The Demon Named White Room Syndrome and How to Exorcise It From Your Story

Write Better Now
Write Better Now
The Demon Named White Room Syndrome and How to Exorcise It From Your Story
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There’s a demon that infiltrates a lot of our fiction and memoirs and that demon has a name. Learn about White Room Syndrome with us on this week’s episode of Write Better Now!


Hi, welcome to Write Better Now, a podcast of quick, weekly writing tips meant to help you become a better writer. We’re your hosts with NYT bestselling author Carrie Jones and copyeditor extraordinaire Shaun Farrar. Thank you for joining us.


So, white rooms are all the rage right now in 2020 thanks to the Swedish Cozy Minimalist design movement, but what might be perfect in your actual house isn’t anywhere near perfect for your story.

You want to avoid white room syndrome at all costs.

So what is this again? This white room syndrome?

According to inventingrealityeditingservice.com:

Rather than fully imagine such a world, some writers instead create a quick, unformed facsimile of their own. For example, they start the story with the line, “She awoke in a white room.” The white room is the white piece of paper facing the author. This is known as white room syndrome, a term coined a few year ago at the Turkey City Workshop in Austin (a group that has included authors William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Lewis Shiner, Rudy Rucker and Walter Jon Williams).


They officially define white room syndrome as “an authorial imagination inadequate to the situation at end, most common at the beginning of a story.” In short, because the world wasn’t fully imagined, it can’t support the story that unfolds from it.

Or as Lauren Mullen says:

The scene is coming together just as planned. Your dialogue is snappy, witty, and poignant. The action is electric, carrying your characters from one spot to the next. You can see it all unfolding to you as if it were happening on a screen…but the setting details are absent. As a result, all your character’s amazing dialogue and action happen in a blank space.

But what I really like that she says is here:

Think of when you go over to someone’s house for the first time, how they decorate and treat their home says a lot about them. Are they the type of person who cleans up when expecting guests or not? Do they keep a lot of books? Collect art? Fan memorabilia? Are there any pets? What are they? A dog owner says something different about a person than a hamster owner. You learn a lot about a person by how they decorate and treat their home, likewise this is why description and setting are so vital to good storytelling. 

When done properly, the world in which your characters inhabit can take on a life of its own. It is important to spend as much time fleshing out your setting as you would a persona. This helps the space in which your characters exist feel grounded and real. 

How do you keep white room syndrome from happening? Or how do you fix it?

There are some good ways!

  1. First make the decision about how you want the reader to feel about the space where the scene is happening.
  2. Add details that make that happen. Is it a crowded space? A quiet café? A darkly lit jazz club? Are the tables sticky? Does the office smell like onions? Do you hear the fast clickety-clack of coworkers keyboards? Do smells come from another cubicle? From the coffee shop’s kitchen?
  3. Think about how you learn about people from the first time you walk into their homes? Give that feeling to the reader. Is it well lit? Shadowy? Are the salt and pepper shakers shaped like manatees or plastic? That sort of thing.
  4. Allow yourself to set the scene as a stage where the details you choose reflect the emotional struggle of the character and/or the plot.
  5. Use the five senses (sight, sound, touch, smell, taste) and try to use three of them in each scene. Oh! And don’t have the three you use be the same for every single scene.
  6. Don’t overdo those senses, but do use them a bit.

Why is this important again?

  1. It allows your reader to be fully in the experience of the character of the book.
  2. It’s a tool. The setting can be a metaphor for your character’s internal struggle. If your character is having an anxiety attack and stuck in her job and life, making her hide in a bathroom stall is perfect as metaphor.
  3. It can be a character in your story. The city of Chicago or New Orleans can influence the plot and character a lot. The city can grow too as the character grows.
  4. It helps create tone and conflict. If you’re writing a novel about an apocalypse, the details you choose in your scene’s setting help show that.
  5. It shows class and divisions in society, too.

There you go! A quick and super important writing tip to help you write better now.


Hey, thanks for listening to Write Better Now.

These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in us, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Mr.ruiz and the track is Arctic Air and the album is Winter Haze Summer Daze.

For exclusive paid content, check out Carrie’s substack, LIVING HAPPY and WRITE BETTER NOW. It’s basically like a blog, but better.

Huck the Roof Dog and Defining Happiness Doggy Style

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Huck the Roof Dog and Defining Happiness Doggy Style
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Every once in awhile, a dog climbs on the roof of a house and chills out, but if you’re Huck the dog, you do this all the time. How often? So often that your owner has to put a sign on the door.

Join us as we talk about Huck and also about defining happiness, doggy style.


Have you ever come home and been like, “Dang, why is my dog so happy?”

In general dogs are really pretty cool happy animals. And they are amazing because unlike some of us (cough) they don’t hide how they feel. It’s all just out there.

According to Global Dog Breeds, the reasons dogs are so happy are these:

  • They forgive
  • They live in the present
  • They are happy with what they have right there, right now.
  • They embrace life.
  • They know how to get cozy and comfy.
  • They trust their owners. 

Carrie’s taking a pretty cool course for free on EdX (sadly, this is not an ad) all about happiness and it’s taught by Arthur Brooks, a professor at Harvard. And all these things about why dogs are happy made her think about that class and some of the teachings from it.

Brooks says,

“It turns out that the way we think about happiness is informed by where we live. For example, in some cultures, happiness is defined by social harmony. In others, it’s defined by personal achievement. So the way we answer the question are you happy depends, to an extent, on where we’re from.”

Brooks interviewed the Dalai Lama and his Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso shared the following (the quote is taken directly),

“I think very purpose of our daily life. For happy life, firstly, we need some sense of oneness of 7 billion human being on this planet. We have to live together. An individual’s future depends on them, one individual, one of the 7 billion human beings in the group know that.”

Brooks summarizes his points as follows,

“The first is he taught us tonight that happiness comes from being useful and having a life’s purpose, and that purpose, the purpose that we have, our highest purpose is caring for each other, lifting each other up, remembering that each of us is one of 7 billion human beings.

The second way that he made this point is when he talked about unhappiness, which is our own creation.

Unhappiness comes in our own mind because of self-centeredness.

We become unhappy because we’re unnatural, and we are unnatural whom we are thinking only of ourselves. We can only be truly happy when we get out of this creation that is unhappiness by focusing on other people.

The third point that he made was about our intellectual lives, about research and investigation, about our brains, and the importance of sanctifying our intellectual work by putting it in service of our hearts, putting it in service of our love for other people, that in fact, our hearts can be most effective when our brains are fully engaged in the purpose, sanctifying that purpose and loving each other.

And finally, the fourth way that His Holiness made this point that happiness comes from love for others is that we need education, that we need an education system that teaches each of us unity and oneness and sisterhood and brotherhood. And that is our leadership challenge.”

In an opinion piece for the Washington Post, Brooks and the Dalai Lama wrote,

“The objective is not to vanquish a person I considered my enemy; it is to destroy the illusion that he or she was my enemy in the first place. And the way to do this is by overcoming my own negative emotions.

Perhaps taking that approach seems unrealistic to you, like a kind of discipline only a monk could achieve through years of concentrated meditation. But that isn’t true. You can do it, too, regardless of your belief system. The secret is to express warmheartedness, kindness and generosity, even in disagreement — and especially when others show you contempt or hatred.”

How do you do that when it feels like other people are taking away yours or others essential human rights? Or putting lives at stake? Or creating or revoking or refusing to revoke polices (be it about guns, abortions, clean water, property rights) that you feel are essential?

That’s really the question.

LINKS AND RESOURCES

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/03/11/dalai-lama-arthur-brooks-each-us-can-break-cycle-hatred/

XIV, Dalai Lama, and Cutler, Howard C. The Art of Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Handbook for Living. Penguin Publishing Group, 2009, 294.

Course: “Managing Happiness,” HarvardX, accessed June 27, 2022.

“Why Are Dogs So Happy.” No author stated. Global Dog Breeds.

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

Here’s the link.

best writing podcast WRITE BETTER NOW
Write Better Now – Writing Tips podcast for authors and writers
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird
best poetry podcast by poet
Carrie Does Poems

Because (a poem)

Carrie Does Poems
Carrie Does Poems
Because (a poem)
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Because she’s not some drugged up doper or anything like that, but shivers have taken control of her whole entire body because it’s cold, cold, cold in Bar Harbor, Maine and it isn’t even winter yet.

Because she’s huddled behind the dumpster outside of Geddy’s. There’s a giant lobster claw at the front part of the restaurant and a massive moose on top of the ceiling because that’s what gets the tourists. Fake moose. Broiled monster lobster claws, red with death and sprinkled with white Christmas lights.

Because it gets to be too much, huddling there against the cold and the sun’s rising over the Porcupine Islands, so she gets up. She gets up and she heads out to the wharf where all the lobstermen tie up their skiffs, so they can get out to their moorings. The wharf’s not much of anything really, just a lot of pilings holding up a parking lot and then there’s some docks holding the skiffs. WE get

Because she runs out there because sometimes no matter how cold you are, running makes you warmer.  It only works until you stop, though. When you stop running, the sweat against your skin turns you even colder. That’s why she usually don’t stop running.

Because she does today. She does today because today she is cold, cold, cold all the way into her capillaries. Today she is cold, cold, cold all the way into the roots of her teeth.

Because it’s not winter.

Because it will only get colder.


Hey, thanks for listening to Carrie Does Poems. These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in Carrie, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Eric Van der Westen and the track is called “A Feather” and off the album The Crown Lobster Trilogy.

While Carrie only posts poems weekly here, she has them (in written form) almost every other weekday over on Medium. You should check it out!

https://freemusicarchive.org/music/eric-van-der-westen/the-crown-lobster-trilogy-selection

Strange Ancient Coming of Age Rituals

Loving the Strange
Loving the Strange
Strange Ancient Coming of Age Rituals
/

Everyone, the podcast kind of sucked this week, because Carrie was all a-flutter, but here it is.

LINKS REFERENCED

https://listverse.com/2019/02/22/10-ancient-coming-of-age-rituals/

https://www.roughguides.com/articles/in-pictures-the-worlds-most-unusual-ancient-rituals/

https://www.intimina.com/blog/period-parties/

https://list25.com/25-insane-coming-of-age-ceremonies-and-traditions/

Fill Your Setting With Farts

Write Better Now
Write Better Now
Fill Your Setting With Farts
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Hi, welcome to Write Better Now, a podcast of quick, weekly writing tips meant to help you become a better writer. We’re your hosts with NYT bestselling author Carrie Jones and copyeditor extraordinaire Shaun Farrar. Thank you for joining us.


A quick ramble about setting.

Writers, you need it. You might not want it. You might not be good at it, but setting is like a good fart. Sometimes you have to expel a little gas out of your rectum in order to be your best.

Similarly, you want to have some setting in your story to make that story be its best.

If you are a pretentious writer, you might want to say, “I want readers to be able to imagine the story is in their town or city or part of the world,” but that’s not going to work at all.

Just by defining a tree you are telling the reader something about the setting.

Like if you write:

She stared up at the palm tree.

You’re giving the reader clues. A palm tree will not be in Iceland. They are somewhere comparatively warm.

If you write:

She got out of bed.

You’re giving the reader a clue that she is wealthy enough to have a bed and in a culture or world where people sleep in beds.

And the thing is that clues are needed. Specific clues. Real clues. Without a setting, without a place where the story happens and a time where the story happens, the reader floats there in the sky, ungrounded, unanchored.

And you know what happens when a reader floats in the sky? The reader drifts away. So you want to fart in some specific setting to help the reader sniff out and remember where they are.

Being specific anchors the reader. It ties them to your story and its characters. You will remember a fart that smells like eggs mixed with tuna mixed with a McDonald’s french-fry. So be specific.

More than that though? Setting anchors your characters and your plot. Place makes us (and our characters) who they are. It gives a story atmosphere. It gives the character a world to interact with.

Think of a creepy Stephen King novel. It’s creepy because he takes certain aspects of Maine and creepifies them. Think of Crazy Rich Asians or The Bridgerton novels. They are luxurious because of the places where they take place AND the places where they take place help inform the novels.

A rabid dog cornering you in a car isn’t as scary when you are in Boston. That’s because there are a ton of cops there and animal control officers, unlike a small town in Maine. 

Meeting a super-wealthy potential mother-in-law in her mansion isn’t as scary when she’s just the mom next door in her split-level.

You want to anchor your readers in that setting every time it changes. So, yes, you’ll want to fart out that setting multiple times in your story. You can have a big city for your story—Bar Harbor, Maine—and a smaller setting—Carrie’s office. And once you show us readers where we are, you want to make sure to slowly reveal aspects of setting rather than shoving it all down our throats at once in the first paragraph. Too much gas at once often pushes the modern reader far, far away, holding their noses and writing reviews that say, “THIS STINKS!”

There is a balance here.

To recap:

Setting is like a fart. Even if you don’t like to write it, it has to happen.

Without setting, your readers float away or are just in the dark, confused, lost, untethered.

Setting is important for the characters in your story. It gives them something to play off of, interact with, it informs who they are, it shows who they are, it creates who they are (I am currently a woman of the comma splice), and it gives your story atmosphere.

Ground your characters whenever the setting changes.

Reveal that setting slowly.


Hey, thanks for listening to Write Better Now.

These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in us, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Mr.ruiz and the track is Arctic Air and the album is Winter Haze Summer Daze.

For exclusive paid content, check out Carrie’s substack, LIVING HAPPY and WRITE BETTER NOW. It’s basically like a blog, but better.

Topless Mom Saving Her Pet Goose and Smile Like You’re Happy, Damn It

Topless Mom Saving Her Pet Goose and Smile Like You’re Happy, Damn It

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Topless Mom Saving Her Pet Goose and Smile Like You're Happy, Damn It
/

It actually works.

Back in 1862 Duchenne De Boulogne noticed that certain muscles in our face engaged whenever we were joyous.

It was an involuntary reaction of our cheek muscles, the zygomatic major, and the orbicularis oculi. That’s a muscle right in front of our temples and below our eye. And when those cheek muscles and that special little muscle engage? That’s when we smile.

The weird thing is this is a human universal. It happens all over the world despite gender, sex, culture, race, etc.

The weird thing is that if we make ourselves smile like this, with those muscles engaged, we actually usually start to feel happier.

The process reverses.

There’s a guy who teaches the Introduction the Art of Happiness at a Harvard X class, Arthur Brooks, who has an experiment where you take a pencil and hold it between your teeth and you keep it there for 45 seconds.

Do it.

Seriously.

When you do this you flex those muscles in your cheeks and your heart rate starts to decrease and your stress in your body? It starts to release.

What does that mean? It means that happiness is a shared condition of humans around the world.

It means we can see happiness expressed in people’s bodies.

And finally, most importantly, we can actually make ourselves feel happier just by doing that easy dorky experiment where we hold chopsticks or a pen between our teeth. How cool is that?

Brooks believes that “happiness is something that grows in us when we give it away,” and also that “happiness doesn’t just happen to you, you can manage it.”  

DOG TIP FOR LIFE

Manage your happiness! Work for it! Wag your tail. Grab a stick. It’s awesome.

LINKS

https://learning.edx.org/course/course-v1:HarvardX+happy+2T2021/block-v1:HarvardX+happy+2T2021+type@sequential+block@dd8f672ef4ca4f44879ffd7ea4a38956/block-v1:HarvardX+happy+2T2021+type@vertical+block@049cf8336845451eb71bed94ecf75623

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2319446/

https://nypost.com/2022/05/19/topless-mom-in-her-undies-rescues-pet-goose-from-bald-eagle/

SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

Here’s the link.

best writing podcast WRITE BETTER NOW
Write Better Now – Writing Tips podcast for authors and writers
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird
best poetry podcast by poet
Carrie Does Poems

Myths About Presidents

Carrie Does Poems
Carrie Does Poems
Myths About Presidents
/

Myths About Presidents

26.

He didn’t

Ride

A moose.

The photo is fake

Like a lot

Of presidential

things.


16.

He dreamt

His death,

Found himself

Waking in a coffin

And asked who

Was dead

In the White

House.

Dream mourners said,

“The president.”

He denied the dream.

Nobody listened.

The story was too good.


9.

He stood

At the podium,

Sworn in

And speechifying

For 8,445 words

In the cold

Of March.

He died

A month later

Of pneumonia

Linked to

His pontification

It was actually bad water

At the White House.

He’d been drinking shit.


1.

His teeth were made of wood.

But really they were just so old

And stained they looked that way.


27.

He did not get stuck in the tub and need

Six men to yank and yank and yank him free.


35

He didn’t call himself

A jelly donut in German.


45.

His toilet

Is not

Gold.

He is not

Christ. Or

Even the

Opposite.


46.

He is

Poor.


1.

He apparently

Could not

Tell

A lie

Unlike

All the others

Who could

Not

Tell

The truth.


Hey, thanks for listening to Carrie Does Poems. These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in Carrie, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Eric Van der Westen and the track is called “A Feather” and off the album The Crown Lobster Trilogy.

While Carrie only posts poems weekly here, she has them (in written form) almost every other weekday over on Medium. You should check it out!

https://freemusicarchive.org/music/eric-van-der-westen/the-crown-lobster-trilogy-selection

Weird Parenting Things

This week we talk about weird things parents used to do and still do, and ended up talking a lot about getting smacked. But funny stuff, too. I promise!

Sources

https://www.purewow.com/family/parenting-trends

https://www.parent.com/blogs/conversations/8-vintage-parenting-trends-that-boggle-the-mind

https://www.babygaga.com/15-millennial-parenting-trends-that-seem-new-but-are-actually-from-the-past/

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/parenting/g4223/weird-parenting-trends-100-years/

https://www.buzzfeed.com/kristatorres/weird-parenting-hacks

Show More Details, Writers

Write Better Now
Write Better Now
Show More Details, Writers
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Showing details in your writing isn’t just some annoying comment that agents, editors, and writing coaches and teachers paste into every student’s work.

You can see it now, right?

Big red letters. Loopy script. Maybe an exclamation point:

SHOW MORE DETAILS!

Every writing person ever

We do this not to be annoying (well, most of us), but because it’s important.

The thoughtco article by Richard Nordquist says it well.

Specific details create word pictures that can make your writing easier to understand and more interesting to read.”

And we want readers to understand the world that we’re building on the page and be interested in it.

As Stephen Wilbers says,

“You are more likely to make a definite impression on your reader if you use specific, rather than abstract, words. Rather than ‘We were affected by the news,’ write ‘We were relieved by the news’ or ‘We were devastated by the news.’ Use words that convey precisely and vividly what you are thinking or feeling. Compare ‘Cutting down all those beautiful old trees really changed the appearance of the landscape’ with ‘In two weeks, the loggers transformed a ten thousand-acre forest of old growth red and white pine into a field of ruts and stubble.’

Here, take this example:

The man’s face was happy.

Can you think of ways to make that more specific?

A smile slowly formed on Shaun’s ruddy face, lifting the corners of his eyes with the movement.

There’s a difference there, right?

There’s a great quick MasterClass blog post that tells writers four ways to add those concrete details to our narratives.

They include:

  1. Making the initial sentence abstract and the remainder of the sentences in a paragraph concrete. I’m not into this really.
  2. Use the senses—hearing, sight, touch, smell, taste. Let the reader smell diesel if the scene is on the side of the highway, taste the bitter coffee in the coffee shop, etc.
  3. Be super specific and concrete like I just mentioned.
  4. Remember to describe people and setting and action in a way that your reader can imagine. Don’t just say, “He sat under a tree.” Say, “He folded his legs beneath him, leaning on the gnarled trunk of the willow, its bark rough against the skin of his back, the tendrils flitting down—a perfect place to rest or maybe to hide.”

SOME LINKS

Nordquist, Richard. “Specificity in Writing.” ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/specificity-words-1691983.

Nordquist, Richard. (2020, August 28). Exercise in Writing With Specific Details. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/exercise-in-writing-with-specific-details-1692404

https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-use-concrete-details-to-enhance-your-writing#quiz-0


Hey, thanks for listening to Write Better Now.

These podcasts and more writing tips are at Carrie’s website, carriejonesbooks.blog. There’s also a donation button there. Even a dollar inspires a happy dance in us, so thank you for your support.

The music you hear is made available through the creative commons and it’s a bit of a shortened track from the fantastic Mr.ruiz and the track is Arctic Air and the album is Winter Haze Summer Daze.

For exclusive paid content, check out Carrie’s substack, LIVING HAPPY and WRITE BETTER NOW. It’s basically like a blog, but better.

You are so biased so how do you stop it

Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
Dogs Are Smarter Than People: Writing Life, Marriage and Motivation
You are so biased so how do you stop it
/

There’s this guy named Sid who wrote about cognitive biases over on Medium. Sid got me thinking about all the ways we make decisions based on wrong assumptions or biases.

He lays out ten, right?

And I just wanted to talk about the first two this week and maybe make this a series.

Why?

Well, because as Sid says, “Being aware of our cognitive biases helps to recognize their power in shaping our thoughts, opinions, attitudes and the decisions we make. Let’s check out these effects by analyzing ten cognitive biases that shape our world today.”

So, those first two are:

The Availability Heuristic

The Affect Heuristic.

Let’s start with the first one.

The availability heuristic

 According to the Decision Lab, the availability heuristic is a bias that “describes our tendency to use information that comes to mind quickly and easily when making decisions about the future.”

It’s basically memorable moments that are made influence our decisions in ways that they shouldn’t.

The decision lab has a great example.

“Imagine you are considering either John or Jane, two employees at your company, for a promotion. Both have a steady employment record, though Jane has been the highest performer in her department during her tenure. However, in Jane’s first year, she unwittingly deleted a company project when her computer crashed. The vivid memory of having lost that project likely weighs more heavily on the decision to promote Jane than it should. This is due to the availability heuristic, which suggests that singular memorable moments have an outsized influence on decisions.”

And this sucks because bad memories are easier to remember than good ones. And that means we aren’t making our decisions logically.

This happens because our brains need shortcuts. We like shortcuts because it’s less energy. So we recall the strongest facts, the most biggest memories.

The first step to avoid this bias is to know it exists, right, and maybe have a baby pause before we make our decision and think about why we’re making it.

The Affect Heuristic

According to the verywellmind,

“The affect heuristic is a type of mental shortcut in which people make decisions that are heavily influenced by their current emotions.1 Essentially, your affect (a psychological term for emotional response) plays a critical role in the choices and decisions you make.”

It’s another shortcut. And it’s about how good or bad something or someone feels.

They give this example:

“Imagine a situation in which two children arrive at a local park to play. One child has spent a lot of time playing on swings at a neighbor’s house, so he has nothing but positive feelings when he sees the swing set at the park. He immediately makes the decision that the swings will be fun (high benefit, low risk) and runs to play on the swings.

“The other child, however, recently had a negative experience while playing on the swings at a friend’s house. When he sees the swings at the park, he draws on this recent negative memory and decides that the swings are a bad choice (low benefit, high risk).”

Basically, we aren’t relying on facts to make choices; we’re relying on emotions. Politicians and retailers know this and use fear to influence decisions because fear is a really strong emotion.

Jerks, but clever jerks.

DOG TIP FOR LIFE


Don’t just always make automatic decisions. Pause. Sniff. Figure out where those decisions are coming from.

RANDOM THOUGHTS ABOUT PYTHAGORAS


SHOUT OUT!

The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. 

Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song?  It’s “Summer Spliff” by Broke For Free.

AND we have a writing tips podcast called WRITE BETTER NOW!

We have a podcast, LOVING THE STRANGE, which we stream live on Carrie’s Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn on Fridays. Her Facebook and Twitter handles are all carriejonesbooks or carriejonesbook.

Carrie is reading one of her poems every week on CARRIE DOES POEMS. And there you go! Whew! That’s a lot!

Here’s the link.

best writing podcast WRITE BETTER NOW
Write Better Now – Writing Tips podcast for authors and writers
best podcast ever
loving the strange the podcast about embracing the weird
best poetry podcast by poet
Carrie Does Poems
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