During a book club meeting, a friend told his impression about Benedict Anderson, an anthropologist who is well known for his work about Indonesia. The conversation flowed until we ended up talking some bits about archiving life. To us, Benedict Anderson is an example of how a person’s life if archived well could bring benefits to society.
Archiving life is not something new to me. In 2013, another friend of mine who is a fan of Pramoedya Ananta Toer once shared the author’s word on writing as a way to work for eternity. Even though I forgot about the details about that day, I still remember the feeling of wanting to write for myself and others. As time goes by, I realize that integrating writing into my daily life is not always easy. It truly requires persistence and curiosity that are constantly refreshed.
Practicing is the most cliche tip yet it works well
If you’re a fan of Twoset Violin, you might remember the countless time they mentioned the importance of practice. Despite the fact that I’m not a performer like them, their advice is still relevant. Growing up, I was never a writing enthusiast during my childhood and teenage years. My parents never really push me while they once expected me to join an extracurricular that could motivate me to write seriously. I spent my teenage years drawing, painting, and taking pictures while occasionally inserting short descriptions of my recent artworks. On the flip side, as an adult, I’d unhesitantly spend one to two hours per day to write my daily log, book review, and other types of casual writings into my daily routines.
Having two worlds at once
Most of the writings that I do in the professional setting are obviously academic writing. Sometimes it can be an annotated bibliography, a literature review, an elaboration of data, or a summary of current findings. Occasionally, I also produce science communication content that is designed for a broader group of audiences with no former knowledge of a particular issue. If managed well, both are challenging and enjoyable in the long run. While writing in the academic (or formal) style taught me about conciseness, creative writing is definitely an outlet to channel mind-wandering.
Welcoming the wall of shame
It’s actually a self-deprecating joke that I often throw to myself. When I started blogging in Year 10, I had no idea about improving my drafts. What I knew was just writing. Apparently, the circumstance changed drastically when I started to incorporate writing into my daily duties. There were several times when I feel frustrated about the words I crafted. Imperfection became a source of stress instead of a reminder of progress. Then, I realized that being stuck in the infinite hole of writing block is unnecessary. Rather than draining my energy to pen perfect sentences in one shot, I’d spend my time by writing my drafts out loud first and doing the fine-tuning later.