On Writer’s Block, Procrastinatively

I checked, procrastinatively is the correct form of procrastinate as an adverb. Huh. I was going to go with procrastinatorally, which I think I prefer. Ah, well. I’m not the boss of these things.

I’ve got an article due this weekend. As usual, I have no plan. My last article was rather weak; it centered on appearance as a marketing tool and was essentially a cautionary tale. I did manage to slip in an anecdote about my father’s hair, which is nothing if not a cautionary tale in itself. I repackaged that age-old wedding advice about not trying crazy makeup that you’d never be caught dead in for your wedding day. It all stemmed from a post about a self-help guru who had a billboard somewhere and my god, he looked terrible. I’m going to try to find that image again, it’s worth it. His hair is thinning, yet he’s still dyed it and then had it styled like a 90s boy band member/skateboarder. It’s so awful. I don’t know why anyone let him do that. That’s a situation where someone should have stepped in and intervened before the public humiliation happened.

Anyway. At the time of my last article, there was a billboard for a well-known local attorney posted up near my house, and in it, he’s got that fourth-day scruff. I’m not a fan of beards to begin with, but I find that the in-between is almost worse. If you’re going to go facial fur for a billboard that’s going to have your face six feet high, please go all the way facial fur. Don’t go “I’ve been partying in Vegas for five days and I don’t know where I am” fur. It looks reckless. I don’t want my attorney to neglect his facial hair situation any more than I want my attorney to neglect my legal documents.

So my last article was about that. It wasn’t the strongest article I’ve ever published, and I want to come back with this one full force. Full facial fur force. (I’m enjoying the alliteration a bit too much this morning, can you tell?)

I’ve toyed with the idea of discussing software trends, but I’m concerned that I’m too far outside of the legal industry now to have a good idea of the pulse of legal software. I mean, granted, most legal offices are about five years behind on the adoption of technology, so I could make some recommendations and assessments and most likely still be spot on. I am also in the mood to incorporate my experience with other industry software (you’ve seen one database, you’ve seen them all) and discuss the maintenance and upkeep and general outlay of a solid working database. People dig that. People dig database design, because if you do it right, you’re set for the life of your database. If you do it wrong, you will regret it every day for the rest of your time using that database until you have to throw tons of cash at some kid to redo it. And no one wants to mess with data conversion, because it’s not the building of the database that’s the problem. It’s everything that lives inside of it.

I found an article years ago about the use of negative diction as a tool of persuasion. It talked about motivating people to take action based on creating a small amount of negative anxiety, creating a protective or adversarial response in the prospect. Rather than “Do you want to win this case?” you’d say something like, “Call because someone you love was hurt,” in order to stir up that need to solve the problem. That was a terrible example. I’ll have to get something better.

What I really need to do is find that article. I swore I bookmarked it, but bookmarks tend to slide into the abyss. What I miss the most about college is the unlimited access to scholarly articles – I’m going to have to make my brother give me his password so I can read all of the articles I want while he’s still in school. My increased access to knowledge will be an added benefit of all that tuition. 😉

Side note – I have been thinking a lot about diction lately. The guy I’m seeing is incredibly intelligent, which is fantastic, but he’s also very observant, which doesn’t seem to be working in my favor. He’s picking up on things in my speech patterns that I’d not noticed were even there, and I think it’s negatively impacting his perception of me.

If you know me, you know I’m a super pacifist, yet my speech is littered with very aggressive and violent assertions. Nothing like a legitimate threat, of course, but a lot of hyperbole. I think that’s how I need to explain it to him. My speech lives in a hyperbolic state at times as a way to express the extent of my care for what I’m speaking about. If I’m saying, “I’ll kill him,” it’s not like I’d ever actually do that, it’s a reflection of the state of my concern for the situation. It’s unnerving to know that we’re all unintentionally sending signals out with our speech. It’s unnerving because even though I know exactly what I mean and am feeling, it’s not translating out in that way, and the risk of miscommunication intensifies with every crossed signal.

Regardless, I’ve been more cognizant about my speech lately, and perhaps now would be an excellent time to spend time thinking about how diction does affect people’s perceptions and motivations, and craft a thoughtful piece about how lawyers can increase their responses to calls to action through a simple shift in dialogue.

I can dig that. Let’s change the course of the conversation intentionally. That’s manipulative. But then again, that’s marketing.

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About kb

free spirit, lover of red wine, bacon, sushi, the ocean, and adventure. I work in the legal field, do freelance writing, and take care of children.

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