a good read

You know you’ve gotten hold of a good book when you realize that pounding outside in the neighbor’s yard fail to bother you anymore. Lost amidst the pages, nothing else matters – aside from the occasional breaks to the comfort room.

I’m currently reading Heather Seller’s Page after Page. It’s refreshing to read about something that motivates one to continue writing using a non-academic approach. If journalism and nonfiction writing books were like these, I could have done a better job in my writing. But I am at fault also. I didn’t look hard enough for that motivation. I just wish, I’d read this book earlier. Then, I could have shared it with my students.

 

I was reading Chapter 1 when she mentioned that writing is more of a “listening activity” rather than doing the act. The idea seemed too simple, to common, something that one would think s/he has already known. It’s common sense. There’s no need to state that. But there is.

All those classes in journalism and writing for various media has somehow given me the idea that writing is about connecting the ideas from all the data I have gathered – interviews, document search, and observation. I thought that writing articles meant connecting everything. Well, partly it is. But more than linking all those pieces of information, what matters more is listening to what my brain got from all those pieces of information. More than presenting the different sides, what now? What does it mean? How does it make sense? What questions remain unanswered?

Call me dramatic, but something made sense after reading that line. Writing is indeed about listening to one’s thoughts. It’s transferring all those ideas in one’s mind into text set in ink or lead – or whatever it is that you write with. It’s the listening part I’m having greater difficulty in. I’m at a loss of things to write. Definitely not because I’ve got no more thoughts. It’s just all those limitations on which thought would be appropriate. Perhaps it’s too simple if not too technical.

It’s the self-doubt and the fear of not coming up with ideas worth writing about or having erroneous sentences that distracts one from focusing on listening to those thoughts. The fear keeps me from focusing on listening. If there’s one thing to improve and work on, that would be that focus in writing down all those thoughts.

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