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Because I had a few organizational skills, a little technical ability, and there was no one else better qualified available, my boss assigned me, who had completed exactly nine quarter hours of college, the task of leading a group of young graduate engineers who were charged with designing a system and purchasing all of the instruments required to control a new chemical plant.  After somehow successfully stumbling through that project he suggested, “Before your next salary evaluation, it would be good if you took some classes to improve your management skills.”  He could have just as easily said, “To develop some management skills.”  I signed up for Management 101 at the University of South Alabama.

“The first rule of management that trumps everything else for success in business,” Tommy Michael, the class instructor, said the first day of class, “Is to get to know the Siamese Twins of management.”

I learned that these two require you to “Develop a Plan” and then “Control to the Plan” meaning you must follow it closely, maybe with a few adjustments as situations change.

So, I am thinking about following that rule very loosely to develop a basic writing lesson plan here.  I will be working on the plan and hopefully I will have it developed fully before we get to the end, for right now here goes.

Lesson 3-Be Prepared

A popular rule a Boy Scout learns is to, “Be Prepared.”

My goal is to pass on a few hints that can help with any writing you may want to undertake.  Some of you may have a book inside, others may have a story or two that you want to tell, whether it is a true rendition of your life or of someone else’s.  Others may want to write some instructional materials to share some skills that you have conquered.

You may have been reluctant to put your thoughts on paper and if you have, you may not feel free to share them with others.  Both apprehensions are valid.  The fear of rejection for what we feel inside is probably one of the greatest fears that we can have.

Let me assure you that many of us live with those fears all the time.  It used to cripple me.  I would sit in a room of people and listen intently; never joining in a conversation because of the fear others would laugh at me or tell me that was a stupid comment.  The only time I spoke was when I was with only one other person and that person had to be someone that I trusted very much.

Mr. Blake, a teacher at Vigor High School, used to impart his wisdom to us as he monitored the line of students waiting for lunch.  One day he said, “If you are in a room full of people and you sit there saying nothing, others may look at you and think you are pretty dumb.  If you open your mouth and speak, you remove any doubt.”

Even after I married Carolyn, now my most trusted friend, I didn’t share many of my thoughts with her.  During that time, my daddy was my most trusted friend.  I would talk on the phone with him every evening and Carolyn would sit close by and listen in so she could learn what was going on deep down inside me.  I was wrong but it was a fact.

Here are a few hints for Lesson 3:

We all have good ideas that come to mind and we would like to write about when we get somewhere more suitable but then when we get to the convenient place and sit down to write our mind goes blank.  We can’t recall it, can’t bring it back to mind, no matter how hard we try.

  1.  Always have a piece of paper and pencil with you to jot down quick note reminders so that you can recall your thoughts when you have time.
  2. I always have a pen & paper in my pants pocket.  Some of my notes get to looking pretty ratty and coupled with my poor cursive writing skills, I often have difficulty deciphering what I wrote but I usually can summon up the original thought.
  3. I usually have my trusty Iphone with me.  Often, I either use the built-in notes feature or the voice recording capability to speak something quickly, especially if I am driving.  It functions just like a tape recorder.
  4. I suspect that some of you may have an Ipad or other electronic writing devices that you use and it would probably be a wonderful tool for quick notes.
  5. There are all sorts of applications available for our electronic devices that can become useful tools but I still prefer the piece of paper above all else.
  6. You are on your own on this one; but I seem to get a lot of inspiration during church while the preacher is delivering his sermon.  I always have clean paper in my Bible and if something the preacher says inspires me, I take the unction and write it down.  A side benefit is you will be surprised how quickly the service moves while you are writing.
  7. I have notebooks filled with thoughts and ideas that I have never shared with anyone else.  Most of them are incomplete thoughts but others reveal who I am and who has influenced my life.  I will share some of them on this blog.

God Bless You and Happy Writing!

by Wayne Brady 7/22/2012

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