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The Other Type of Writer’s Block

In general, I tend to think of writer’s block as that time when you’re completely stumped and have no idea how to start writing something. You’re sitting in your comfortable desk chair, your hand-selected tunes queued in a new Spotify playlist, your double latte is hot and fresh in your favorite mug, and then smack! You can’t think of one word to write. If anything, you start a sentence, then erase it. You start another one, then leave it incomplete and start anew. Then you go back and erase that one and so on. To me, this is the standard writer’s block and one that we’ve actually discussed here on our blog several months ago.

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Spacing Out

When I was younger, I often wrote longhand using pen and paper, and avoided computers for as long as I could. The first computer I ever owned was a hand-me-down Compaq given to me as a birthday gift by my uncle, a tech savant who has a basement that looks like some long forgotten storage bunker in an abandoned Microsoft factory. For some reason he has multiple computer monitors, HP printers, cords, cables, motherboards, diskettes, and more surge guards than the Home Depot.

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Whistle While You Work

One of the most challenging obstacles in the working world is procrastination. Meeting deadlines and assisting co-workers with daily projects can normally help obliterate any spells of lassitude or laziness, but sometimes getting started on a project—or just knowing where to begin in the first place—can be the toughest part (three to five cups of coffee every morning can supply an extra dose of adrenalized motivation, or just an onslaught of heartburn). Establishing everyday routines and communication with colleagues are both useful ways of finding a diligent groove, but in my years of partaking in this great big nine-to-five experiment, I’ve found that the best expediter to those slow-moving, languid mornings is music.

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The Curious Case of the Serial Comma

First introduced by the Oxford University Press, the Oxford Comma (better known as the Serial Comma) is used before the word “and” in a list. British English does not use the Oxford comma, though it certainly has a clear purpose in helping to define the separate items mentioned in a list while eliminating confusion. My belief is that the serial comma should be used consistently, even if it doesn’t seem required by the sentence or list. Also known better to Patriots fans and New Englanders as the Harvard Comma, a majority of popular U.S. style guides advise to always use the comma, chiefly for the sake of clarity. Continue reading → The Curious Case of the Serial Comma

Why is API Documentation so Important?

Before we get to documentation, let’s start with what “API” means. API stands for Application Programming Interface, and it’s a set of protocols that define how two or more software applications communicate and interact with each other. APIs provide a method for developers to pull information into their applications from behind the scenes without user intervention or knowledge.

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How to Beat Writer’s Block

We’ve all been there before—hunched over the computer, knuckles rapping on the desk, music turned down to a low volume, the cursor blinking on a blank white page. It’s inevitable. All writers deal with the dreaded Writer’s Block at some point during the creative process, regardless of how prepared or motivated we may feel. Even with access to a detailed, step-by-step outline, it can still sometimes be a major chore to get going, to put ideas into words, to transform those words into sentences that will capture the attention of your audience, or communicate a concept clearly.
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How to Effectively Work from Home Without Becoming a Hermit

“How do you get any work done?” and “Don’t you get lonely?” are the first questions I’m asked after telling anyone that I work remotely. Telecommuters actually tend to be 15-55% more productive according to Global Workplace Analytics. And, of course, there are many other benefits to working from home: my morning commute is 10 seconds, my work attire primarily consists of sweatshirts and yoga pants, and I have access to a fully stocked kitchen (my growing waistline suggests this may be a con). However, it’s not all freedom and guiltless snacking, it can be lonely and requires a lot of discipline. Not everyone is hardwired to do it.
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Glass vs. Ink: An Argument for Print

In today’s era of round-the-clock connectivity, it’s hard to avoid the screen. Movies, books, and music—essentially all forms of entertainment—are now formatted to fit our devices, for better or for worse. Call me old-fashioned, but for me the whole point of reading a book is to actually hold said book and catch a few hours away from my laptop(s). Countless hours over the years of my twenties have been spent in front of different screens—namely computer and television—and as a result I’ve had to start wearing glasses to combat a bad case of nearsightedness (I’d like to note that throughout my teens I had perfect vision), but a decade worth of desk work/YouTube/writing papers helped blur my ability to read the bottom lines of vision tests.
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The Semicolon–Essential or Unnecessary?

Author Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites, standing for absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college.”

I don’t have many pet peeves as a writer, no particular style guides that I follow unless specifically determined by a client or project, however…if there is one littlepesky issue that has always nagged me both as a writer and reader, it’s the seemingly baffling appearance of semicolons.
Continue reading → The Semicolon–Essential or Unnecessary?