February 2009
Writing eTips UpWrite Press

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"Love the writing, love the writing, love the writing... the rest will follow."

- Jane Yolen

Word Pair of the Month: continual, continuous

While this month's words are both adjectives and are close in meaning, watch out for the little difference that keeps their use precise.

The word continual refers to events or occurrences that happen frequently but with breaks in between:

The continual rise and fall of traffic noise kept me from sleeping soundly.

The word continuous, however, usually refers to something happening without a break:

The continuous hum of nearby electrical lines became apparent only after he bought the house.

These words are often pretty much interchangeable, but isn't it nice to be exact?

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Every month, UpWrite Press holds a drawing among our fans on FaceBook. The monthly prize includes a copy of Write for Business and an emPOWERED Business Writing Job Aide. So log in to your FaceBook account, become a fan of UpWrite Press, and RSVP to our February drawing event today!

February Writers' Forum Topic

Sitting at a desk all day can be murder on your body as well as your soul. How do you keep from becoming one big ball of cramps? And how do you keep from going cubicle crazy during a long day of screen-staring? Share your best tips for physical and mental health within the office confines.

Eva Jako, Sales Coordinator for GBC in Lincolnshire, Illinois, wrote this:

I sit and stare at my computer almost all day. I find that the best way to avoid becoming one big ball of cramps is to sit back in my chair once every hour or so and take a few big stretches. I sit and stretch and then I stand and stretch; this loosens up my muscles as well as takes my eyes off the screen. Also, I have a picture on the wall behind my computer screen and I look at it whenever my eyes start feeling strained.

Cyndi Rubin, an architect in Newark, New Jersey, also opts for physical breaks, offering some specific exercises:

I do isometrics and small-muscle exercises every couple of hours, right at my desk. I roll my ankles and flex my feet, stretch my back and arms, and do some neck rolls. For my back, I bend forward had reach for the floor, arching my back as I do, just to stretch it out. Another good exercise is to stand and pull my knees to my chest, one at a time. It helps that I have a door on my cubicle, so I can do my exercises in private. I also try to stand and walk across the outer office at least once every hour or two, just to keep the blood flowing.

Rajesh Sharma, a tax attorney in New York, goes the route of mental activity:

My job requires pretty intense focus, so every so often I take a mental vacation, letting my mind roam to some imagined place that’s calm and pretty. My favorite trick is to recall a vacation I once took to Aruba, remembering the calm, empty beach looking out over the ocean. Taking just a couple of minutes in this reverie refreshes my mind, and I come back ready to focus once more.

Lester Smith, one of our own writers, had this to say:

I've learned that what I do outside the office has a great effect on how I feel physically at the office. Specifically, I've finally found an all-weather exercise option that fits into my at-home schedule and that's fun enough to keep me at it. (It's an exercise video game.) Getting 20 - 30 minutes of exercise each morning before work boosts my energy level and mental clarity all day, even when sitting in front of a computer for hours.

A Final Thought

Walt Disney once said, "If you can dream it, you can do it." We'd like to amend that to say, "If you can write it, you can be it." Are you what (and where) you want to be? If not, maybe it's time to go for it. The best way is to plan. Write out exactly what you want. Then write down what you have to do to achieve it. What steps do you need to take? Do you need more education? A change in location? A cash grubstake? A personal change? Write down what you need and how to get it. Then start working toward your goals. You're more apt to attain them when they are planned out and written down. Try it. And good luck.

Our Staff Writers' Blog

Get the latest insights into writing from our staff writers. Get the latest insights into writing from our staff writers. So far this month, Steve Augustyn has written about "Moving Forward in a Recession Environment" and Joyce Lee has discussed "Writing the Presentation" and "Overcoming Stage Fright." Be sure to visit our blog for these and other great articles!

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Coming in March

Writing the Proposal

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