Monday, February 9, 2009

Basic Writing Strategies

Last night I watched a video on writing strategies that I borrowed from the library. The video is actually for children to help them in their writing assignments. The video offered a lot of good techniques to write which may seem common sense to older folks. But it was good for me to get back to the basics. I realized that I did not have a formal writing lesson except for the basic writing lessons taught at elementary school. I remember my first creative writing experience in grade school when I was in the 5th or 6th grade I think. I wrote a short story on a James Bond like character for the school magazine. Since then I did not have any opportunity to practice my creative writing skills.

My writing experience has been for reports, essays, technical documents and user manuals. The bulk of my writing experience was on diary or journal writing and now blogging. Now that I am more serious in having a writing career, I have been reading a lot about the craft of writing, listening to audio books and watching video's on writing. I now realize how naive my thinking was and I realize that I am just driven to the write because of the joy I feel in writing. The joy and thrill of writing drives me to move forward to write as much as I can and the only venue I have is journal writing with myself and my experience as the sole topic of writing. Recently I have seen how blogs can be used to explore other types or writing like online journalism.

So I guess my skill is more on expressing myself though I have blocks in my actual workplace when I try to communicate. But I think these blocks are caused by second-guessing which results in misunderstanding. Also perhaps in a low self esteem so I enrolled in a Toastmaster program to give me more confidence in public speaking and expressing myself. I believe I have crested a wave and gone further up in my quest to be a writer. All these recent studies on the craft of writing has given me more insight although I still lack the relevant skills and confidence to be one. I spent a lot of time reading about the psychology to be a writer and I know at an intellectual level the ins and outs of being a novelist. My goal is to have gained all the needed knowledge so I can actually practice to be a novelist when I transfer to my new location.

Last Saturday morning I attended a seminar on the market outlook in 2009. It was a good seminar which talked about the crises as well the some predictions in the currency and stock markets. It was a good session which increase my financial literacy. I think the way to increase one's knowledge is to know about the general situation or framework and then the actual details on how to utilize the knowledge, the nuts and bolts. For currency trading, attending these seminars helps in understanding the general overview and using their free tools allow me to practice and learn about the details. Similar to writing, I think I now have the general overview and I am now finding about the details - the HOW question that needs to be answered.

Knowing about things require some time before the idea settles into one's mind. How to utilize this new knowledge is the challenge that people often cannot link to. For example, blogging for me was a tool to express my self but I think there are other ways to improve my skills, for example using Amazon to write about books, Helium to contribute articles and so on. My blogs often speak about books and other general topics which can be better channeled to other sites which appreciate that type of effort. I think that I need to re-frame my blogging into some sort of investigative journalism type of blog to be more interesting. Otherwise, blogs would be unfocused and rambling:)
I am reading an excellent book about 'Crowd Sourcing' and I think this type of tool has a good potential for making it big. Sites like Face book utilize the core concept but needs to expand further to benefit more although the elections of the US president is one significant achievement. Maybe this is one feature that can be explored in blogs but not in a manner like Innocentive. Maybe some sort of polling feature where people could send their opinions on something. Similar to the polls done in CNN. Maybe that is the future of blogging where will elevate itself from a tool of self-expression with new ways of getting feedback and crowd sourcing ideas.

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