To my fellow newbie writers-July noted - August matters
Whew, what a ride it has been, July noted! I am sure we will meet again in 11 months.
The month of July 2018 came and went and with its hurrah, my first-ever writing challenge “July noted” came and went too, very fast I might add.
Today is the first day of August and I am here at a coffee shop (out of office, today) wrapping up my challenge. The immediate questions that came to my mind are “What did I learn from July noted?”, “Is four posts out of aimed thirty a bad ratio?” and “What will be the name of the August writing challenge since August noted will not work?”. My meta challenge partner Aminzul is on her way to meet me here, so while I wait, I’ll try answering my immediate questions now.
What did I learn from the July writing challenge?
I did learn quite a number of things in the felt-short month of July. Some of them are related to writing and some, not. Here is a list of my July discoveries on writing:
Drafting is extremely easy. Even writing a few paragraphs on a well-meditated or seemingly well-researched topic is a straightforward process, just write your previously-formed thoughts down, yeah? Compared to drafting and writing a few paragraphs, finishing what you have written so far is not at all simple. I drafted ten stories, excluding this one, during July and finished only four of them. Each of my finished stories is either relatively well-meditated or relatively well-researched compared to the ones that still lay in my drafts.
You have to balance between keeping your writing quality and speed. It felt like if I focused too much on one of quality and speed, I would lose sight of the other one. If I focus on quality of my writing to draft and draft again, nothing will get out of my hand. On the other side, if I focus too much on writing daily, I will be publishing nonsense for the whole month. Currently, there is no denying that I have none of these two, quality and speed. But I believe that, in time and after lots of practice, I will improve in both aspects. The key to improve optimally, for me, seemed to be the prioritization of these two, quality and speed. By weighing them, I came to conclude that speed comes first in my case of early-stage writing. From now on, I will try to write quickly with long-term goal to be able to produce high-quality pieces in shorter amount of time. It means that I will draft all of my ideas down as usual, but I will work on the immediate ones firstly and work on the other ones that require more time and research in the background.
Writing feels like meditating — but with thrice the effort at once. Why? I came up with a metaphor or two for writing some time ago. We, as writers and as readers, are cameras with flashlight always turned on and camera filters always attached. Topics, ideas, and whatever that is being written are objects to be illuminated by the flashlight of the writer camera and then to be captured by the reader camera with its filter. When you write, you have to meditate about your topic — the object, your bias — the flashlight and your audience’s bias — the camera filters. Thus, thrice the effort.
Academic type of writing is totally different from creative type of writing. During the last month, I dedicated about ten days of my time to writing a single post that is in more formal language than all of my previous posts. I will go on and say that the mentioned post is in an academic type of writing. In my limited experience, it is as close as it got to academic writing. When I and my project-partner Yanjinlkham were drafting the post, we had no difficulty in coming up with who, why and what to write, and instead we focused on how, where and when to write. We were the who — long-time friends turned into project-partners this time, no identity crisis here. We had questions to find answers to and we were extremely curious about the outcome of our project. Once we got the glimpse of the outcome, we wanted other curious people to know about our small findings too, that’s our why! As for our what, since we followed empirical method for the project, documenting our whole process exactly as it happened was the rule. What concerned us the most were how should we present our findings in an interesting and simple way, where should we put our report on and when should we document our experiments as the experiments took most of our time. On the other hand, in my experimental writings at least, who, why and what are the negotiable variables while how, where and when are the hard-set ones. How — by following the Challenge, Document, Distribute principle; where — on Medium, through this very channel; when — as quickly as I can write. Who — depends on what writer bias I choose for myself; why — depends on what reader bias I aim towards; what —depends on the object. Thus, academic type of writing differs greatly from creative type of writing, in my case.
Start a diary, now! As an early adult who never stuck to diaries during her childhood, I am starting to realize the benefit and the power of diaries only now. But, never too late to start they say, maybe these blogging and writing challenges are my way of making up for unwritten diaries as a child. My friends who kept and continued to keep diaries seem to have some distinct qualities, including high self-awareness, habit of constantly writing and less embarrassment of their writings. Each of the mentioned qualities is very precious and equally necessary for a writer in my opinion. So, start a diary if you do not have one, right now!
Is 4/30 a bad ratio?
It is a small ratio, but it is not a bad ratio. Not that a ratio, a number, holds any significant sentiment without context. In the context of my challenge performance, it’s a bad ratio with only about 13% of the goal is reached. In the context of my improvement, I outperformed my January, February, March, April, May and June results, combined, in only July. So with these in mind, I will keep on trying to write quickly with quality content in order to eventually reach the optimal ratio for myself.
What will be the name of the August writing challenge since August noted will not work?
If you are interested in why August noted will not work — read on here to see what July noted meant in the first place. This being said, moving on to the August matters. Well, “August matters”, indeed — we found the name. As for the rules, it stays the same with CDD (Challenge, Document, Distribute) principle and it belongs to the meta challenge, Human Condition, in the blogger/writer category.
Many thanks to Aminzul for keeping me going through these challenging moments of my life 🙏
I would also like to invite: Irene for the Human Condition challenge (as a kanosu, plastic-free hippie and more);
Yanjinlkham for the writing challenge August matters (as a poet) and for the Human Condition challenge (as an artist and more);
Lkhamsuren for the writing challenge August matters (as a blogger) and for the Human Condition challenge (as an entrepreneur and more);
Tumurtogtokh akh for the writing challenge August matters (as a blogger).
If you are interested, please let me know so I can discuss about August matters, Human Condition and more concepts with you.