Topic 1. Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say 'infinitely' when you mean 'very'; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.
What are the major dangers in using big words? Describe at least one situation where you used a big word when a smaller, more concise word would have worked better.
Topic 2. The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
What do you think Shaw means by this quotation? Why is this illusion such a problem? Give at least one example of what you think Shaw means and explain how it demonstrates what he’s saying.
Topic 3. A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 1) What am I trying to say? 2) What words will express it? 3) What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4) Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?
Why do you think these questions might be so important? How would they improve writing? Would you ask yourself these questions? Why or why not?
Topic 4. How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.
Do you agree with Thoreau? Why or why not? How would this influence a person’s writing, whether they have “stood up to live” or not?
Topic 5. There is only one way to defeat the enemy, and that is to write as well as one can. The best argument is an undeniably good book.
Why is writing so powerful? How can a good book defeat an enemy? Why do you think Bellow suggest that writing is the one way to defeat an enemy?
Topic 6. Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and quite often the bad books have more to teach than the good ones.
What kinds of lessons do books teach us? Why would a bad book teach more than a good one? Give an example of at least one book that you felt taught you a lot.
Topic 7. The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.
What do you think Flaubert means? How does writing help you learn what you believe? Give an example of a time when writing helped you understand something you believe.
Topic 8. A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.
What does Twain mean? Give at least 2 examples of how people who won’t read are just as bad off as people who cannot read.
Topic 9 Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.
Why would consistency be unimaginative? Give at least two examples of this problem with consistency and explain the problems with them.
Journal Topic 10 Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.
Who do you think are the people who have something to say and can’t? Who are the people who have nothing to say and keep on saying it? Why do you suppose Frost finds this to be such a problem?
Topic 1: While writing any journal, article or essay there are certain things that a person should keep in mind. Things like clarity in writing and use of simple words so that people could understand the expression of the writing is very important. Using big words is also another thing that should be kept in mind. C.S Lewis stated that using ‘infinitely’ instead of ‘very’ brings out a different meaning. This reminds the use of ‘immense’ instead of ‘many’, using immense people is a wrong concept, but immense population was the correct meaning. It makes an abstract idea of the degree or the amount of people. Using big and long sentences can lead to mistakes and often the writer looses the track of what was he was doing. The short words are more precise and add meaning to the sentences thus they should be used more often and make the statement more precise and accurate.
Topic 2: The statement states that communication is a process of not just communicating but also about sharing ideas. The communication process is successful only when there is an exchange of ideas. This states that if the communication goes skewed then a fragment of the idea is lost and misinterpreted by the other person in an interpersonal communication. This happens due to many factors like the apathy, noise and other barriers in communication. For example a teacher to his student was discussing about a theory, if the teacher couldn’t make his student understand despite of having a communication process of about 20 minutes then it is not at all a communication. And thus the teacher makes an illusion that his teachings were well perceived. The illusion can make the communicator feel that the communication has taken place and thus the effectiveness of the communication is lost.
Topic 3: These questions are quite important for a writer to keep in mind because the writer needs to clearly make presentation of his/her feelings. There should be clarity of what he is trying to express, if his thoughts are clear then his expressions are bound to be clear. Similarly an image helps reader to visualize hence making it effective. But use of image also needs to have relevance with the generation. One cannot give an example of Victorian age to make people understand how crops should be grown. Thus it is important to use idiom and image that could make effect, otherwise the efforts won’t pay. One of the best examples of using image is Macbeth by Shakespeare which is considered one of his best tragedies. I will definitely ask myself those questions as it will improve my writing and I will be able to provide quality work.
Topic 4: The statement of standing up to live means that as writing is an expression and in order to express ones opinion it is important to have an experience (Stovall, 2012). If the moment is not lived then the expression of the moment becomes vague. The statement is very true, having lived the moment makes it more appealing towards the readers. There is a big difference in reading about how to climb Mt. Everest than to actually climb and explain the expedition in own simple words. This would help a person as the person will feel motivated to know more about what he is about to write. If the facts are not supported then there is no meaning to write for the subject. Thus it needs to be seen that we need to take advantage of the situation and make full utilization of the time.
Topic 5: Writing is powerful. This statement is true, because it is a one way communication. What one thinks is expressed in a clear way where there is no one to suppress it to interrupt. During industrial revolution and renaissance movement people used their pen to go against the old-school thoughts. There were many revolutionary minds who voiced their thoughts through writing. A good book or a good writing is the best weapon because it helps to prove the people that the person has a wider thought about the subject. It is seen that the writing is powerful and it was said that the pen is mightier than the sword. Thus the power that the pen has can kill the bad intentions that otherwise would not have been possible with a sword. Thus the power of writing can affect the person to a great extent.
Topic 6: Through this statement Stephen King wanted to say that in order to become a good writer one must keep in mind two things, write a lot and read a lot. While picking up a book a writer should keep in mind that every book has something valuable to share (McQuail, 2010). The choice of good book or bad book is not what a reader should consider; every book has some kind of lesson. In fact it turns out those bad books also teaches a lesson, better that good books sometimes. Lament for a son by Nicholas Wolterstorff, was a good book. Here the person explained the grief and how he came to cope up with the loss of his son. At first it was at the least priority for reading, but it is not that you have to lose someone so that you could relate to the work. The emotions were beautifully explained.
Topic 7: Flaubert in his statement tried to convey that as a writer starts writing, he discovers the exact thing he believes. The art o writing itself makes it clear that to the writer that his expressions and emotions are true (Foster, 2012). Writing helps to learn about personal belief because while writing the person has to be clear enough about his content and that content should be something that he believes about. As slowly he proceeds with his writing he becomes stronger in his opinion. One such thing happened while writing about the need of a good leadership helped in believing that good leadership prevails.
Topic 8: Mark Twain meant that a person who cannot read is almost as equal as a person who doesn’t want to read. This is because one who can’t read may have the inability but have the will; similarly one who doesn’t want to read has the ability but not the will. So having no urge for reading is an act of illiteracy. The best example for people who don’t want to read is that these people cannot participate in a knowledgeable discussion amongst cognizant, at that point the person along with the participants in the discussion realize about his knowledge. The person who don’t read sometimes try to teach illiterate people about what they know, this is of no use until it helps someone.
Topic 9: Oscar Wilde referred that consistency is a shelter for the people who are unimaginative. Only creative mind, knows the ups and downs of performance. Creativity is not consistent, it has good flow and it has bad flow. People who tries to maintain an average performance in writing does not know the highest limit of lowest limit of creative work. Consistency needs the same level of exertion, where the effort or the flow becomes similar. For example a teacher while setting question paper may not be that much imaginative and that would lead in repetition of same question that would make student memorize just the answers. A creative teacher would set different type of question that would make the student think critically and know more about the topic. Another example is the difference between a report writer and an article write. An article has to include creativity so that it could grab the interest of the readers.
Topic 10: People who have so much to say and cant are the people who have knowledge to make people learn about new things but lack the communication skill (Foss & Littlejohn, 2012). They have message to convey to the world but the rational people who have no such knowledge tries to make people listen about their stories which are not relevant. This is a problem because the knowledge that is shared is not helpful it makes a repetition of same thing which has no creativity, no interesting information rather no information at all. It is seen that the inability of the people to speak what they needed to say at the right time may create problem for the people.