The journey continues…

My journey as a writer has taken many turns over the years. I have stop writing for news-portals and have over the past two years focused my attention to the formation and activities of a writer’s group, based here in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.

It is a joy to see a small collective of liked minded people, come together, and find ways to expand the art of writing and spoken word.

Yes, to read one’s work before an audience is a daunting task, but in my opinion, is the zenith for any writer. You write for others to read and to hear your work.

By standing on a platform, people can hear your work, spoken as it was written in your mind. Your voice is now heard, not just behind the nuances of words but actually heard.

So, if you have the time check out the group I am working with at our Facebook page -> Wordsmiths Of Kuching.

Cheers!

Introversion and the Writer

For as long as I can remember, my mother has always commented on how quiet I was at home, when in the social circle I can be very involve. It is as if, I turn off the moment I reach home.

In fact, I really do turn off once I settle into my security bubble.

For many years, I’ve had this thought that something was wrong with me. That I was living life in hypocrisy. Socially engaging but private in nature. And this conflict within my personality has been a point of stress for me.

This was the case until I discovered and accepted the fact that I am an Introvert and an extreme one at that.

I’m an Introvert, who is expected to be an Extravert in an Extraverted world.

But of late, I have learnt to accept myself for who I am. This is just the way my brain is hardwired to handle the world. And I am not ashamed neither afraid to tell people that I am an Introvert. That my silence at meetings and seemingly aloof nature is expected. It is my natural response to the world.

And my Introversion is what makes me the writer that I am. It is in fact, the strength behind my writing.

A key trait for an Introvert is the ability to “think before we speak” and we do this naturally. And I have this trait in spades. The ability to reflect and ponder and think things true is something an Introvert is born with. It is instinctive for any Introvert to draw back into their own mind when confronted with decisions, arguments and issues. And Introverts think with their fingers. They write their thoughts out, work well with diagrams, charts and images that reflect the ideas they have within their heads.

Doesn’t the above reflect the traits needed to be a Writer?

So if you feel that you are an Introvert, consider trying out writing as a means for you to communicate with the world.

Story for a friend.

I’m in the habit of writing short stories to illustrate what my thoughts are on a given subject. It is the character in my story that becomes my voice, some how speaking in the third person is a lot easier than speaking out straight.

I wrote a story for my friend Norhayati, when I was in Kuantan in April and she has posted it onto her blog. She had titled her post True Love according to Maclean Patrick. I am no expert on this matter of Love but those are my thoughts on the matter.

As a writer who writes on themes of love and hope and lost, people often asks me on Love. Some-how, people think that writers, who write about love and such; should have this profound answer that will encapsulate and dispel questions people have about love.

Unfortunately, I myself am going through a process of discovery and reflection. It is only because, I have the talent to put my thoughts into writing and to share these thoughts with mt readers that the idea of me (a simple writer) holds the answer to that age old question, “What is true love?”

All I can say is, the answer is not in gaining the answer. True love (most times) has to be lived out. If you still want to know what my answer is, then hop over to Norhayati’s blog and read True Love according to Maclean Patrick.

Mind your Prose – the voice in creative writing.

I often find myself telling those wishing to embark on creative writing to find their “voice” and often times they think it means to find their own style in writing. This is true to a certain degree because it is always good (or better) to have your own distinct style. But what I am referring to is something called Prose.

Prose comes from the Latin prosa which translates to “straight-forward”. Prose in creative writing points to the telling of the story. The narrative voice of the writer. The use of words, the structuring of words in a sentence and the conveying of ideas in the most straight forward of means.

To find your own unique prose or “voice”, take time to listen to how you converse with people. Take note of how you convey your point to those that you talk to. Listen to the use of your words and sentencing. The way you pause your sentence and stress a word or play down an emphasis. Now, take that and put it to paper. That is your prose, your voice in a literal setting.

It will take practice and the tussle between proper writing conventions and keeping your own distinct style will always linger in your mind. Yet, choose to stick to what makes you sound authentic as a writer.

Creative writing as oppose to technical or poetry is less formal. The fact that you can run away from formal conventions makes it creative.

Listen to your speech and adopt that as your prose, your voice as you put to words what dances upon the stage of your creative mind.

Motivation to work, it’s not about the money

I learnt something new today while reading through Lifehacker.com. After reading the below article, I have started to evaluate what has been keeping me doing the same job for the pass 11 years.

At a high level, SDT makes a simple claim:

“To be happy, your work must fulfill three universal psychological needs: autonomy,competence, and relatedness.”

In more detail…

  • Autonomy refers to control over how you fill your time. As Deci puts it, if you have a high degree of autonomy, then “you endorse [your] actions at the highest level of reflection.”
  • Competence refers to mastering unambiguously useful things. As the psychologist Robert White opines, in the wonderfully formal speak of the 1950s academic, humans have a “propensity to have an effect on the environment as well as to attain valued outcomes within it.”
  • Relatedness refers to a feeling of connection to others. As Deci pithily summarizes: “to love and care, and to be loved and cared for.”

Article:Beyond Passion: The Science of Loving What You Do

Only when I shift into my writing mode do I truly feel the presence of the three factors above. Does this mean I should consider quitting the job I am doing now to fully pursue a life of writing? I am really not sure, but it would really give me the chance to be autonomous. Yet, in Malaysia being a full-time writer does not pay the bills. It’s really a bummer.

I really do not want to be caught in the rut where I work for the money. Instead, I want to enjoy doing something that fires me up, which pays me well for that passion and allows me to be content with who I am (work-wise).

What motivates you to do your work?

In order to write, start writing.

A dear friend called me up and told me, she couldn’t seem to get into the “groove” for writing. There always seems to be a distraction that throws her off writing. I sympathize with her because she has come across something writers all over face.

The dreaded, “How to start writing?” or “I need the feel of writing” condition.

It’s not writer’s block, because you do have an idea of what you want to write and accomplish. Yet, how do you get into the “groove” or “feel” of writing.

Just start writing. Write. Anything. Just write anything that comes to mind. Pick up a piece of paper and write. Even if it’s a shopping list. Just write. Doodle if you need to but you need to jump-start the coordination between thought-fingers-words. You need to form that connection again.

This is why, in the lull between writing my books, I post blog entries (twice a day – when possible) or contribute articles to a news portal. The whole idea is to keep on writing something, even if it’s a short piece. I want to keep the connection between my mind-fingers-words constantly open and ever ready to produce sentences.

Of course you have to couple this with reading. Read as much as you can and then write and keep on writing on a regular basis.

This is the only way I can think off to jump back into the groove. The longer you have been out of the groove, the harder it seems. But the moment you are in the groove, you tend to stay there until you decide to slack and jump out of it.

So start writing my friend.

Constant writing even if it’s just computer code

I was meaning to write a few lines of my new book but my brain has decided that it has had enough of thinking and writing. I spent the morning, installing micro-sites for my organisation. It is so much quicker to work via SSH and after a few hours in cyber-space, the command lines have got the better of me. I feel tired and sickly. Yet, it is still writing.

I’ve always enjoyed, to a certain degree, writing code. There’s this attraction to being able to write concise command lines that accomplish all you want to do. Then there is the wonder of writing “pretty code” in programming. Neat and tidy and properly aligned code that just looks so pleasing to the eye.

Gosh, I’m falling asleep at my station. Well, nothing wrong with closing my eyes and allowing the Matrix to take over.

Writing is an adventure, a journey that takes you places; even if it means, you would be writing code no-one else ever gets to see. Yet, the results leave an impression with your readers or users, no matter what.

Cheers!