…this is the start of a writing journey, and it would only make sense for this first issue to be about the act of writing itself.
Firstly, a bit of personal backstory. I had been thinking about publishing my own writing online for a long time. I started at some point during my later school years, when my biggest dream was to become a writer, and the fastest way towards that seemed to be to start a blog and publish my early attempts at literature. This attempt was very short-lived due to my lack of experience with both what writing literature, and blogging meant. In short, I had never been able to find the right shape and form in which to publish my thoughts in free writing. That is, until now, at this very moment.
While preparing this first issue, I’ve been thinking more closely about the effects and benefits of writing. I’ve been asking myself questions like ‘Why would you write?’ and ‘What value does this bring to your life?’. I’ve realised more about myself and why I want to write in the process, and I’ve come up with quite a few reasons why anyone might in fact want to start some form of regular writing:
In this day and age, we all write – or type, for that matter – at least a little every day to check up on our friends, talk to family, search for directions, or surf the web. Whether we ask a knowledgeable friend, or we google the question instead, we’re interacting and communicating in written form every day of our lives. Imagine how the world would look like without it… well, you can’t really, because we would probably not have been any different from ordinary mammals. Some of the most important breakthroughs of humanity were made thanks to this uniquely productive ability to communicate through articulate language: from the Akkadian cuneiform script, to Hammurabi’s codex, to the Egyptian hieroglyphs, to the invention of the various modern alphabets, and later the printing press (15th century) and half a millennium later the internet spreading written word to more people than ever before. The progress of humankind has been made possible by this very ability to speak and write and thus form large groups in order to work towards and achieve common goals. Communication is key, and written communication is making it all stick and survive the darkness of oblivion.
As an outlet for creativity, writing fiction is probably one of the best means of expression, alongside music and painting. That is, provided you possess a mastery of language and thorough knowledge about what makes a story a good story based on extensive readings. I don’t know about you, but whenever I tried my hand at a bit of fiction (I am a student of languages and literature after all), I found the task too daunting to continue. But if you are starting out with fiction and it’s working for you, see the quotes section below for some more encouragement from Hemingway!
Recently, I’ve found out about the benefits of daily journaling (from Matt D’Avella and Andrew Kirby, most notably). Free-form, stream of consciousness journaling is supposed to help track your daily growth, confront issues that you otherwise wouldn’t and get a grasp over the big picture of your life. The type of daily journaling that I have done the most has been bullet journaling in order to keep track of my daily tasks. I really can’t imagine how I could have got through university without properly planning my weeks and days, because there are simply too many activities to balance. The task of remembering to do everything without writing it down would just be too stressful without a clear plan. And also, if you have the option of writing it all down, why would you put that burden on your mind? There are other, more important things that deserve that mind-space.
Last but not least, sitting down to write (whether it’s at your desk, in a park, or a coffee house) means taking a step back from activity and reflecting on what you’re about to poor over the (digital) paper. To me, it feels like allowing your brain some space to breathe freely. And then the writing itself can be an act of reflection, as in the case of a diary, where you reflect back on the day.
The beauty of writing freely for this newsletter is that it fulfils many of the above roles for me: in order to be able to write this newsletter every week from now on, I will have to be more receptive towards new ideas throughout the week, read more, and take more time to reflect; it will fulfil my need to express my thoughts freely and creatively in writing, which I rarely find the time to do otherwise (lest you count my inconsistent diary entries); and I communicate it all to you, my dear readers, whom I thank from the bottom of my heart for being here and bearing with my lengthy stream of thoughts.
Have a fantastic week!
P.S. Below are some interesting ideas that I came across over the past few days, and this section will be dedicated to sharing insightful bits with you every week.
Favourite Ideas This Week
- Podcast – A couple of days ago, I started listening to the Tim Ferriss Show podcast. It’s been on my listening radar for a while and I’ve even been surprised to find more in it than tools for success. There’s this new series called ‘Books I’ve Loved’ that he is doing, and episode #436 with Maria Popova and Tyler Cowen really made me rediscover the value in reading fiction. It’s well worth a listen!
- Blog – In order to write, you have to read, and if you’re looking for more ideas on what to read, there is hardly a better place to look than Maria Popova’s blog BrainPickings. (Also, her book recommendations in that episode of The Tim Ferriss Show were brilliant.) Take a look!
- Book – I’ve been reading Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker over the past week and it’s completely changing the way I think about sleep. I used to regard it as a waste of hours that I could be productive in, but there are so many useful and necessary processes that your brain goes through while sleeping. Plus, the psychical and physical effects of losing sleep are devastating! The definitely recommend the entire book.