how to coordinate metaphors #2 | virtual book

how to coordinate metaphors #2

#notes #essays #imagery #cohesiveness #writing Mentioned in what I'm doing now

Here’s an example of coordinated metaphors, something I wish

other writers

how to coordinate metaphors

#notes #essays #imagery #cohesiveness #writing Mentioned in Four Thousand Weeks (2021), The State of Affairs (2017), how to coordinate metaphors #2

It’s important to keep your metaphors from bumping into one another. Take this passage from Oliver Burkeman’s book

Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals

:

…most of us were raised [to] prioritize future benefits over current enjoyments. But ultimately it backfires. It wrenches us out of the present, leading to a life spent leaning into the future, worrying about whether things will work out…

If we are wrenched out of the present, how are we only leaning into the future? Wouldn’t we be thrown into it?

To coordinate these two metaphors, we need to change the word wrenches or the word leaning. (Or both.) The image of being wrenched out of the present is vivid, but I find the image of leaning into the future more precise.

Burkeman could’ve chosen a word other than wrenches to lead better into the image of leaning. Possibilities include: pushes, nudges, tips, pulls, shifts. We are not limited to physicality, either: action words like coaxes and lures are also viable.

We can’t use leads because that would clash with leading in the second part of the sentence. (Although, if we really liked leads as a replacement for wrenches, we could

revise the sentence

to accomodate it.)

To pick a solution, test it against the problem. You know you’ve found a solution when the two images flow into each other or click into place like neighboring puzzle pieces.

If you enjoy analyzing sentences closely like this, check out the last section of

Several Short Sentences About Writing

, where Klinkenborg considers “Some Practical Problems” with sentences written by his students.

used more often. It’s an excerpt from

how to work #2

how to work #2

(Originally posted on okjuan.medium.com.)

#essays #psychology #time-management #energy #physiology Mentioned in writing how to work #2, how to progress without planning, how to chart moods, how to coordinate metaphors #2

Right now, it’s 5:28pm. I just finished my work day. I turn my attention inwards — I’m not very hungry yet, and I still have energy to do something productive. I have to make dinner eventually, but otherwise my evening is open. This is where I make my mistake. I choose an easy activity like cooking, getting groceries, going thrift shopping, watching TV, or scrolling through my phone. The mistake isn’t doing these activities, but doing them when I have both the time and energy to do something special.

These moments are precious, and they pass by unnoticed unless you watch out for them. They offer you the chance to take on work that is challenging and time-consuming. They are an open road and a tank full of gas, space to gather speed and cover ground. Choosing to spend that time on something easy is like burning gas in first gear. Don’t waste your energy on tasks that can run on fumes. Leave the laundry and the dishes for later, when your brain needs to rest. This is your chance to practice a craft or work on a project, anything that requires brainpower and is meaningful to you.

When the opportunity comes, pounce on it. The sooner you start, the sooner you’re in the zone and the longer you’ll stay there. For creative work, it’s not just energy you need but also time. Resist the temptation to do chores just to feel productive. Letting small tasks occupy space in a big gap of time is like parking in the middle of two spaces. Better to dedicate long stretches of time to activities that need it, like making art or building something. Let chores and other small tasks squeeze into the spare minutes in your day.

According to Dr. Dement’s book The Promise of Sleep, energy tends to peak in the morning, dip in the early afternoon, and peak again in the early evening. If you listen to your body, you can figure out when your energy rises and when it falls. Once you know your pattern, you can dedicate the highs to meaningful-yet-demanding work and leave the lows for easy stuff.

Adapting to the ebb and flow of your capacity makes you not only more efficient, but happier. Your efforts bear more fruit because you know when the moment is ripe, and you learn to savor small victories when nothing bigger is within reach. Gone is the guilt of “being lazy” when your energy dips because you know it’s just a phase in a cycle, a valley in a range of peaks. You can have faith in yourself, and let rest nagging questions of willpower and attitude.

It’s 6:27pm as I finish the first draft of this piece. Aware that I had energy to think, and about an hour before I got too hungry to focus, I set myself down to write. Now I have to stop, but a good foundation has been laid, one that I’ll build upon next time I have the time and energy to do so.

, my essay about choosing your next activity based on your current energy level:

Adapting to the ebb and flow of your capacity makes you not only more efficient, but happier. Your efforts bear more fruit because you know when the moment is ripe, and you learn to savor small victories when nothing bigger is within reach.

In the second sentence, I try to create a single, fluid image in the reader’s mind by coordinating the metaphors bear more fruit, moment is ripe, savor small victories, and within reach.

But, to be fair, I am biased. I wonder how many other readers enjoy it like I do, and whether any feel tension between the other images in the excerpt. Does ebb and flow in the first sentence clash with the fruit imagery in the second sentence? To coordinate the metaphors across the two sentences, I could replace ebb and flow with something about seasons, for example. But that might shift the reader’s attention too far from what is said to how it’s said. The second sentence alone risks this by including too many coordinated metaphors, but stays in bounds by not forcing or contriving them.

The goal is not to say to the reader, hey, you see how clever I am? but instead to put satisfying images in their head, preferably without them thinking too much about how they got there.

I think ebb and flow, as another image from nature, complements the fruit imagery. This works especially because the third sentence in the paragraph also contains natural images:

Adapting to the ebb and flow of your capacity makes you not only more efficient, but happier. Your efforts bear more fruit because you know when the moment is ripe, and you learn to savor small victories when nothing bigger is within reach. Gone is the guilt of “being lazy” when your energy dips because you know it’s just a phase in a cycle, a valley in a range of peaks.

These images coordinate not only between themselves but also with a key idea of the essay: there is peace in respecting and abiding by rules of nature.

But, again, I may be at odds with potential readers of

how to work #2

how to work #2

(Originally posted on okjuan.medium.com.)

#essays #psychology #time-management #energy #physiology Mentioned in writing how to work #2, how to progress without planning, how to chart moods, how to coordinate metaphors #2

Right now, it’s 5:28pm. I just finished my work day. I turn my attention inwards — I’m not very hungry yet, and I still have energy to do something productive. I have to make dinner eventually, but otherwise my evening is open. This is where I make my mistake. I choose an easy activity like cooking, getting groceries, going thrift shopping, watching TV, or scrolling through my phone. The mistake isn’t doing these activities, but doing them when I have both the time and energy to do something special.

These moments are precious, and they pass by unnoticed unless you watch out for them. They offer you the chance to take on work that is challenging and time-consuming. They are an open road and a tank full of gas, space to gather speed and cover ground. Choosing to spend that time on something easy is like burning gas in first gear. Don’t waste your energy on tasks that can run on fumes. Leave the laundry and the dishes for later, when your brain needs to rest. This is your chance to practice a craft or work on a project, anything that requires brainpower and is meaningful to you.

When the opportunity comes, pounce on it. The sooner you start, the sooner you’re in the zone and the longer you’ll stay there. For creative work, it’s not just energy you need but also time. Resist the temptation to do chores just to feel productive. Letting small tasks occupy space in a big gap of time is like parking in the middle of two spaces. Better to dedicate long stretches of time to activities that need it, like making art or building something. Let chores and other small tasks squeeze into the spare minutes in your day.

According to Dr. Dement’s book The Promise of Sleep, energy tends to peak in the morning, dip in the early afternoon, and peak again in the early evening. If you listen to your body, you can figure out when your energy rises and when it falls. Once you know your pattern, you can dedicate the highs to meaningful-yet-demanding work and leave the lows for easy stuff.

Adapting to the ebb and flow of your capacity makes you not only more efficient, but happier. Your efforts bear more fruit because you know when the moment is ripe, and you learn to savor small victories when nothing bigger is within reach. Gone is the guilt of “being lazy” when your energy dips because you know it’s just a phase in a cycle, a valley in a range of peaks. You can have faith in yourself, and let rest nagging questions of willpower and attitude.

It’s 6:27pm as I finish the first draft of this piece. Aware that I had energy to think, and about an hour before I got too hungry to focus, I set myself down to write. Now I have to stop, but a good foundation has been laid, one that I’ll build upon next time I have the time and energy to do so.

. I suppose the feeling comes also from the literal images of nature I included in the original version I posted on Medium.