Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Practice Makes Perfect...

I'm finding writing difficult. Specifically, I'm finding the mechanics of writing well (or at least coherently) difficult. 

I was regarded as a good writer at school. I did very well in my creative writing assignments, won a few awards for it and so on. Thing is, I haven't done it for over 10 years and I am - to put it mildly - rusty.
As part of my work I do a lot of writing but it is all of a technical nature. I do try and make it as elegant as I can within the constraints of whatever document I am trying to complete but it's still a different kettle of fish to this kind of piece.

I have also trained in various martial arts for almost 10 years now. One thing I have found to be fundamental to the process of learning a new art is that the only way to make the movements instinctive is to perform them over and over again. This is especially true when you are starting a new art in my experience. For instance, the basic method of moving across a space (say, to close distance with an opponent) in kendo is significantly different to the way a muay thai practitioner would do it. There is no simply 'walking' in either of these martial arts. The movements are reasoned and have a great deal of thought and practical experience behind them. The only way to make these movements a natural way of traveling across a floor or ring for you is to practice it. Over and over again. Usually under the watchful eye of an instructor.

I am also not a dualist. I believe that the 'mind' is seated in the physical brain. I fully admit that we don't understand how this works exactly right now but I believe we can see evidence for it in diseases like Alzheimer's and other neurological disorders and the way they fundamentally alter the people afflicted with them. Following this, I believe that the brain can be 'exercised' similarly to the body. In fact, I think the two are indivisible.

The point I am (excruciatingly) working my way around to is that I am hoping my writing will improve simply by the act of doing more writing and I apologise in advance for any ugly missteps. 


The Exterminator said...

Here are a few tips to make your writing a little easier.

(1) Forget everything you know about technical writing; it has little to do with writing a blog.

(2) Read your stuff aloud, and listen to yourself. If what you hear sounds natural and makes sense, you're probably communicating effectively.

(3) Write posts only when you have something to say. And its corollary: If you have something to say, write a post.

Good luck with your new blog.

By the way, I'd allow anonymous comments and definitely get rid of that damn word verification. You can always turn one or both of those features back on if you need them.

Urban Viking said...

Good points you make, Ex.

(I read that sentence aloud in my head and it kept coming out in a Yoda voice)

They're also things that are starting to come back to me from creative writing classes many years ago. I wonder if I kept anything from those classes...

I haven't tinkered at all with the default settings of the blog but your suggestions make sense.

Spanish Inquisitor said...

Hey, UV. For some odd reason, my dashboard cleaned itself out, and left me with some trackbacks that indicated you linked to me in a post. Checking it out, I find myself here.

Welcome to the Atheosphere, albeit somewhat belatedly.

And listen to Ex, when it comes to writing. He knows his shit. I wish he'd give me a few pointers.

Urban Viking said...

Hey, SI. Thanks!

I've been taking a bit of a break over the holiday season but I've got a few things bubbling away in the back of my head I want to write about.

Things have been a bit manic here with family and friends visiting but hopefully I'll have a bit more time over the next few weeks to catch up with what's been going on in the Atheosphere and some of my own stuff as well.