Things I've Tagged ‘Writing’

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I’ve Reached 300 Posts

In the beginning of the blogging craze, circa the beginning of the previous decade, I eschewed the blogging trend–didn’t want to do what the cool kids were doing, and never understood it. Why would anyone want to read the writings of some stupid person–writings that were likely to be full of personal nonsense? Self-congratulating lunacy.

Well, wouldn’t you know, but for some damned reason, I started blogging. I think it had more to do with wanting to just write than anything, and I think my random posts and interests are enough evidence of that fact.

This is a great book on history by the way. If you’re looking for a broad brush, this is it.

No one in their right mind would want to flounder about this site in search of anything interesting. I mean, I talk about politics, history, economics–without an expert’s knowledge of these things–and occasionally discuss my daily work of php, JavaScript, and web design. Hell, I’m reading A Penguin History of the World, by J.M. Roberts for Chrisakes–that makes me a very boring guy.

300 posts in roughly 2 years–not bad, could have been more. But it could have been less as well. Only thing I regret–not a lot of discussion taking place. Perhaps it’s because my blog is a little schizophrenic.

Now I’m off to conquer social media–seeing as how I’ve brushed it off in the same way as blogging.

A Pleasent Fiction of Rich and Poor

“You know Marcus, a person can be rich in more than one way,” my old uncle used to spit, with that knowing little impish smile. You know what I say? Only poor fools like that sort of talk. Makes them feel like they have something too–when in fact the haves know everyone else, well, has not.

Hell, it makes me feel good…I’m rich in feeling good. But how good can you feel when you’re dirt poor? You can’t live that way and be happy. No. Fucking. Way.

They would have you believing that the poor person is happier, friendlier, and more noble than any rich person could ever be. The rich person is far too greedy to care about the greater community; he wouldn’t stop for a second to help a guy out. He wouldn’t stop to pick up a dime–it’s not worth the time they say. Well, chief, what about the statistic that 73.3% of donations1 made come from individuals that earn roughly $500,000 or more? You ever hear that one? And whatever’s left comes from the rest of us bums earning a paltry sum.

All I’m saying is, a small percentage of people even approach that bracket, yet they seem pretty damn philanthropic to me; hell, they’re living well and helping others, only making themselves feel even better. They must have happiness issues. Tax breaks for philanthropy don’t explain it.

You tell me. What do you think? Are the rich simply hoarding and making life harder for us regular, normal folk? Is it time to revolt against the rich classes?

Hell no.

What good will that do? There will always be a class of people that have what we do not. Even in that bullshit utopian, communist dream, the party is rich and extravagant, while the people generally suffer the consequences of central planning.

Look, the rich do a great job of distributing their wealth without government interference, so why press it? Because envy is on their minds.

Can’t make anyone happy.

  1. 93.4% of all statistics are made up.

Cross posted at Minor Speculum.

Getting Motivated to Start Something New

Is it the start of a new year that often gets you thinking about what made you so disappointed with your efforts last year, or is it simple pessimism? Because I’ve found myself not only reinventing my branding and website in an effort to clean out the cob webs of creativity, but writing many posts relating to said motivation, writing, and goals for the year. Not that this is necessarily an unusual or unwanted thing; it serves to get me moving and motivated for the year. It helps give me a renewed sense of purpose in my design efforts, though I still have procrastination issues.1

Believe me, most tasks I undertake are neither difficult, nor do they warrant such a reaction,2 but I find myself a little terrified of starting something that could become overwhelming. In order to move past that nasty procrastination stage, and arrive at an appropriately acceptable result, I employ a couple of simple strategies that makes the given task a little less daunting.

Find a mitigating factor. In the case of getting projects started at work, I often need to find something that helps to lessen the impact of a larger task. In most circumstances that means finding a solution that makes the project easier to finish by speeding up the menial tasks; often I’ll see if there is a way to use php to my advantage by setting up a little script to run through a file, file names, or output some code that would have taken me quite some time to do manually. In other cases, I’ll take advantage of actions and batch processing in Photoshop in order to run through a long list of images in the shortest amount of time, with the least amount of manual processing possible.

Delegate tasks efficiently. Which tasks are of the need-to-do-now variety and which are less important? In a lot of cases I tend to block early sections of my day for the easy to do tasks in order to get them done, as well as to do something that requires less concentration in general, and devote the rest of the day to one or two of the more important projects on the docket. This doesn’t always work well and may not be what others recommend, but it helps me to work through tasks efficiently as well as to prepare myself mentally for the most important project; I do break this pattern if important projects are more urgent than usual. The reason I adopted this pattern was primarily as a way to deal with early morning meetings, as meetings would often interrupt my creative flow on the larger projects.3

Look on the bright side. You could always be doing something less fulfilling than what it is you are getting ready to start. I’ve not written much in the past year as far as short stories, editorials, poetry, and web design posts go, and this is because I lacked the motivation to do so. Why? Because I don’t always appreciate my skill and look pessimistically at my ideas. Don’t emulate that. Look for the good in your ideas, and you’ll be less likely to put them aside.

Make your goals public. It’s more difficult to slack off when others are holding you accountable, though it is easy to cheat that one if you’re doing it online only. Make the announcement on your blog, but make sure you’ve got a living person breathing down your neck to make sure you’re completing a task.

To summarize. You should find a mitigating factor, delegate tasks efficiently, look on the bright side, and make your goals public in order to make sure you get yourself motivated. As I said, these are simple things that I’ve done to motivate myself, and they work for me; which means, they may not work for you; which means…that you should think of things that help to motivate you, write about it, and act on it. Get to work, and hold yourself accountable to your goals.

  1. I find myself putting things off quite a bit. Mostly out of fear of the task rather than shear laziness, but neither excuse is good because once I start a task I generally do it quite well.
  2. We’re talking simple things, writing, working on new projects at work, nothing intensive.
  3. Not that I have to participate in a ton of meetings, this pattern just made it easier to deal with the days that included morning meetings.

Writing & Why I’m Probably Not Good At It

My only concern with my goal for this year, writing at least one piece for this blog every week, is that I don’t feel particularly creative in my writing. Now, I may be technically competent, and have enough knowledge of various subjects to pass muster in blog form, but when it comes to writing creatively, I’m egregiously lacking in the interesting department. My writing stinks unless you want a term paper.

And so the subject for this week is: strategies to help me improve my writing, or how to get better at creative pursuits. Which also happens to be the subject of one of my notes.

The Moleskine is a fantastic notebook, offering many varieties depending on your artistic needs.

As stated in that note, the strategy for me to employ is the classic “practice, practice, practice” technique successfully used by generations of people; in this case, I’ll use the stereotypical artists Moleskine notebook I carry around, and try to write a new bit of poetry every day in an effort to improve my creative process. What techniques will work best to create something new and fresh, and how will that help in my design work? I’m pretty excited about exploring this in 2010.

Which brings me around to the ol’ explanation of why I feel that I’m not good at writing to begin with. It is my lack of production that bothers me. It seems prior to the explosion in my personal time spent online, I could write fairly well, and fairly creatively, without the feeling of being hindered. Perhaps that view is simply in hindsight, rose-colored glasses and all, but my patience for some pursuits has dimmed considerably.

Wish me luck, can’t wait to post some of the results. In other news, keep an eye out for a progress meter I’m about to post.