For those who dreaded the word “write” or even the thought of it, this may not be a suitable read for you. However if you were wondering what is there to talk about writing, I would encourage everyone and anyone to read this article, or at least try reading. Hopefully it may benefit you in some ways.
This article is not a guide on how to be a professional writer, not about styles and art of writing, not even any tips on good writing skills, and far from guiding you how to produce articles, stories, journals, novels and so on. Neither it is a guide that in any way can help you earn a living, nor by any means, tips on any particular perception of “proper writing”. However, what I’m trying to share is just some observation on the act of writing, which is an attempt to understand the relationship between you and the “act of writing”. It is where the view of writing is solely upon you, for yourself and about yourself. Most importantly, an understanding of yourself.
While some people may have difficulties in verbal expression, they are able to express their thoughts well through writing. Like otherwise, some may have good verbal communication skills but goes very bad on writing.
Have we ever try taking a look into ourselves, or observe how and what we are thinking all the time? Plenty of times we face differences or what I would say delusional form of opinions casted upon us. Either people who are close enough to us would understand us, otherwise the perceptions reflected upon us, may just go opposite against our actual feelings and thoughts. Yes, misunderstandings. However, if we try to take a look at what and how we write a message or an opinion, or how we conduct that act of writing, it can actually be a deep insight to a better understanding of ourselves.
The Conversations Within Us: Heart Versus Mind
Whenever we think, or even an act of attempt to think, we are actually communicating with our own selves. Usually two things will happen, conversing with the mind, and conversing with the heart, and sometimes, conversing with our senses. Most of the time these dialogues within us are about things that we observe or encounter with our senses. Be it through memories or experiences, we explore, investigate, calculate and try to learn and understand things, and many times, trying to find ways to address issues, solving problems or figuring answers. Even as simple as “what to do”.
Yes, millions of things we do in our mind. From as simple as trying to identify a colour, to as complex as planning to reform the whole kitchen. At times, we just follow what we feel in our heart, yet ignoring the logic and sensibility of the mind. Otherwise, we followed the science in our mind too much, and ignored any sense of empathy and compassion that lies quietly in the pit of the heart. Sometimes we got the heart and mind working together really well. Sometimes, both heart and mind quarreled and battled against each other, and drained your energy away through confusions and dilemmas. Sometimes, you need to isolate and prioritise each of them on their own accordingly, and righteously. As such, having needs and wants are 2 different things. Both may get along well, both may not.
Now let’s try doing some conversations within yourself. Before that, let’s find a subject that attracts you. It can be a person, a pet, a toy, any particular thing, or even an idea or situation. In this instant, let’s try a subject like “an idea of owning a cat”. Now we have to understand that an attraction to a subject is the first point of contact to initiate basic reasons on why would you like to associate yourself with that particular subject.
Let’s get hold of this subject and observe what you feel about it. Observe what kind of feelings or emotions evolve around this idea. Take this moment to have a conversation with your heart. Imagine and feel.
Next, let’s continue with the same subject, the cat, and observe on your thoughts about it. Observe what kind of conditions and factors to be taken on this undertaking. This should be a moment of conversing with your mind. Imagine and think.
Now try to focus on these two different conversations and try not to get confused. Which is which. If you’re able to do this, then try to find the differences between your feelings and your thoughts. Undeniably, confusions and conflicts will come in when sometimes you try thinking with your heart, and you try feeling with your mind. Which means, there are feelings in your heart, which will affect your thinking, and there are issues in the mind that will affect your feelings. Sometimes you think that you’re feeling the right thoughts, and sometimes you think that you’re thinking the right feelings. Confused? So what is the real conversation?
Sorting Out Your Conversations
Let’s sort things out. We have to come clean between what we feel and what we think. We have to be focused and isolate these two matters and not letting any bit of them to influence and affect each other. Each matter has to be purely on its own.
The conversations with your heart are the affairs of your feelings towards that subject. It usually contain factors or attributes that relate to you emotionally, a preference towards your personality, that can associate with your personal character or behaviour. So you might be imagining a beautiful white fluffy Persian cat, or an orange radiant Bengal cat or a cute adorable Siamese cat. A cat that you’d like to be greeted by when you reach home, or a cat that will stay by the side of your desk when you’re doing work, or a cat that will snug by your side when you’re in your quiet moments, or even an imagination of fun and joy playing with the cat.
Next, the conversations with your mind are the affairs of your thoughts towards that subject. It usually contains logical and practical response with much realistic condition that will reflect on your capability, responsibility and duty in handling the mechanics of the subject. So this will reflect more in the technicality and the credibility of owning a cat. You might be weighing considerations such as the cost of the cat, habitat, space and environment, your furniture, cat food and veterinary treatment. Or even communal involvement such as your other pets – fishes and birds, other cats and dogs in the neighborhood, and important matters like who will look after the cat when you’re away for a vacation.
So when you’re able to sort your conversations and eliminate confusions, you will then be able to differentiate. To differentiate your thoughts and feelings apart is actually to put control. Surely, there are matters that you can compromise, and there are those you have to put on a firm standing. Therefore to put control in matters of the heart and mind is about putting control upon oneself. To put control upon oneself is about understanding your own capacity, strengths and weaknesses, advantages and disadvantages of the situation, pros and cons of the idea, and make the best out of it. If it’s not the best, then at least a desirable or an appropriate decision will have to come about.
Well, this a just simple example, but things can get more complex and puzzling when there are more subjects involved at one time. More so, when you’re not the only one making decisions.
Let’s Get Those Conversations Written Down
Penning down all the thoughts and feelings about such subject of “owning a cat” or similar instances maybe a trivial matter to most of us. The idea of writing these “conversations” down, don’t usually occur as an instant habit, not even as a form of necessity, what more on being comfortable in writing about it. Such is a common behaviour except for maybe, jotting of simple little words or ideas, because usually we can handle all the thoughts without the need of writing them. Unless of course, there’s a serious concern or reason, or certain agenda which will require you to do much research, reading and writing, as much as it necessarily requires. If not, a short line or two posted in your social media platforms such as Facebook or Twitter is all you’d probably do.
But just let’s take a real try in writing those conversations down. You can start with simple words or ideas, point by point, then maybe some remarks and descriptions to develop on it. Surely, phrases and sentences will come in as well. And no, not using your digital note-taking apps, neither your smartphones, nor tablets, computers nor any form of digital writing device. Absolutely no typing or digital writing, except for the basic classic method of manual handwriting, which is a common practice in your school days. Yes, the pen and paper.
Using pen and paper in your work, is very much different from using it for yourself. You can say that, ah it’s not an issue to do this exercise, cause my job involves writing everyday. Yes, the nature of your job does help, but you have to remember, writing in your job is paid for. You’re paid for it because your job requires it to do so. But writing for yourself, you’ll receive absolutely nothing except for paying out part of you for doing it. Yes, you use up your own personal time, energy, space and materials putting into it. So for those who have been working for a decade or more, with jobs that don’t involve much writing or almost no writing, this can be quite a chore to try out.
So, take a pen and paper and write those conversations down. Keep the paper hanging around for some days or weeks within your sight. Maybe in the kitchen, or by the common table, or on your wardrobe or mirror. Over the time, that idea or the sight of paper may either slowly starting to disturb you, or starting to grow on you. You may have the temptation of putting it away, to throw it or even crush it. Or the ideas may grow, and you might add more notes or points, or even add another paper as an extension of thoughts. Until, you finally made a decision.
First, do not throw the paper away. Even after you have come to a final decision. Just put it or keep it somewhere safe and accessible. You might end up trying to look for the paper again, for some reasons later, you may like to add more ideas to the same subject, or you may want to share it to someone as reference, or after a while of discarding the idea, you might change your mind and take a look back with much more ideas. Second, (again) do not throw away those papers or notes. Keep it safe and accessible. Those written conversations of feelings, thoughts and studies are the blueprints of your decision. Decision that creates and cause changes in any part of your life.
Let’s move on to one or two years later, or longer, and let’s take out those notes again and have a good read. By then, what you’ll be reading are not mere notes anymore. You are actually reading a little piece of history of yourself. That little piece of history is the source that will lead you to understand what you went through, who you were then and what you are now. It is a reflection of the past, that dictates the present, and for you to make the next move to pave your future. This is where you’ll find clues, reasons and evidences of things that happen or caused to happen. You will travel back in time to observe the patterns of your life. Be it failure or success, sad or happy, boring responsibilities, exciting questions or puzzling thrills, and with all the conditions attached, they are stories in the history of you. These are your values. You’re a valuable piece of museum yourself.
From writing on loose papers as notes of thoughts, you may like to move on to a writing book to house more values of thoughts.
True Writing Begins in The Mind
If you’re writing the feelings of your heart, then your mind is a space to grow your emotional imagination to entertain your desires. And if you’re writing the thoughts of your mind, then your heart is a space of joy, fear or puzzles where your mind will wander. In actual fact, even your mind is helping out to write your feelings because the mind is the most sensible piece of instrument that works closely in justifying matters with human senses. When you’re in love with something but was restrained against it, it is the mind that justifies your actual feelings. And when you’re in love with something and achieve all odds towards it, it is also the mind that defines the state of your feelings. Or, when there’s unexpected ideas being whispered into your heart or mind, it is the mind that will first register its presence. Even a state of denial, is a fact established by the mind.
All these conversations, the thoughts and feelings within us are first-hand resources, which are actually being processed into “writings” of the mind. These “writings” are registrations of thoughts before its being translated into languages of speech through talking, scripts through physical writing or typing, and actions of the body to form gestures and movements. In this silent language, almost all ideas, observations, investigations, analysis, calculations, discussions, quarrels, agreements, happen in the mind before any physical transmission of message takes place. If there is a thought of war, it begins in the mind. If there is a thought for peace, it also begins in the mind. And all the freedom of thoughts could happen nowhere else except in the mind. It is in the mind where a civilization is built. The tongue, hands, pen and paper, keyboard and actions, come afterwards.
The Culture of Writing
There are many forms of culture of writing, but what is actually the true meaning or purpose of writing? While the art of writing is close-knitted to language, language of a speech and language of a script can be two separate matters. Practicing the art of writing might be perceived as one’s ability and fluency in understanding and handling literature styles such as poetry, stories, journals, reports, copywriting, scripts, dialogues, lyrics, transcriptions, and many other different forms. Another art of writing might also be perceived on its aesthetic visual forms, art of beautiful writing, calligraphy, hand-typography or art of scribing. So one is about the craft of content, and the other is about the craft of visuals. All these are the art of recording messages in both lingual and visual.
Regardless of all these, the art and culture of writing which involves the art and culture of reading will reflect the behaviour of a particular race, community or society. To be able to write is to be able to read. To be able to read is the first degree of intellectual function in using senses. To be able to read does not only resort to reading scripts or texts. To be able to read is also to be able to record or identify messages through sight and sound. Ultimately, to read is to capture visual messages and sound messages, or by any means in form of signals. And all these recordings are captured in the mind. Once our senses have verified, and the mind acknowledges and stores them, it becomes a memory.
While all these recordings of messages or information in forms of visuals and sounds, it does not last long in the mind or in the heart. It has to be passed on or transmitted out into a “permanent” form of recording by means of telling, or at best, writing. Not digital writing or typing, where you record it in a software or app, but here, we’re discussing about the classical bond of pen and paper. Materials that you can feel, by crafting letters and words, physically manifested out of your very own hands through these instruments. In the most authentic sense, not through digital social media, or electronic tools, which are dependent on stored energy like electrical powers and batteries. But, through the bond of pen, paper and yourself, that holds endless latent energy when combined.
In this context, using the pen and paper in an act of writing is actually a behavioural act of responsibility. To listen or to read and observe, then to register it in the mind and to understand, then to write and record it into a note or an account, is a responsible and respectful act of preserving an information into a “permanent state” of accessibility for the others. It is an act of serving oneself by serving that particular message, information or knowledge, thence an act of serving the society, and the future of mankind. In this true purpose of writing, it is the true art of pen and paper, that carves scriptures on walls marking civilisations, that moves histories from one place to another and equip the society with preservation of knowledge from generations to generations. It is a behaviour that defines a state of nobility of mankind. It is an act whereby no other creation can do except for us humans. An act of writing is an act of responsibility.
To read, to write, to understand. While reading and writing are two different skills, to understand is a form of intellectual skill dependent on the capability of the senses. While reading enable us to identify a language, writing enable us to transmit a message, and understanding enable us to utilize the language and its script.
Almost everyone can read, and people read all the time. We read books, news, signage, headlines, ticket prices, bus numbers, labels and brands, numbers, colors and everything. We read (watch) movies and televisions, we read (listen) to news and music, we read (smell) food and fragrance, we read (touch & feel) temperatures and conditions of things or environment, and we use them all the time at the same time. But not many of us write. Do we have to be writers to write? No, of course not. We can just be writers, as simple as for our own selves, and for our own lives.
At very basic, writing is about capturing information or messages with our senses and transmitting it into words. The act of writing itself requires work in processing of thoughts into words, and additionally pushing work into those hands to produce scripts. All these are the work of the mind. The more the mind is working, the better it gets at processing, and the stronger it’ll grow to be. In such, we are able to discover our own unique thinking capabilities. We are able to improve our own imagination, language and mental articulation. We are able to unlock so much discoveries, exposures and experiences of things. We are able to understand our sense of reasoning, and able to decipher and restructure ourselves. We can rebuild our broken state within and heal ourselves.
Simply said, we are able to understand ourselves, and our feelings and thoughts much better than we realize. We get to see and analyse our strengths and weaknesses, attitude and behavior, and make out our paths and visions. And with all these, we get to realize the science and purpose of our existence, and upon existence itself.
How Do I Start Writing, And What Do I Write, What Shall I Do?
There are things that you may want to consider to perform your act of writing. Like any other activities, conducive measures such as certain form of condition, ambience, atmosphere, or environment maybe an important contribution for you to execute writing comfortably.
Usually, it is a space of silence and solitude, with preferred elements of comfort that contributes best. It could be a well-conditioned room, with gentle yet bright lighting, comfortable writing table and chair, and probably with cushions, and coffee with biscuits or bread to go along with. Or, a simple solemn corner in the kitchen with some tea. Or, a quiet cafe in a colorful neighborhood that suits your personality. Or it can be your very own working office, either as early before everyone arrives, or later when all your colleagues have gone home. It can also be some corners of a park with greeneries to sooth your mind. Simply said, a condition where you can write and rewrite your thoughts before it goes on to the pen and paper. A form of delight only you can feel.
So much for all these, you can even ignore these ideas, and just grab a pen and a pocket notebook, you can just write your mind and feelings off at anywhere in anyway you want. No rules are necessary, and with or without reasons, if there’s a desire to write, simply just write.
If you’re totally new to the world of writing, we have some ideas down the list here. We’ll start from something simple and easy, and you may progress accordingly, or jump through these ideas around to whichever that suits you best. Again, no rules here, you can modify or amend these ideas to suit your style and comfort, and just write.
A logbook, a pocket book, or a mini notebook or pad is a good way to start. Don’t log in about your work, but log in about your day. Log in about your life. Start with a date, followed by time, and things that you do or encounter. Things that caught your senses. You may write simple things like these:
“0935hrs, stuck with wonderful pancakes at a new shop – Bella Cafe, late for work.
1240hrs, packed lunch in the office, unfinished work reviews, hate paperwork.
1720hrs, bumped into Steven along the alley, been 3 years, should catch up for coffee.
1905hrs, tried new spaghetti recipe, Linda finished my cheese.”
It can be simpler, or more elaborate, or few words that can represent your memory.
Surely, you’ll find some special things worth noting. It can be some ideas, a phrase, a quote or a description to be noted of. Don’t just leave it linger in your mind. Write it down, a short line or two, with important points to remember. For instance:
“Going green on the walls, for a relaxing ambience. Lime green, apple green, spring green? Check with Haley’s Garden store. And also rustic hanging pots.”
“Sometimes, one has to go against the flow, in order to go with the flow. – Khyzer.”
You don’t have to write everyday, but it’ll be great if you can. Sometimes, you’d like to ponder your thoughts a little further. Writing short paragraphs is a good way to release things that have been clogging your mind.
“Kiki is probably almost one-year old teenage cat now. But for such a lovely handsome cat, he is just so brave and loyal. So polite, respectful and courteous. So human. Wonder what kind of parents he’s from. He’ll never make any noise begging for food, but he’ll just stay by the kitchen quietly with patience. He’ll stay guarding by the car porch all night, hissing and growling against the neighborhood hooligan-cats. And he’s not afraid of water and enjoyed warm shower always…”
Once in a while, poetry is fun too. It can be anything emotional, intellectual, intriguing or even random rants of the mind. Oh, no perfect grammar is necessary. You’ll improve as you write more.
“The sky is all quiet an red
The wind howling gently in a distance
A memory from last October appeared
The same red sky and the same red dress
The very same words
Appeared in a letter today.”
Writing down your thoughts and ideas is a good way of articulating speech of the mind, and a good check on your feelings too. The more you ponder with desires in putting them into words, the more you will think, more new words to look out for, better sentences to compose, better arrangement of thoughts, more angles to analyze, more perspectives to watch out for, more details to investigate, indirectly you are developing a comprehensive study or research on that particular subject of thought or idea. And you will look for your own mistakes and you will try to correct them, if not, you will have to try to rationalize your own preferences. You’ll try to find proper reasons to support yourself or even to go against yourself. You’re a scholar of your own, building your own civilization here.
Naturally, once you’ve got comfortable with writing, there are plenty of memorable encounters to write about. It could be about your neighbour’s cute rabbit, the paper-man at the corner of the street, planning a birthday surprise on your best friend, getting lost in your vacation trip, or any form of adventures or details that create affections on your senses. It can be short stories, long stories or even a series. You’re filming your own stories of life.
Inevitably, accounts of interests are the easiest things to begin about your writing. These can be the most common conversations in your mind or heart. Things that you like, things that you’ve been doing, things that you’re looking for, things that you’re constantly puzzled with, things that you’re worried or afraid of, and so much more in this life that attract and affect your senses. It can be food, fashion, music, or hobbies like photography, guitar, dancing, fishing, nature trekking, or even sports, histories, politics, sciences of things and many more.
If you can draw, it’ll just spice up your writing notes or accounts even more. Good drawing skills is not necessary, but simple illustration of thoughts like using stick-man doodling can make your pages a fruitful world to look at. If your drawing gets better, the more it’ll complement your writings. Sometimes you may even write less, where a picture is worth more than a thousand words.
The Empty Page Begins With An Empty Mind
Before you reach out to an empty page to begin with, there are probably hundreds of things swarming in your mind and at the same time, tickling and pinching your heart over variety of emotional matters and life issues. Before you start writing, it is best to clear your mind and empty your thoughts and any possible emotional issues. Then, pick back the thought that is most desirable to write about. Slowly, trace all the resources related to the subject, organize its connection and priorities, and set out a clear intent to have your pen to begin with. It is an art of focus.
If you look back at what you write, it will reflect on your movement of thoughts, state of condition and situation you were at that point of writing. The style of language will reflect your mental and emotional behaviour, which may not usually tally with your physical behaviour. You may be fuming in anger, drown in sadness, elated with happiness, floating in love or even lost in confusion. But your physical behaviour may just behave the opposite. It is a state where no one knows until they read this writing of yours. And it is a state that you may not realize until you flip back the pages and read your past writings, which may be at times, born out of impulse or state of haste. And in such, you may discover unfortunate false thoughts of things that you may have overlooked or misjudged. Reading your past writings may trigger some discomforts, but good or bad, you are fortunate to have an account to check on yourself, about yourself, within yourself. You learn to calm your conditions down. You learn to embrace yourself to yourself.
To begin writing with an empty mind is a good way to focus oneself into a single line of thought. It is a way of disciplining the matters of the mind and heart. It is about analyzing and organizing the mess of your encounters, discoveries, exposures, interests, issues and conflicts, all within your very own self. So when you write, your content should appear objectively, focusing on the main thoughts, ideas or feelings, weighing positive and negative issues equally, neutralizing emotional issues with wisdom, and most importantly, harmonizing yourself with the subject you’re writing about. In such, you’re attempting to create a balance within yourself, even if the account is finished as an unanswerable question.
Writing, A Way To Look At Life
Finally, thank you for sparing your mind reading through this all the way. Upon this, I hope to fill people with encouragement to move onward with the spirit of writing. Well, you don’t have to start immediately, but instead, keep it easy, find a nice pen and a writing book (for yourself only), and just keep them by your company. Yes, at all times.
Remember, you don’t have to possess fluency in language and literature, neither good grammar skills to write. If your language is as simple and basic as children’s language, so be it. If you can doodle, that’s great. You can start to doodle some imagination, or a representation of yourself to start with, add some notes, give yourself a special new name, or just throw a word or two that speak your mood. Have fun in discovery things the way you usually look at. Then look at your thought again, and look at your writing again. Is it really what you think it is?
How much truth in this world can we really handle? Is the truth about you a real truth? Writing is about cultivating honesty within oneself. Even writing fantasies or fictions, the imagination used evolves from honest ideas or feelings to begin with. Even your state of denial is a form of truth resulted from circumstances that brings about it. However, embracing your true honest self as sincere as possible is a way of purifying yourself. In such, it is a form of respect you’re giving to yourself for existing in this state of life. You deserve your own respect.
Writing is sharing. The values of thoughts and feelings, that you’ve developed within is being shared to your pen and paper. You’re concerned with the affairs and conditions of your mind and heart. And sharing is caring. It’s an act of care about your own self. All the details and matters in your writing, just shows that you’re caring about the others too, be it living things or not. Even if you’re writing about something you hate, you still have a heart to write about it. You share what you care in this state of existence through writing. It is a therapy. You will grow into a caring being. And caring is love. You’ll have love for life, your life. And love for the others too.
Well, in this article, I trust my thoughts and feelings about writing, so much that I truly hope, those who read this will gain much benefit and be a better person than me. It’s not about producing good writing, but most importantly, the goodness that the act of writing can give. The pen and paper are your loyal personal secretaries and probably could be the best quiet companion. These loyal instruments follow you around; be wherever you put them to be, receive all the energy of thoughts that you’ve poured out to them, be it negative or positive. If they betray you, it’s in your mind where betrayal begins. If they love you, they’ll remain being what they are until the ink runs dry. And all they do is just preserving the history of you.
So get hold of a pair of new companion, yes your pen and paper. Have a good journey exploring the world of your mind. The mind is your throne of control. And writing, is the way of the mind.