What’s in a title?

Should I write the title first, or last?

Should the title be a clear signpost of what is to come?

…or should the title prepare the reader?

…prime their mental state, jar them out of common trains of thought, give them the first bit of context, …

Should the title be short, or loquacious?

An interrogative or a statement.

Should the tense (present, past, passive, active, …) match, or provide counter-point?

If I practiced by writing 2,509 titles would I be able to write a title for a post on titles?

Could I remove the titles entirely?

Should I remove the titles entirely?

What is my intention for having titles? (Hi Angie!)

Should I have the same intention each time I’m composing a title?

Could the title be revealed last—only after the piece is read?

Email has a subject line; not a title line.

Does a title convey the subject?

…always? …sometimes? …maybe it never should?

Can a subject be a title?

Could a title contain the subject but also serve some as-yet-undiscovered-by-me purpose?

Should a title set the tone?

…create tension? …allude to the subject?

and be short?

Do people judge what I write by the title?

Do people who read a lot of my posts, versus those who are having their first experience, use the titles differently?

Or maybe the title’s primary purpose is to serve as a mental bookmark for the piece after it’s been read?

Wait. What was I going to write about today?

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The process of reflection

Much of the power of the Movers Mindset podcast’s signature question, “three words to describe your practice?” comes from thinking about one’s personal understanding of the word practice. In the podcast episodes, sometimes the guest’s discussion of that understanding is a profound part of their interview. Sometimes their surgical statement of three words is its sublime culmination.

In 2019, we posed the three-words question of the project itself. This turned out to be a surprisingly fruitful exercise. We came up with three words to describe our practice, and I subsequently adopted them as the three words to describe my practice:

Discovery. Reflection. Efficacy.

If those three words describe my practice—the journey of my whole life—then what is the purpose of this web site? Why go through all this work? It’s taken me 9 years and the previous 2,499 posts to understand:

It’s a vehicle for my process of reflection.

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I reiterate

If you’d like to retain and secure more of the information you consume instead of letting noteworthy knowledge pass right through you, here’s the best way to do so: share it with someone else. The secret of why this method works is in the number of times it forces you to reiterate, and thus solidify the memory of, a piece of information.

~ Brett McKay from, https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/the-best-way-to-retain-what-you-read/

McKay goes on to make several good points, but one in particular jumps out: That by sharing I am giving a gift to other people, and the anticipation of that—noting something now, that I’m planning to share with others later—is inherently pleasant and that pleasure also helps reinforce my memory.

I had never realized that aspect of blogging; this pleasurable feature, well in advance of the actual writing and sharing of things. But upon reflection this morning, I can assure you that it is a significant effect. I’m often caught yammering on about how everyone should have a place where they write in public, and henceforth I’m adding this pleasurable anticipation of sharing effect to my already long list of benefits to writing.

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Once more unto the workshop

https://www.gapingvoid.com/blog/2011/08/22/because-you-cant-live-in-a-hammer-2/

I’m well past 2,000 posts here and it does often occur to me to wonder why am I writing all these posts. It seems to be boiling down to…

If you can’t write clearly…

Crafting these blog posts has become a daily practice of introspection. Once a day or so, I stroll out to the digital workshop and putter around. Sometimes I simply clean up. Sometimes I do a bunch of heavy-lifting work. Sometimes I think I catch a glimpse of what it might mean to be a human being.

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Nine thoughts worthy of immortality

http://www.raptitude.com/2009/04/9-thoughts-worthy-of-immortality/

Deep in the vast, mostly forgotten (yet immediately accessible) archives of the blogosphere lie billions of touching, hilarious and brilliant thoughts that humankind has been stockpiling for years.  Here are nine that moved me, with excerpts.  Bookmark this if you don’t have a lot of time right now.

~ David Cain

This is not like the think-pieces I’m normally drawn to share. This is literally a list of nine, individual blog posts (from among the billions) which are worthy of being called great writing. These are among the best things humans have ever written.

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Meadows as endless as the desert

https://www.brainpickings.org/2018/08/22/van-gogh-sorrow/

You know the landscape there, superb trees full of majesty and serenity beside green, dreadful, toy-box summer-houses, and every absurdity the lumbering imagination of Hollanders with private incomes can come up with in the way of flower-beds, arbours, verandas. Most of the houses very ugly, but some old and elegant. Well, at that moment, high above the meadows as endless as the desert, came one driven mass of cloud after the other, and the wind first struck the row of country houses with their trees on the opposite side of the waterway, where the black cinder road runs. Those trees, they were superb, there was a drama in each figure I’m tempted to say, but I mean in each tree.

~ Vincent van Gogh

Sometimes, a bit of writing simply must be shared.

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