed. But it should be more or less coherent. Likely there will be repeated words or letters and/or an attention to handwriting or stylistic appearance.

4. The writing doesn’t have to be any good.

Day VIII: Your Daily Compost

We’re all guilty of letting our prose get a little (dare I say) lazy from time to time. Here are the rules, in case you have been not remembering them. (Passive verb usage and weird negative phrasing all in one sentence. Egad.)

“Great Rules of Writing” by William Safire

  1. Do not put statements in the negative form.
  2. And don’t start sentences with a conjunction.
  3. If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a
 great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
  4. Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
  5. Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
  6. De-accession euphemisms.
  7. If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
  8. Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
  9. Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.


Day 6: Interactive Compost

Writerly Cartoons ala New Yorker fill-in-the-blank style. As if you don’t have enough to write already. Save this cartoon caption from being awful by posting yours in the comments. Best one gets Writer’s March kudos and maybe a cookie*.

*if you don’t live in albuquerque, it will be a picture of a cookie emailed at my convenience.




Day 4: Your Daily Compost

On Reading and being a fan. Consider the following:

On the one hand….

"We read frequently if unknowingly, in quest of a mind more original than our own." -Harold Bloom

And for the sake of comparison…

“Imitation is the highest form of pissing me off.

Quit stealing my content and violating my copyright.”  ~J. Verbumessor