Writing Prompts

10 Deadly Habits – Part Two

Hello again! 10 Deadly Habits is an ongoing series of editing tips. My pet project is an unfortunate blog post I stumbled upon which shall remain nameless since the author did not ask to be critiqued. I’m shameless, I know.

Let us begin!

The blog post lists ten habits people might have before retiring to bed. I, like many other readers before me, was intrigued to see what I was doing which could be so deadly that I should stop these habits immediately. What I discovered were a few harmless things most people do which may or may not affect their sleep patterns, and a few other things which would be good to consider at least curbing. They were not as “deadly” as the post made them seem.

Honestly, the fact that bloggers and magazines can knowingly lie, exaggerate, and exploit the truth of a matter all for the sake of sales and reads irritates me to no end. It’s utterly asinine! But this is a soap box for another post.

Part two of this series will take a look at the second Deadly Habit.

(…) = Edit/add word/s

Strike = Remove word/s

2. Don’t nap during the day

Some people have a habit of napping (during the day), but this should be avoided because it will interrupt the natural cycle of the body and you won’t be able to get (prevent) a decent to (night’s) sleep. at night. This will affect your health and sleeping habits.

Perhaps my biggest pet peeve is the lack of information and research in these posts. As I edit, I will also present positive and negative comments for the sake of argument.

Some people have a habit of napping during the day. While this can be beneficial when prescribed in sleep medicine treatments (as sited: Sleep Medicine Reviews, Vol. 7, No. 3, pp 227±235, 2003,) many people nap in a manner which can negatively effect their natural sleep cycle. For example, taking an hour or more nap puts the body into deep, non-rapid eye movement (sleep,) whereas a nap of 30 minutes or less allows the mind and body to relax for a short time without negative side effects. It should be noted that napping two to three hours before bedtime is not recommended, as it may cause you to be too much awake when it’s time to sleep. Also remember, napping isn’t for everyone. Read more at Napping Do’s and Don’ts.

Here you have it, readers. If you are going to be so bold as to offer advise or criticism in your writing, it is always a good idea to back it up with one or more agreeing sources. If your intention is to truly educate, then educate yourself first and be willing to give your readers sound advice.

This has been,

Fanny T. Crispin

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Raw

I Have a Confession, Readers

I had a nightmare. This isn’t something new or out of the ordinary. I get them sometimes – I suppose every dreamer does once in awhile. Nightmares are a result of stress and anxiety, and they can take two forms:  A nightmare can be based in real life, depicting people and places you recognize, but with scary circumstances; or a nightmare can be based in a fantasy life, such as a circus, a world of witches, or an obscure, but terrifying, vision.

I’m not going to describe my nightmare because I don’t really care about it.

The dream woke me out of a dead sleep at 3am. It’s now two hours later, and I am spending the time browsing Facebook, Instagram, and finally, the Reader portion of WordPress. I switched to Discover mode, hoping to find something meaningful to pass the time. I still have 2.5 hours to go before I have to get ready for work, and I’m simply not fatigued enough to sleep.

It’s rare for me to find these moments of reflection. It’s probably a story you’ve heard similarly all over the internet. We as people are far too busy. But for me, it’s not just about finding the time, it’s about allowing the time. There’s a difference. Let me explain: There are three things going on in my life I cannot change, three things entirely dependent on a second party to fulfill their roles. Since I can do nothing about them, I avoid thinking of them altogether. Thinking makes me anxious. Anxiety leads to frayed nerves. Stress leads to snapping at my boyfriend in mean-full ways.

You see, I am a passive-aggressive goal-orientated person. When my conscience is presented with a goal, it mulls it over, weighs out the options, and analyzes for possible reactions. When I finally come to a decision, I want to act right away. I set to work researching the matter and filling in the gaps of my knowledge of it. I follow up leads and query persons involved, directly or indirectly, for their opinions. I pour myself into the project until it is finished, and then I sit back and enjoy the satisfaction of finishing something. That’s how I work.

People are always saying “Trust God’s timing. He is teaching you a lesson in (patience, perseverance, etc.) He knows what is best for you.”

Trust the timing.

It’s a simple statement. “Trust the timing.” There is such a rush to get stuff down now. We run in halls, race through traffic, scamper to and fro in a mad dash to achieve. But we forget that we have time on this Earth. I know that’s a contradiction of many statements – The trouble with time is you think you have time, Buddha; All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 1 Peter 1:24. Ironically, both statements are true. We have time on this Earth -or- Our time is fleeting. I may die tomorrow. So what? I’m at peace with my life. To be honest, my confession is I am more afraid of living.

Confession: I am more afraid of living than dying.

Living requires a lot of work and dedication with very little direction. We are all blind men tapping our canes before us to test the pavement or dirt for obstacles. We have no idea what we’re doing. Anyone who tells you otherwise is just a blind man running his hand along a banister. For a short time, he knows he can continue, but sooner or later that banister is going to end, and he’ll be just as lost as when he first started. Some people run in circles thinking they have found a clear path. We all know better.

Readers, it is now 5:23am. A whopping 23 minutes after I started this post. I think I am finally tired enough to catch an hour or two of sleep before the alarm goes off. So goodnight, and in the meantime, I will continue waiting – trusting in the timing, and trying not to be so deathly afraid of this life.

One last word of caution: Don’t eat pepperoni pizza before bed.

This has been,

Fanny T. Crispin, Writer in the Raw

Writing Prompts

10 Deadly Habits – Part One

Hello, dears! Guess what my boyfriend did. No, you really should guess. The headline says it all…

Late last night, I received a message titled “10 Deadly Habits We All Do Before Bedtime,” ironic since it was “late last night” and using your phone was one of the “10 Deadly Habits.” Yes, my dear, darling boyfriend gets suckered by the cheap, unsited, floating statistics that haunt our internet surfs. Normally, I read them for funsies or jokes. I don’t particularly put any stock in them. Anyway, the short story is, I read it and even at midnight, it was surprisingly atrocious. The spelling errors! The grammar! The monotonous writing voice! I MUST interfere!

So my summer pet project is to work this blog post beginning to end with editing critiques and rewriting. Join me on another adventure – to boldly scratch the surface with red ink and provoking thoughts, to seek out sited sources, to rip first drafts to shreds and uncover the amazing verbiage beneath!

DAY ONE! LET US COMMENCE!

(…) = replace word with a better/more descriptive word

abc = remove word/s

Okay, I’m not going to reveal the publisher of this blog because that is just rude and thoughtless. They did not ask for this critique, they’re just trying to save the world one sleepful night at a time. And I’m just trying to save bad writing…

First on our list is the title. Now, we all know a catchy title is imperative to getting read in this world. However, there are some rules I feel are necessary. For one, you must not lie. I do not approve of lying. Secondly, the title must be quick and concise. Too many words in a title bog down the reader. This one breaks both of those rules.

TITLE:

10 (Deadly) Habits We All Do Before Bed Even Though They Seriously DAMAGE Our Health

“Deadly” is an extreme adjective. Yes, sleep is important, but not ALL of these habits would be considered “deadly.” Take napping (which we will focus on in a later segment.) My great-grandfather napped every day of his life, and he lived to be 101. My great-uncle naps every day of his life, and he’s 82 and still kicking. My mom naps – okay, yes, you get the picture.

“10 Unhealthy Habits We All Do Before Bed”

There. By changing “deadly” to “unhealthy,” we automatically eliminate the need for the wordy second half of the title. Besides, the second half also goes against my first rule about lying. Most of these habits do not “seriously DAMAGE” your health.

INTRODUCTION:

Sleeping is a process that provides energy for our body for the next day. Therefore, it is good to have a healthy sleep (habits) (and not) wakeing up before it’s time to wake up or have some harming habits. Here are some things you (need to) stop doing in order to have better sleep.

There are a few typos and some places in this paragraph that do not read smoothly. It is important to write sentences which are easy to read. You don’t want to trip up your readers with unnecessary words or confusing sentence structure.

Sleeping is a process that provides energy for our body. Therefore, it is good to have healthy sleep habits without waking up before it is time. Here are some things you should consider stopping in order to have better sleep.

Editorial Notes:

  • Sleeping is a process that provides energy. We don’t need to know it provides energy for the next day. We already assume it provides energy everyday.
  • “Without waking” offers a smoother transition rather than “and not wake.”
  • While “it‘s time” is technically correct, when read in the sentence, it almost sounds like “it’s” is taking possession of “time.” To avoid confusion, I  recommend using “it is time” instead.
  • “…to wake up or have some harming habits…” Eliminate unnecessary wordage when possible. This isn’t NaNoWriMo. You don’t get points for high word counts.
  • Need to” – don’t tell your readers what to do. Period. Just don’t do it. I’m serious. Don’t.

BODY

Moving on to the first segment of the blog, we will go through all 10 habits in a 10-part segment over the course of the summer. Updates will be posted every two weeks as usual, so it will take five months to finish the project. Whip out your red pens…we’re in for a bumpy ride.

1. Do not drink the water

Water is essential for the body to maintain normal functioning and to lubricate the joints as you move. But if you drink water just before bedtime, you will wake up not just once, but several times to urinate, interrupting your sleep.

I don’t have much of an issue with this one. I would appreciate a lengthier explanation and maybe some links to sources and scientific study results. The one issue I DO have, is in the second sentence. How does this blogger know water affects EVERYONE that way? How can the blogger know you’ll be up MULTIPLE times? Is the blogger STALKING us?

1. Do Not Drink the Water

Water is essential for the body, since your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature, as sourced by our very own WebMD. However, drinking too much water before bedtime can cause you to wake up and have to urinate, which will interrupt your sleep. For such people, it is best to drop drinking water 2 hours before bedtime. For more information, you can read directly from New Health Advisor.


 

And that concludes this week’s segment! Come back for more “ripping on helpless bloggers for the sake of my blog” – and boredom. Mostly for boredom.

Cheerio!

Fanny T. Crispin

Raw

Independence

Hey, look at me writing blog posts for major holidays. Like, something I never do. But this year I’m trying something new.

The fourth of July is a big event for us Americans. We spend the entire weekend traveling. We waste too much money on silly fire crackers. For many of us, it’s our time to showcase our grilling skills (not I, sadly.) For many Americans, this holiday is as important as Christmas.

Independence is a big word in a lot of ways. It has 5 vowels, 7 consonants, and 12 letters all together. The dictionary definition is “independence [in-di-pen-duh ns] noun, the state or quality of being independent. Freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others.”  The historical reference is the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, in which, the Continental Congress declared that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and were no longer part of the British Empire. That was 241 years ago, for you history buffs.

241 years is a long time. The average life span of an American is between 75 and 80 years old. There are a few generational gaps between then and now. What does “independence from the British Colonies” even mean to my generation? I mean, personally, England is a place I’d love to visit one day, I find their accents incredibly romantic, and I think the fact that England still has a royal family is fascinating (I’m a fantasy fiction writer, remember.) But as far as being independent from the British Empire, this information doesn’t hold a lot of value in my day-to-day life. I simply don’t have any experience other than my American independence to compare. So I eat Polish sausages, German potato salad, and drink French wine.

Isn’t that the wonder in the day and age we live? There are cultural influences all around us. Because of wars and allies, stationed military bases, and travel, we carry with us living pieces of history from all over the world – DNA. In my own family, there are Germans, Swedes, Norwegians, and, yep, Brits. We’re so accustomed to our heritage that we rarely put stock in it. It becomes a part of what we consider to be normal. This holiday we celebrate every year, it’s just normal. That business trip our dad takes to Ireland sometimes, that’s just normal. The news broadcasts we receive from all over the world, they’re totally normal.

So consider the normal in your lives this weekend. Say a quiet thank you to whatever ancestor or god you feel deserves it. Because we are really very blessed to live normal lives. I thank Jesus Christ for my independence. Who do you have to thank?

This has been,

Fanny T. Crispin

What’s normal – or maybe special – about your life? Share a favorite Independence Day memory, or unburden something tragic from past weekends which may be haunting you. Whatever the story, this is a safe place to tell it.

God bless you all this weekend.