The Writer’s Chronicles – Episode 12

Pronunciation Issues

Episode 12 - Pronunciation Issues

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This Post Ain’t Got Nothing

Usually, double negatives are absolute No-No anywhere. But, I bring this up for discussion because I see some of us use them—in workplaces and outside. Now, why would we use them? Because we hear people around us using them. Simple logic: if everyone is using it, it must be right. Oh, you can blame it on Hollywood’s portrayal of the good Ol’ Texas ranches and Cowboys, too.

A double negative is when you use two negatives together. For example, “I don’t know nothing.” The trouble is that there are exactly two interpretations of it. First, the obvious deduction “I know, at least, something.” And, second, its distant cousin, “I, literally, don’t know anything.” It is quite possible that while you wished to say (and mean) the latter one, you end up being understood as meaning the first one. It is confusing.

So, AVOID using it. How do you avoid using it? Simple. Use one negative expression. Just say (and, hopefully, mean) “I don’t know anything”.

But, not always will you or can you avoid. For example, “She didn’t go unnoticed in the party”. In this case, we wish to say that there, indeed, was someone who took a notice of her. You should dare to use a double negative only in situations like these. I say dare for a reason: look at the title of this post. Did you see how in some cases two negatives make a positive?

Let us say, the English and math do have something in common. The exception is, two “minuses” don’t always make a “plus” in the English language.

Happy writing.

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Change of Seasons

The chirping of birds,
Who, at the Mango tree,
Celebrate the
Change of seasons,
Welcoming the days of glory
Bidding the days of grim.

The drumming noise, tapping on
Your windows, epilogues the
Change of seasons, And
Highlights the crow feet on your face,
That once were ironed out,
Filling you in joy to the brim.

The last leaf, dry, falling,
Which once prompted the
Change of seasons, now
Sits atop a stone,
Crowning the idol that
People worship as Him.

©Suyog Ketkar


Image courtesy: The shutterbug within me.

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Micropoetry: Humility

As I prepare myself for
Another serve of humility,
I realize the distinction between
Medicine and food for thought
Is blurred in real life.
©Suyog Ketkar

#Gogyohka
#Micropoetry


Gogyohka, pronounced GO-GEE-YO-KUH, is a Japenese form of five-line micropoetry that—unlike Haiku or Senryu—doesn’t rest on the principle of the number of syllables. It relies on your power of speaking directly.

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Micropoetry: Lullabies

Lullabies flew like water from eyes.
Cries were for the Ward,
Not for toys.

©Suyog Ketkar


Senryū is a form of micropoetry that contains 17 or lesser syllables spread across not more than three lines. Although this attempt isn’t driven by humor, Senryu mostly is used to describe the human aspect on a lighter note.

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Be Content with Content

I would be amiss if I were to begin without defining the word content. That’s because it gives both a purpose and a premise to the topic: being content is feeling satisfied with your possessions or situations. But why this play of words in the title, you may ask. Here is why I rant…

Let us go back in time. Not far back into the world of typewriters and hand-written manuals. A couple of decades ago: when the concept of single-sourcing originated. I hadn’t joined the technical writing workforce then. Back then, the requirements were simple: get a single-sourcing tool to create everything from within one source. Then, use that source to generate the content for all formats. A lot has changed since. Yet the idea is to have a single repository generate the content. Just that we have complicated the process of creating and managing that content.

When I first single-sourced my product’s contents, I felt the need of creating a central repository for storing and generating the content—the likes of PDFs and CHMs. With that was born my organization’s server where resided the content. But, my requirements didn’t stop at that. I continued to remodel (or so I thought) my work processes to redefine the way I maintained that content. Then came XML, which helped me to tool-proof the product’s documentation.

Who knows, someday I may even put my head into Application Programming Interface (API), Internet of Things (IoT), and others. Did you notice how the story is becoming more about the tools of the trade than about the traded content? Sooner or later it will be about some other “hot” technology. As I continue to choose a (better) combination of tools and methodologies, I continue to steer farther away from the focus on the content. This could be your story, too.

Progressive and Cyclical User Requirements

User Requirements are Progressive and Cyclical

A side note: a seamless user experience is easier to put on to paper than to put into practice. Agreed. Also, agreed that these days we have tools that we can use to instantly connect with our users. So, we can know which sections of our documentation get the most views. Or, which ones are the most or the least helpful.

From where I look, tools and methodologies originated to save our time and effort. But now, it looks like we have lost ourselves in managing them rather than the content. Let us not focus only on creating a content-management ecosystem. Instead, let us create a problem-solving ecosystem. Let us not forget that the users’ requirements are progressive and cyclical: the target for usability changes frequently.

It all starts with answering “why” and ends with exploring the answers for “what’s next”. Such content that continues to bridge this gap of “why” and “what’s next” is truly satisfying. A tool will only enable us to create quality content. It isn’t an end, but surely a means to an end. Let us solve users’ problems and be content with (the focus on) content.

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