About Steve Mallach

A slightly balding communications professional who is enjoying a new focus on creative writing.

Writing in Hot Climates (redux).

Some many, many year ago I arrived in Singapore. It was roller coaster of new experiences. In an effort to apply my mind to more than how to order food from a neighborhood market without ending up with something horrible I decided to take my laptop to a local park and do some writing.

The results can be read at the link.

You will note that the experience wasn’t terribly rewarding.

Yesterday, being older and wiser I decided to take my erratic mind outside in KwaZulu Natal in South Africa.

Autumn has arrived and I (naively) thought that the oppressive humidity was a thing of the past.

In Singapore I wrote about the various hurdles that one could expect from a country where your keyboard actually starts to sweat. In that local park people passing by would stop and ask me if I was all right. I had an elderly Norwegian couple sit down and offer me a bottle of water and a pillow to rest my head. The wife was very sweet – she actually mopped my forehead as I lay prostrate on their travel pillow.

But now I’m in South Africa and I thought it would be a bit of cheat to do the same thing again.

So here’s timeline of an African experience.

8.00 am. Underpants and extension cord. The life of a communications person is filled with excitement. Exit to garden. Remove approximately 7,000 dead moths from table top. Realise that one of them is not a moth, but rather a striped wasp the size of my hand. Back inside to look for antihistamine lotion. Realise that the striped moth is now on my back. Channel Olivia Newton John in a spirited dance while two year old claps delightedly. Take a sip of water only to realise that the squeezy bottle is actually expired pile ointment.

Sit down for a while.

9.00am. Realise that the sun is now shining directly on the laptop screen and current seating arrangements will simply not work. Move table. Retreat inside to find someone to rub Deep Heat on back. No one there. Apply Deep Heat to pool fence and Twerk against it. Realise that I may have misunderstood what Twerking is. Realise that sun has now moved and outside table is hot enough to raise blisters.

KZN temp

Look to the middle left – DBN. I’m inland – and trust me it gets a lot hotter than that.

10.00am. Worry that the laptop screen has burnt out as I cannot read any copy. Realise that my pupils have disappeared into pinpricks from the glaring sun. Go inside for eye drops. Find eye drops in kitchen cupboard medicine box. Apply. Realise that eye drops are actually toothache drops containing cloves.

12.00 midday. Eyes seem better. Double vision is manageable. Back to outside table. Crack knuckles. Discover entire colony of ants trying to write their life stories. Lecture ants and shake out keyboard.

1.00pm. Large lizard crawls onto keyboard. Shoo it off. Large Praying Mantis crawls onto keyboard – shoo it off. Lizard and Mantis return to keyboard and fight it out. Current copy written – bsojohgdsmlbj65 -noih.


Lizards? I’ll kick your ass – ‘aaaargh, *crunch*

1.30pm. Wildlife exits. Lizard triumphant.

1.35pm. A cat arrives to investigate the excitement. Sweep cat from table and open Excel to study data.

1.40pm. Cat returns with dead lizard. Lizard has a Praying Mantis in its mouth. Ponder the circle of life. Push the cat off the table. Cat bites me.

2.00pm. 100% humidity and 31 degrees in the shade. Two year old arrives with cat in arms with large lizard in mouth. Remove lizard and two year old.

2.15pm. Power goes out. Remove laptop back to study.

2.22pm. Power comes back on. Relocate to outside table.

2.30pm. Thunder clouds gather, temperature drops. 400 million flying ants arrive to cover table, laptops, two year old who proceeds to eat them. Shrug. Cats arrive back and frolic in newfound food source and roll over keyboard repeatedly.

3.00pm. Thunderstorm. Unplug laptop. Open first beer.

Thunderstorms-in-KZN (1)

3.15pm. Power failure. Flies.

4.00pm. Lightening strike causes cats and two year old to use me as climbing apparatus.

4.10pm. Give up and go to kitchen to pour another beer. Peel off cats and two year old. 13 Year old daughter asks me how day has gone. Open kitchen cupboard. Attacked by moths who have eaten all the moth balls and now want human flesh. Spray cupboards with insecticide. Throw bread away. Shouted at by entire family.

4.30pm. Remember that laptop is still outside in thunderstorm.

4.35pm. Read guarantee very, very carefully.

4.50pm. More flying ants. Cats go berserk. Two year old goes berserk. Large spider in bathroom.

5.00pm. Centipedes in the bath. Two year old goes berserk.



5.05pm. Gigantic killer moths everywhere. Geckos arrive out of air vents, proceed to fight to the death over moths. Gecko falls in beer.

6.00pm. First scotch.

7.00pm. Remember that while reading guarantee hadn’t actually brought laptop inside.

7.05pm. Kick cats out of bedroom and inform everyone in house that I am no longer available for anything, at anytime, anywhere.


The most terrifying piece of freelance writing software in the world…

This turns the blood in my veins to ice. I swim in a sea of anxiety at the best of times when it comes to writing. This would simply add a school of sharks, I don’t think it would help – I’d be paralysed…

About Write or Die:

The most frightening piece of freelance writing software in the world.

The most frightening piece of freelance writing software in the world.

From the Guardian newspaper.

This is horrible! The novelist David Nicholls says that while working on his latest book Us he used a piece of software called Write or Die, which starts to delete what you are writing if you pause for too long. “I was convinced that there was a novel in me and I had to just spew it out on to the page,” Nicholls told an audience at the Cheltenham Literary festival. “I produced huge piles of paper and I saw it was all rubbish. It was as if I was writing with a gun to my head.”

I agree. I can say so because I have been asked to write this article both about Write or Die, and on it and, under the circumstances, the only way I could do justice to the stress would be with a list of swearwords. Having readied that quote from Nicholls, I set a target of 400 words in one hour and activated the evil setting. This seemed the fun thing to do, but in fact it means that if I stop typing even for just a couple of seconds, the screen goes pink, then puce, then red, then crimson … then the last word on the document disappears, then the next, then the next. There is a pause button I can press once, I have just discovered by pressing it.

BUSINESS MARKETING: Say it again and again then reinforce it – nwitimes.com

See on Scoop.itMarketing

BUSINESS MARKETING: Say it again and again then reinforce it
It’s not a secret strategy but over time, repetition can be one of the most effective marketing and advertising tools a business can use to become known in the marketplace.

Steven Mallach‘s insight:

Very interesting insight – worth reading.

See on www.nwitimes.com

Print vs. digital: Flaneur magazine celebrates life offline – Deutsche Welle

See on Scoop.itPublishing and Editing

Print vs. digital: Flaneur magazine celebrates life offline
Deutsche Welle
Print vs. digital: Flaneur magazine celebrates life offline. One street at a time, Flaneur digs into human stories at the local level.

See on www.dw.de

The fall and rise of magazines from print to digital

See on Scoop.itPublishing and Editing

Declining sales do not mean the end for glossies. More platforms mean better ways of connecting people with their passions…

Steven Mallach‘s insight:

Combining digital and print and providing insight that online versions (geared to the short attention span audiences of today) cannot match within the confines of limited space amy be the future of mags.


With the increasing reliance on mobile (tablets not withstanding) as a delivery channel print publications  in  niche markets especially may still have decades of life.


It’s worth noting that the human eye and brain are designed to both focus and note peripheral value aded information. The printed page offers value at a glance – and the decision to immerse the mind in the content is made on a variety of levels. Although online delivery is without doubt more interactive the interactivity demands actions on the part of the reader which include steps that may interupt the smooth delivery of information.


A well designed print page (infographics / images . charts etc) can convey just enough to hold the attention of the reader immediately.


Just a thought.

See on www.guardian.co.uk

3 Keys to Repurposing Content on SlideShare

See on Scoop.itSocial Media

Whether it’s Facebook updates, tweets, blog posts, research reports, newsletters, video, white papers or more, we all produce content these days. How do you reach your audiences on each platform wi…

Steven Mallach‘s insight:

Did you know that SlideShare is a LinkedIn company?


Well, now you do (I didn’t).


The latest trends seem to indicate that SlideShare is becoming more and more important as a way to engage with potential clients.


It’s also a great way to repurpose content that may or may not have been sufficiently shared across the social media.


Stories abound of astronomical sharing numbers using this channel / media.

See on blog.slideshare.net