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Journal Thoughts Writing

Learning to write well

Since I started reading English language style guides few years ago, I became critical of the text I see everywhere. 

There’s heaps of imperfect writing everywhere; billboards, public toilets, public transport, and oh yeah, this blog. These are all great learning opportunities to practice the rules I read in the books. 

I’m in the airport shuttle bus now. Luckily the bus is full and I have no seat to sit. I’m standing few seats behind the driver. This notice caught my attention. 

I told myself that if I get a chance to rewrite this notice, I’d rephrase it like this:

For others comfort, please don’t smoke, eat, or drink in this bus. Thank you. 

Fewer and direct words. 

My writing is far from perfect. I write a lot of loose text. But I believe that if I never stop learning from these everyday opportunities, be open to feedback, and don’t become a snob, I can only get better eventually.

Categories
Habits Journal Thoughts Writing

Importance of journaling

Last ten days have been a bit gloomy for me.

I am slowly feeling better. What has helped me is putting my thoughts down in a 960-word essay on what is bothering me and how I intend to deal with it.

I wrote my post in the morning. Incidentally, Scott Berkun, one of the writers I admire, has tweeted this in the afternoon.

In my case, I do not want to forget anything but I just want to pen down my thoughts and clear my mind. I am so proud of what I wrote. So proud that I read it countless times since yesterday. Unfortunately, the post is too personal and is for my reference. So I published it privately. It will ever be read by only two people besides me. It has reminded me the importance of journaling and its benefits.

It is immensely satisfying, once in a while, to go back in time and read my past thoughts. I derive a great pleasure from it.

Here are the places I journal my life.

This blog – I write personal topics that I am comfortable sharing publicly. I try to avoid negative topics as much as possible.

Dayone app – Personal topics that I am not comfortable to share publicly. May contain some negative thoughts and concerns I have.

iPhone camera roll – My phone’s camera roll tells me the visual story of my life. I upload the photos regularly to three places: Flickr, Google Photos,  and OneDrive.

Twitter – My tweets are a way to capture my short-form thoughts. They are cheeky sometimes. Some of them sound preachy but I am really talking to myself, publicly.

Facebook – I share personal photos for myself and my extended family.

My Flickr feed – I mostly put the food photos on Flickr. While it may look like I am showing off the exciting dishes I am having, each photo reminds me of the people I shared the table with and the good and bad times we had.

Yahoo Mail Inbox – I have all the  text chats and text messages we exchanged during our courtship. Text chat has a special place in my life.

Categories
Writing

Sharing versus lurking

Are you actively sharing or passively lurking?

I encourage people to find themselves in the former group because sharing is a great thing. It doesn’t matter what you share as long as it is your authentic content. A blog, a tweet, a speech, or a photo. Anything that you created. It doesn’t have to be the coolest thing. It just has to be something that piqued your interest in whatever way. Something that is dear to your heart.

I value sharing because I appreciate the fact that someone tried to come up with something regardless of the fear of being judged. It takes lot of courage and thick skin to put oneself out there.

By standing up voluntarily, you are contributing something to this world. Most of your contributions, like mine, will in fact be trivial and might not matter much to others. But that is not the point. By opening up, you are showing the world how you think, how you do things and what matters the most to you. It might not be the world’s best way of doing things. It is still invaluable for fellow open minded people like me who are always willing to learn and find different (not necessarily better) ways to do things. And to people who understand different points of view, not just theirs.

So please stand up and share anything that you think is worthwhile. As Theodore Roosevelt said, be anyone but those timid and cold souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

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Writing

Practice, practice and more practice.

Writing is a skill. As with any skill, writing improves with practice. But practice is inconvenient and hence it is hard to persevere. Which is the reason why I keep putting off writing. But all the greatest and latest advice I get can be summed up to two words: Just write. Which is what I believe I am doing right now.

Sometimes I wonder what do I want from writing. What will happen as I write, improve and find my rhythm and voice on the page.

I am equally good at instantly identifying great writing and its feckless counterpart. I have a few role models who are both writers, normal people I interact on daily basis and online personalities I follow on various forums. I look everywhere for interesting instances of prose, like billboards, adverts, and basically anywhere and everywhere.

So it is my hope that with regular practice, I will be able to master the use of words to express myself succinctly, effectively, sans language errors  and take my writing skill to a level that is as close as possible to the best.

Categories
Writing

And so I write.

I love writing. It is creative to play with words. I don’t aspire to be a professional writer though.

I want to be articulate. I want to write with correct grammar, spelling and punctuation. I intend to master the principles of a great prose.

Why?

Because writing allows me to cement my thoughts in time. It tells me how I think and articulate. It lets me go back in time and ponder about my life. I can’t explain how much joy my past words give me whenever I read my archives. I don’t care if they are great or not. All that matters to me is, those are the words I wrote at certain point in my life. So they have a special meaning for me. I can read them for myself later. I can show them to my children once they are old enough to read.

I still hold dear the 333 blog posts I made in the internal blogging platform between the years 2006 and 2010 of my then employer. They are not amazing or out of the world. They are just plain and simple thoughts. But comments on my concluding post revealed that at least a handful of people will miss me and my blogs. That is amazing because writing helps connect people with each other.

And so I write.