Copying Off Yourself

I am in a PhD program and obviously copying and pasting someone else’s work is bad.  However, it’s ok to essentially copy someone else’s work as long as you totally rewrite it in another way, but then cite it so people know where it came from.

So this makes sense right…essentially no one has an original thought and basically we should simply cite every sentence we write, but they don’t want that. They actually want you to not cite every sentence and provide original thought. However, when you do, you get graded down for not citing sentences. And only use two or three actual quotes … anything more is too much.

On top of this craziness, you can’t even copy and paste something you’ve already written … how’s that for a zinger. You literally have to rewrite what you already said and then cite yourself.

Oh, and here’s a real zinger for you, you are only supposed to cite the written word that has been reviewed by professors and referencing actual experiences and the real world is frowned upon.

As most who have taken a Master’s or PhD lately know, Wikipedia is not considered peer reviewed, even though it is 100% peer reviewed (just not by PhDs), so it is not allowed as a reference ever. However, I was reading in the Handbook of Psychology, Volume 12, and low and behold if there wasn’t a reference from–you guessed it–Wikipedia.

I’m sure all of this makes complete sense in an acedemic world where using an “&” sign instead of “and” in a in-text citation is more critical than actually learning something.

I’ll be honest with you, I am really worried about the quality of actual knowledge that is coming out of doctoral programs. Call me crazy!

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Dealing with blogger’s block

If you plan to write regularly, even once in a while, you may run into writer’s block and not know what to write about for the day. In boll going, I call that blogger’s block.

Since I blog daily and six out of seven of my blogs each week aren’t planned, blogger’s block could be a real issue. When you are coming up with a new idea to write about every day, then this issue can hit you at any point.

If you are prone to blogger’s block, then here are some ideas on how to deal with it. As always I welcome your thoughts and inputs.

The first thing you can do is actually draft up a list of topics for a period of time…say a week. Let’s assume you blog daily…on Wednesday, sit down and write ideas for Monday through Sunday. Every week you are preparing what you’re going to write the following week. Having a list of blogging ideas and topics can help you generate your blog without thinking about it. My weekly blog, Think Big, Take Small Steps, is planned for several months out with an outline of different topics. I have the title and the subtitle, which provide me with enough information to write do each weekend.

Sometimes, writing needs to happen when you have time every day and when you won’t be bothered. I’m up early every morning–4:30 during the week–and I write my blogs over coffee while my wife and the dogs are still asleep. Having a similar time of the day to write when you’re blogging helps you think and possibly research topics.

If you tend to have a lot of time at only one time during the week, consider pre-writing several blogs when you have the time and prepping them to go out. Remember, it’s best not to blog more than once a day, but you can schedule blogs or have them ready in draft to send. This way you have a blog a day (or so), but you are only writing a few times a week.

Having trouble coming up with ideas? Here are some ideas that might help you generate ideas…I think it’s much easier to generate ideas when on the computer, but every day I write on my phone or tablet.

Have a set of topics or categories that you like to blog about and know something about. For me, I try to focus on blogging and writing itself, process improvement, employee engagement, change, human capital planning, strategy, and other things like that. Having a set of categories in my head helps to come up with ideas on the fly.

If you have an idea, put it in a google search engine and search for images related to that work or phrase that represents your idea. Add that picture to your blog and then center the message and your thoughts around the picture that represented the idea you started with.

I have four quotes and proverbs applications on my phone. In the morning, I like to read each one of them for the day. I haven’t written about anything I’ve read yet’ but the ideas get my mind moving so that I’m more stimulated to write. You could use these type of devices to generate your ideas.

There is a month each year where many bloggers participate in this A to Z blogging event. For 26 days, every day, but Sunday, they post a blog corresponding to the letter of the day. There is no reason what you couldn’t apply this technique to every month and make sure that the letter of the day ends up in your title each day.

As an active and longtime Toastmaster, we always researched the word of the day. Everyone was required to use the word of the day in there speaking to practice extemporaneous speech. You can get a word of the day from apps and from the computer and blog to that every day…or just the day you are trying to get over blogger’ block.

One of the last ideas, is to write about the very thing that your are fighting against–blogger’s block. Honestly, I wasn’t dealing with blogger’s block, but I was thinking about ways that I might deal with it and thought this would be a perfect blog to share and discuss. If you are suffering from a block, then talk about it…discuss why you think you are having a block. Maybe there’s a story in there after all and you just couldn’t see it.

That gets me to my last point…almost like I planned this blog ahead of time. Sometimes, it just helps to start typing and then the words start to flow. Except for my weekly strategy blog entry, I never know what I’m going to talk about day to day. Additionally, I never know what the blog looks like or how it’s organized. However, when I start writing that first paragraph…the one that everyone is going to see, I start thinking about the structure of the blog and the main points. Even with this blog, I put it together roughly as I started writing and formulated it’s I wrote. For me, this gets my mind moving in the morning.

Dealing with blogger’s block, is a personal thing, but there are many ways that you can prepare or deal with it on the fly. Who knows, maybe these tips will help you move from a weekly blogger to a daily blogger.

Looking to hear from you on the subject.

Working on One Dead Marine II

One Dead Marine

One Dead Marine

In May of 2012, I published my first fictional novel, One Dead Marine.

This book takes you into the world of The Savage SoulTM and Scorched EarthTM, which was created by a close friend of mine, Kevin Bogucki (Bogo).  Bogo worked on the world of The Savage SoulTM since we were kids in school.  Today, Scorched EarthTM is the planet Earth born out of an advanced society in the twenty-first century that died a painful death–and the killer’s name was Yellow Mike.

One Dead Marine follows Anthony Moon, a Native American U.S. Marine, who finds himself 150 years in the future, where old-world technology, magic-wielding demons, flesh-eating zombies, and monsters of every imagination populate the environment like the air he breathes.

Moon guides us through his journeys and experiences as you follow along in his own personal journal of his arrival to this new post apocalyptic world.  His journal outlines where Lance Corporal Moon learns to survive–barely–in a fanatical environment built out of the madness of a twisted drug and an ensuing great disaster.

The time for One Dead Marine II is upon us.

I have slowly worked on this second story, which picks up where the last book ended.  Lately, with the help of blogging, I have been getting wore into writing and this book is taking shape.

One Dead Marine II (true name yet to be announced) takes our unlikely Native American Marine hero to Las Vegas, Nevada.  Expect to see more of his struggles, to learn more about Moon, that he doesn’t even know himself, and battle lots of zombies–ugh!

This installment of The Savage SoulTM and Scorched EarthTM series will push Anthony Moon’s psyche to its limits with the madness that makes up planet Earth.

My goal is to release this installment by the end of the year.

Additionally, I’m working to reformat One Dead Marine, which was only released in paperback, in e-book format available for Kindle and Nook.  I hope to have this version released by April of this year.  It was very exciting to publish my first paperback and taught me some things about self-publishing that will help me when I release my first non-fiction business book, Overcoming Organizational Myopia.  I expect to also release that book by the end of May, beginning of April.

This second book following Moon will not be a journal, like the last book.  This one takes us into the more traditional approach to book writing by putting it in the first person view.  Also, I expect this novel to be longer than the first, which was just under 29,000 words (130 pages).

Well, back to writing…

It’s been a while…

I was just looking back at past blogs and my last one was when I released my paperback, One Dead Marine. That was in 2012.

Back then the WordPress app was pretty weak, so I literally had to sit down at the computer and write. Now, when the thought hits me, I can put a daily blog together. That seems to be inspiring me.

Lately I have been examine lots of productivity tools in the area of phone apps. The market seems ripe, but I’m not seeing a lot. At work I often think about some of the apps that could really speed up things. We use Good for the Enterprise and often I don’t see much Good in it at all.

A couple of years ago, after I got my iPhone, I bought the Lark at Best Buy. It’s an armband that tracks your sleep at night and wakes you up by vibrating. I’m thinking there are better tools out there today for this.

In a world where Google Glasses, Autonomous Vehicles, and 3D Printers are taking the center stage, I think we have a lot of room to improve on what we have today.

What are your thoughts? Do you use any apps that make your life more productive?

Totally New Year

So begins another year.

How many of you started this year off with resolutions? How many decided not to have resolutions?

This year, I put my planning juices to practice. I not only have several New Year’s resolutions, but I developed a plan to implement them. That’s right, an actual year-long plan of all things.

Top on my list is to get back into shape this year. Several years ago I worked toward this and then I kinda just let go. Selling two houses, moving twice, getting married, a huge water leak–things just got a little overwhelming. Well, this year I’m back on the wagon. I’m starting out slow and plan the whole year to get back into the groove.

I’ve always been focused on reading, but this year it’s one business book a month. This month is Starting with Why. I started it last month, but will finish it this month. I already have the next three books lined up.

That brings me to writing. My business book–first one–Overcoming Organizational Myopia is done and I just need my editor to finish it. I plan to stay on her this quarter so I can publish it. Finishing it was my goal last year and I did that. Now I need to get it on the shelves. But blogging is something I used to do and I have decided to do again. My plan is to gradually get to a blog a day (lesson Lisa taught me). For now I meet my goal if I do one a month–check.

I downloaded the WordPress app and expect to exceed my goal and get to one a week or more soon. Of course, my plan is to reengage my strategic planning blog and get the whole thing finished, but I will also blog thoughts and ideas.

What are your thoughts on blogging? What do you like to read about–what interests you?

For now, I’m signing off, but I’ll be back sooner than you think. I look forward to your thoughts.

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