Terribleminds shares a writing exercise that can improve your writing, which is to take one thing and describe it ten different ways. Try it out. Pick a thing.
Here are the rules:
Focus on it and describe it multiple ways. Ten, as noted.
Each no more than a sentence of description.
(Feel free to choose a real world thing. Say, a lamp in your corner, or the flu you had last week.)
Differ your approaches in how you describe this thing.
Try pinballing from abstraction to factual — from metaphorical to forthright.
Here’s what I came up with:
After sitting in the car for ten hours, I was tired of traveling. My butt was worn-out from French kissing the seat. My neck was stiff like a pole. Like a baby with a wet diaper I was. Like an old and dusty bookshelf I felt. Frustrated and ready to stretch my legs. Connected like a group of organic compounds, waiting for H2O to break the bond.
Now you try!
The goal here is just to flex our descriptive muscles a bit.
Last Thursday, Facebook revealed its latest achievement, Hack, a new programming language. When Facebook was created ten years ago, it was coded entirely in PHP. However, as Facebook became bigger, the language became harder to manage and developers were more susceptible to making mistakes. The manager of Facebook’s Hack team, Bryan O’Sullivan, helped eliminate those errors by creating Hack. The website has moved almost all of its code over to Hack in the last year. The company released an open-source version of the language for the public last week.
As an open-source programming language, Hack was designed to allow developers to write bug-free code fast. By keeping some elements of PHP and combining the structure of other programming languages, Hack was born. In order to debug code more efficiently, instead of checking while the program is running, which is what PHP does, Hack will check for errors ahead of time, which is called static typing. The language itself is most similar to PHP; O’Sullivan encourages programmers that want to use Hack to only convert the parts of their code that are the most important, as it is not necessary to redo everything. This blending of both static and dynamic typing forms a method called “gradual typing” which has been shown to provide swift feedback and incredible accuracy.
Read more about this new language at ReadWrite.
My Mixxx transforms my computer into a complete DJ system for free, and bobs my head. With Mixxx you’re able to mix, scratch, program, and work with different effects for recording. There is even the option to perform live and record mixes on the go. With Mixxx you can feel like a real DJ because it enables hot cues, looping, translation, and much more.
Reliable sound mixing software is often expensive, but with Mixxx you’re music mixtures and features are limitless, and works on across platforms (Windows XP/Vista/7/8, Mac OS X, Linux). Start a new hobby with Mixxx and DJ at your friend’s next party, or use it academically to create a killer sound track for your next presentation. You don’t have to be a pro, Mixxx is a user friendly program that has you covered. Download it here for free and share your Mixxx.
I’ve become obsessed with NoiseTrade. This website has such a great database of music and books to choose from; everything is free but they sincerely suggest you donate a tip because “a little generosity goes a long way.” The site leads users to artists based on the sound of artists they choose or search for. By looking at the label “For Fans Of”, users can find artists that are similar to the one they are listening to. The same applies to the books and authors they provide. By providing your email, a download link is sent to you and your free music or book is only a click away. eBooks are provided in .epub, .mobi, and .pdf formats for different reading platforms while music is in the standard .mp3 format. Although neither the authors nor artists on NoiseTrade are going to be the big sellers on iTunes or New York Bestsellers, they are the well-loved unknowns that we should know. Go explore NoiseTrade’s libraries and discover new talent.
GIMP is an open-source, image-editing tool that allows users to customize additional features and abilities into their software. It’s a free, downloadable application (from their website) that focuses on photo enhancement and digital retouching. This program works on various operating systems and supports numerous file formats.
PicMonkey is a photo-editing tool that focuses on photo enhancement, adding text, providing touch ups on people, and offering layout design options to make sharing across media platforms smoother (think: PicStitch app, but online). Photo adjustments include a variety of frames, textures, and cute overlays ranging from comic bubbles to scrapbook effects, more filters than Instagram, and numerous other quirky photo garnishes. (more…)
This tumblr blog is an excellent resource for everything writing related. With specific writing advice and a plethora of informational sites, they provide a list of links to resources such as writing websites and blogs, various dictionaries and thesauruses, grammar hacks, technical writing reads and much much more.
Under the Websites & Online References tab at the top, the blog lists a few of my favorite writing websites that I’ve linked to a few times here on the WRAC site such as Write to Done, CopyBlogger, TerribleMinds, and Daily Writing Tips. The blog also lists Grammarphobia, which I found an extremely helpful grammar resource that focuses on the particulars of the English language like when you should use “toward” or “towards” and what “beg the question” really means. This page also provides teen and young writer resources as well as links to helpful screen and scriptwriting resources.
The blog itself archives helpful bits of knowledge to aide in the writing process such as references for period clothing or what it would take to be a parent in a believable post-apocalyptic world or a lengthy list of alternate adjectives, adverbs, and verbs for ‘smile’. By collecting various infographics, advice, and research, this blog has become not only a valuable resource for writers but also a place for inspiration.
While entangled in the depths of college, some of us can’t imagine, or don’t want to imagine, taking more classes on the side. However, there are many people who haven’t had the chance to receive a college education or even a high school education. Heck, there are plenty of us who can’t afford the education we’re receiving right now. Luckily, nowadays knowledge in some capacity is easily accessible with a simple Internet connection. LifeHacker has compiled an impressive list of websites, institutions, and collections of colleges and universities that offer free classes or courses online to further your education or satisfy your simple curiosity.
Do you want the most elite of the free online courses? Chance a glance at LifeHacker University or edX which both offer numerous, free online courses from prestigious institutions across the country such as Yale, MIT, Stanford, Harvard, and Berkeley.
Maybe your belief lies in the masses – you should try the University of Reddit, a subthread of Reddit, whose wealth of knowledge is built through crowdsourcing and is run by Reddit users with expertise on certain subjects whom post modules regularly in the subthread.
University of Reddit
Looking for an easier way to manage your tasks and run errands? Just Remember The Milk (RTM)!
”Manage tasks quickly and easily. Get reminded, anywhere. Organize the way you want to. Locate your tasks. Work together to get things done. Add tasks wherever you are.”
RTM is a free web-based and cross-platform time management program. RTM syncs with your GPS, saves commonly used locations, receives reminders or alerts from AIM, Skype, SMS, and can postpone tasks. With this program/app you will “never forget the milk or anything else.” Remember Them Milk is Free, why not give it a try?