Thoughts in a park.

Hypothesis:

The opportunities for observation that present themselves to us during our various moments of idleness throughout the day (waiting in traffic, in line at the grocery store, for the water to boil), are often squandered by immediately turning to our devices for the latest digital updates.  We are a culture averse to idleness and simply observing the world us.  As soon as the world stops requiring anything of us, we immediately move from the real to the digital.  By doing this, we fail to see the world as it is.  Waiting in an idle state is the perfect opportunity for this. Continue reading “Thoughts in a park.”

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30 Days of Writing Complete. What now?!

It’s been a number of days now since I’ve written anything. Having completed the 30 for 30 Challenge, I’ve taken a physical (but hardly mental) break from writing to clear my head and see where I want to take things next.

In the meantime, I have been reading and listening a lot to Jeff Goins.  Jeff is an entrepreneur and writer who is passionate about helping other people find their writing voice, and teaching what it takes to build a platform and audience. I discovered Jeff’s work in the midst of my writing challenge, and probably would have approached things differently had I encountered his advice first.

Here is some of what I’ve learned, and what i hope to apply to this blog going forward. Continue reading “30 Days of Writing Complete. What now?!”

Themes for Longform Writers

 

Does anyone have experience using any of these themes? I am particularly interested in their functionality and how conducive they are for long form writing. Decisions, decisions!!

The WordPress.com Blog

Many of the themes in our Theme Showcase are great for writing and reading longer articles and stories, from our classic default themes — including Twenty Fourteen and Twenty Twelve — to popular personal blogging themes like Ryu and Manifest

Last week, we shared ten of our favorite longreads across WordPress, and we hope you’ve taken some time to sit back and savor these longer pieces. Below, we’ve gathered some themes that work well with longform writing and offer a clean, enjoyable experience for your readers.

Syntax

On Otium, Yale PhD student Sarah Constantin writes about mathematics, cognitive science, philosophy, and more. Aside from a colorful graphic header image, Sarah keeps her blog simple. You can click on the button on the left to open the menu and access her About page, but the site is minimal, which keeps the focus on her prose.

On Syntax, you’ll…

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Day 30 – What I learned from 30 days of writing

(This is the FINAL post in the 30 for 30 Challenge.)

The end has come. This marks my 30th blog post in thirty days.  I took up the challenge just after the Christmas holiday as a way to try and see if I could create a new habit for writing. Instead of a New Year’s resolution, I had new habit forming activities in mind – things that would take me a month to ingrain, and the whole year to follow through.  There are some things I’ve learned from the experience, not only about myself, but about writing and creativity as well. Continue reading “Day 30 – What I learned from 30 days of writing”

Day 21 – Pressing on – (the home stretch)

(This post is part of the 30 for 30 Challenge).

Somehow, I’ve managed to make a post everyday now for the last twenty days. Now, with ten posts remaining (including this one), I’m beginning to wonder how I’ll make it. Doubt is creeping in once again.

The act of writing is a decisively deliberate one – an activity that is all to easy to let pass us up in this mostly mindless daily toil we call “making a living”. This accepted necessity of human existence, at least for most of us, is a bulwark we must daily hurdle ourselves over (at some point or another) if ever we hope to achieve and/or maintain a creative balance in our lives. It’s a daily cycle, and the struggle is real. Continue reading “Day 21 – Pressing on – (the home stretch)”

Day 15 – Inspiration for Every Writer

(This post is part of the 30 for 30 Challenge).

In this my fifteenth post in the 30 for 30 challenge, I am officially halfway through, and I have to say, it has not been easy. If I was thinking more clearly when I set myself up for this, I probably wouldn’t have committed myself to writing 30 full-on blog posts in 30 days. I think 2 or 3 posts a week would have been a modest, but noble challenge.

Anyhow, here were are… fifteen days in, and fifteen days to go.

As a small ego/inspiration boost to all of us struggling writers, I wanted to share a few quotes from the great John Steinbeck on the subject of “sticking with it” – quoted from the daily journal he kept while writing The Grapes of Wrath. The now publicized journal is called Working Days.

US novelist John Steinbeck (1902 - 1968). (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
US novelist John Steinbeck (1902 – 1968). (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

In it, he shows how he was constantly plagued by doubt concerning his ability to write, and he kept a daily journal during the process of writing the book in order to remind himself why he simply must carry on, and press forward.  He also saw the journal as a form of accountability for himself:

In writing, habit seems to be a much stronger force than either willpower or inspiration. Consequently there must be some little quality of fierceness until the habit pattern of a certain number of words is established. There is no possibility, in me at least, of saying, “I’ll do it if I feel like it.” One never feels like awaking day after day. In fact, given the smallest excuse, one will not work at all. The rest is nonsense. Perhaps there are people who can work that way, but I cannot. I must get my words down every day whether they are any good or not.

Continue reading “Day 15 – Inspiration for Every Writer”

Day 13 – Five Books that Changed How I View the World

(This post is part of the 30 for 30 challenge).

Anyone who is even a moderate reader has at least one book that they can point to and say, “That book changed my life.”, or, “That book completely changed the way I view the world.” These are the stories that stick with us; the universal messages that shape who we are as individuals and our world view.

Here are the books that had that impact on me: Continue reading “Day 13 – Five Books that Changed How I View the World”

Day 7 – 30 for 30 Challenge – one week update

Today marks the 7th post in the 30 for 30 challenge, and as such a week into this experiment in endurance and creativity. Being that I made two posts yesterday, one of which I would consider my “post for the New Year”, I’m going to keep today’s post short and recap my thoughts about the first week.

Here are some thoughts about the first week:

* Writing is hard to get into, but once you start and get going on something, it’s one of the most rewarding feelings.

* Starting to write about one topic often leads into ideas for other topics.  The very act of putting words to paper (or digital screen) seems to act as its own form of inspiration.  This feels like the Do Something Principal in action.

* At least half of my first seven posts have started off being about one thing, only to morph into something else by the end. Kind of neat how the mind takes unexpected turns, and realizes how what I REALLY am trying to say is “X”, not “Y” like originally thought.

* Writing is therapeutic. A couple of times I have felt anxious at the start of my writing session, only to feel calm and accomplished at the end.

* Writing has made me more curious. The more I write about various things, the more I want to know more about other things. Curiosity booster!

* One week into the experiment, and I am a little less anxious than at the start of the week.  Yes, I still have a long way to go to reach 30 posts in 30 days, but the process seems less daunting now than it did at first. I have no idea what I’m going to write about past tomorrow, but for some reason I’m okay with that because I’m more confident that something will come to me.

Since this is a short post, I want to close with a great little aside that I read recently on the blog The Politics of Writing where the author shares some really great writing advice from the author John Steinbeck.

Day 2 – Do Something

(This post is part of the 30 for 30 challenge)

Part of my inspiration for this 30-day writing challenge, apart from a good friend who spurred me on, was a blog I’ve been reading recently by a man named Mark Manson.  He writes about my things, all of them dealing with the subjects of Culture, Dating and Relationships, Life Choices, and Psychology.  I’ve been reading a lot of his stuff lately, but the one post in particular that sparked me to start this challenge was called The Do Something Principal.

The idea goes something like this:

Motivation typically comes from being Emotionally Inspired to do something (i.e., Motivated).  The Action then results in more inspiration, and thus more motivation, the cycle continues.  However, with situations that are difficult to tackle (i.e., weight loss, writing a novel, fixing a bad relationship), people can never usually get past the first step of being inspired, because the negative connotation of the situation, and or the self-doubt involved, prohibits any action, and people remain stagnant and end up not doing anything about it.  Continue reading “Day 2 – Do Something”

Day 1 – Air Travel

(This post is part of the 30 for 30 challenge)

One learns a lot about people, and human nature in general, while in airports and on planes.  There is something about air travel, and the process of it, that tends to bring out some really interesting behaviors, unlike most other common mass gatherings of random strangers. And there really is no better time to observe these phenomena than in an airport on the day after Christmas..in Orlando..after all the parents and children are heading home from the Magic Kingdom.

One can almost predict the environment before even stepping foot into the terminal: More kids than usual, all of them tired and full of sugar, unhappy to be ending their time with the Big Mouse, exhausted parents in survival mode, ready to do whatever it takes to just get home in one piece and with a shred of sanity remaining.  In short, a really pleasant day to partake in air travel.141006135210-16-loud-noices-airport-behavior-horizontal-large-gallery

Instead of rehashing my own personal travel hell that is today, I will instead highlight some of my favorite air travel behavior phenomenon, and wish for this flight to be over.. Continue reading “Day 1 – Air Travel”