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I decided to organize a weekly creative writing exercise in the office to sharpen the skills of the writing pool. Everyone takes a turn inventing an exercise or a prompt.

The only general rule we've been using is that it should be doable in an hour or so. We've also tried to keep things fun.

Please feel free to share your own exercise efforts by leaving a comment. You can do that at the end of each exercise by clicking on 'Share your own effort'. Enjoy!

Writing Exercises Quick Links
Write an Obama Speech
Wordlplay, Anagram as Inspiration
Strictly Dialogue
Character Sketch
An Article of Clothing
The Truth
Press Release
Creative Description
Paired Fiction Writing
Connecting Ideas
Writing in Persona
Point of View
Interior Monologue
Body Language
Alternate Ending
Book Cover
Horror Writing
Dialogue 3
Dialogue 2
Nanofiction Writing
Writing Without Adjectives
Love Letters
Fictional Monologue
TV Show Opening Monologue
Short Story, Object as Narrator
Speech Writing
Tongue Twister
Suspense and Emotion
Describe and Compose
Poetic Confession
Application letter
Essays of Absurdities
Dialogue with Self
Imaginative Writing
Short Story from Cartoon
Five Random Words
Letter of Complaint

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Exercise 49 - Join an essay writing contest

I have not posted anything here since the last entry because I had moved to a different company.  My new role does not require me to manage a team or writers so I don't have any need to continue this weekly exercise.

I've decided to keep this blog up anyway.  It's free and who knows who might stumble into this blog and find it useful.  Yes, I still entertain such ideas. Also, I thought that if and when I do come up with interesting work, I should have a blog to post it to. 

Which brings me to this piece I would like to share.  A few weeks after I moved to Lexmark, an open invitation was circulated through the company email to join an essay writing contest sponsored by the company's writers' club.  I jumped on the chance.  The theme was "Printers and the world today."  My piece ended up winning the top prize.  Yes, I won some cash for my effort.  Thank you.  Sharing my piece below:


Print's not dead

Have we lost our sense of appreciation for the printed page?  In this day and age when content is mostly viewed on glowing screens and displayed with millions of colors, have we forgotten the romance of old-fashioned paper and visceral ink?

What saddens me is not that the possible answer to both questions is a big yes.  It is that few people actually care to ask anymore.  But can we blame them? 

This is a changed world after all.  Today, what is the point of a complete collection of the Encyclopedia Britannica when Wikipedia is way more accurate?  Today, why thumb through dirty pages of newsprint when the latest breaking news can be neatly browsed online?  Today, the yellow pages no longer mean actual yellow pages.  Today, research no longer requires fingering through neatly filed index cards in the library, merely the almost innate ability to infer the best keywords and hitting search.

The page has been transformed into what is essentially clever code with interactive and user-friendly features.  It glows like it brags what it can now do.  Today, content being real is no longer enough; it needs to be augmented.  Admittedly, information is faster to search, sort and filter.  How can you argue with that benefit?

Digitization has truly come of age, yet why is it then that we still see glimpses of the old and familiar in the way our content as well as content delivery is designed?

For example, current graphic design trends show less and less of cold computer precision, polished grid and tight balance. Instead, they are more organic; show more texture and more character.  Rough and grunge seem to appeal more to audiences than the refined and polished. 

User interfaces are laced with contextual sound and animation.  We see more and more interfaces that involve natural hand gestures such as page flipping.  Kindle, the leading e-reader, touts its screen view as a great approximation of the printed page e-ink technology, they call it.

I believe all these show we are trying to recapture some of the warmth that we lost in the digitization process.  I believe that collectively, we still long for the personal to touch and to feel our content, to print on fine paper and to read on real crisp pages.  Printers fill this stubborn need.  We are human after all.  Content can be diced and digitized to death but the overall human experience stays analog a feast of the senses not entirely what current user interfaces can deliver.

Books still look nice on shelves.  Newspapers don't need power or a wifi connection.  Presentation handouts, calling cards, certificates of appreciation, and wedding invitations will always be printed.  And with the ever increasing quality and diminishing costs of printing on demand, desktop printers have further democratized publishing.  Printing is becoming the personal medium of the masses. 

Lost your cat recently? Go print flyers!

David Carson, the trailblazing graphic designer who birthed grunge typography, declared The End of Print in his seminal book of that title published in 1995.  I still have a copy of that book, frayed yet very real and personal.  I will never trade it for an e-version.  Did you recognize the irony in that that Mr. Carson pronounced print as dead on a printed medium?  The book was a best-seller by the way.  Maybe because in its irony, people recognized a stubborn truth, which is that, the printed page simply cannot die.

Posted at 07:06 pm by bisoy


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