The art of blogging is still alive

Some time ago, I read somewhere that blogs were dead. Online communication has mutated in such way that this kind of platform is no longer relevant. At least not as relevant as it “used to be.”

I disagree with that idea. Blogs are still very much alive. They’re the window to a person’s mind and creative crafts. It’s a platform where someone can introduce themselves to the online world without any editorial guidelines.

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Finding the light in times of darkness

The past few months have been really challenging for the world. At a personal level, the shock of living in times of a pandemic has impacted me in ways I never imagined.

As confinement began, it became clear to me that it’d be important to take breaks from information to protect my mental health. It was overwhelming to read so many articles related to economies collapsing, layoffs and increasing number of of COVID cases.

I remember reading a headline that suggested that the world would never be the same again. It was scary to think about that possibility. Nowadays, the term “new normal” starts to be more common. It’s difficult to imagine how the aftermath is going to look like for each one of us. Even when COVID goes away, the collateral damage will still be around in our personal lives.

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On Patience

I love the quotes that I find on Twitter. I’ve shared a few here before, and today, it’s not going to be the exception.

This is the first time that I think of patience as a form of action. To me, it has always meant sitting still while waiting for life to happen. When I read that quote, my perception suddenly changed. It didn’t take long to convince myself that patience is motion.

In my student years in journalism school, I remember interviewing a young lady about entrepreneurship and making a living out of art. One idea that stood out for me in that conversation was taking “baby steps” when working on any creative craft. Great accomplishments are the sum of all efforts made one day at a time. It’s the repetition of small actions on a daily basis.

I also thought of the time I took swimming lessons. The instructor quickly sensed how frustrated I got when I tried different strokes and my body didn’t respond the way I wanted it to. His words still resonate even today: “you have to be patient with yourself.” It’s a matter of changing a mindset or breaking a habit, and these actions need constant repetition; one day at a time.

So when someone says “be patient”, that actually means “work on something and go step by step. You’ll get there.”

How do you view patience?

Unlearn what you know

The other day I saw someone on Twitter asking about the rules to write poetry. While there must be great pointers to get started, I think it’s valid to go with your own instinct. Being unaware of any ‘rules’ allows you to figure out your own techniques.

If you did learn how to do something, unlearning is a good idea to fuel your creativity. I’m thinking of Austin Kleon and his blind contour drawings, where he’s drawing a self portrait without looking at the page. He’s drawn his own cartoons for years, but this time, he’s trying something completely different. To me, he’s unlearning to rediscover his craft.

I remember my days on the basketball team when I was in high school. Sometimes, our coach changed our routine to learn new moves. That’s when we played volleyball or soccer to gain other physical or mental abilities to apply on the basketball court. It was also refreshing to switch to a different sport from time to time.

Sometimes, it’s healthy to forget about ‘the way things should be’ to leave room for exploration and playfulness.

If you had to unlearn your craft again, how would you do it?

 

Journals for thoughts, journals for life

Sometimes, your thoughts can’t stay in your mind all the time.

Sometimes, it’s a good idea to talk to someone you trust. We all need to rant from time to time to get rid of all the things we’ve kept to ourselves.

Other times, thoughts are so private that it’s hard to share them with someone or in a blog. That’s when journals come to the rescue. I’ve been journaling for 23 years, and even when it seems that I’ve lost the habit of composing my private notes, I retake it, and my mind finds peace again.

There’s a place where the world can’t reach you and judge you: the pages of a journal. I find that introspection is therapy for the soul. When you write down your emotions and thoughts as you feel them or as you mean them, you create a new self. You get rid of all mental blocks and think clearly.

You’ll be surprised of all the answers you can find in your own words. You can be as bold as you like, and no one will be offended.

If you manage to maintain this habit for years, it’s useful to read past entries from time to time to remind yourself how you overcame tough situations. You can also remind yourself what things made you happy at a certain point and retake them.

What do you think?

 

Opinions that matter

The other day, I came across this post on Twitter:

This short video contains a piece of advice that is truly thought-provoking. Whose opinions really matter to you? The idea of making a list is brand new to me. I have never considered an initiative like this, and now I see great value in it.

There’s always a small group of people you trust. Whenever you are working on new ideas, you ask them what they think, and you find their feedback useful. You respect them, and they respect you. There’s a reason why their opinions matter.

In a digital world, where anyone can criticize your work mercilessly, you have to learn who to listen to. Not all opinions matter. It’s unfair to let trolls influence your every move and your every thought.

Those whom you trust are the ones that can offer you solid comments. You know you can only expect honesty from them. Listen to them and nurture meaningful conversations.

If you were to start that list right now, how many names would there be on it?

First drafts are for your eyes only

For some reason, the other day I woke up with this song playing in my head:

This song reminds me of my childhood. My parents tuned in the radio quiet often, and this song would be playing. Back then, I didn’t pay attention to the lyrics, but now I can really feel it has a powerful message.

Sing a song (…) don’t worry if it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear. Just sing. Sing a song.

I feel the same thing happens when writing. You compose a story, and then you wonder if it’s good enough. However, the first draft is for your eyes only. Nobody else is reading it or judging you. All you need to do is write and edit later on.

As long as it all comes from the heart, the next improvements will follow. That’s what the song says to me. What does it say to you?

Confronting Fears: What if your loved ones disapprove the stories you tell through your art?

Your art is personal and intimate. It feels safe to keep it for your eyes only.

However, the time comes when your work urges to reach the public light. How will others receive it?

What will your family and loved ones think about your creations? What if they are your harshest judges?

It’s natural to have these questions in your head. It’s natural to be scared of reactions from people who know you so well. Famous artists, at some point, went through the same situation. Dave Gahan, lead singer of Depeche mode, came to mind. As the band gained more popularity in the 80s, Dave didn’t want his mom to see him on stage singing and dancing. One day, Mrs. Gahan went to a concert and saw his act. She seemed to have mixed feelings.

Whether she liked it or not, that was Dave being himself. I guess they made peace regardless of any confrontations. His dancing style didn’t change over the years. Here’s proof.

So, the art you create might not delight your family or loved ones, and that’s okay. They may not be your audience, but you will find it. There’s always public for anything and everything. Your priority as a creator is producing quality work and improve yourself.

Meet your own expectations and take pride in your accomplishments. Your family and friends will always love you for who you are.

Working one day at a time, and writing one word at a time

Some people are able to write 10,000 words a day. I’ve always thought that’s impressive, and I’m really happy they can reach a high word count. At the same time, I also think it’s fair to say that this goal is not for everyone. That’s okay.

Each writer sets different standards and, therefore, different goals.

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Somebody’s dream: that’s how everything starts

Today I want to share a few things that have been on my mind lately.

The clothes you are wearing, the products you consume were once somebody’s dream. That dream came true through the use you give them.

The notebooks or journals you write on are the result of somebody’s effort to design them and put them in stores. It was their dream that you would buy them.

The books you read and re-read existed in a writer’s imagination first. The author dreamed to publish his/her work, and it reached you at some point.

Ordinary people started writing songs in their rooms or composing melodies in their garages with friends. Eventually, they became your favourite singers/bands. It was their dream to go on stage and perform for you.

You sit and write everyday to publish your book someday. You share pieces of yourself here and there to show your work. You don’t know what the result will be, but you have a dream, and it’s important to believe in it.

Life is made of dreams that can come true.