One of the reasons I started this blog in English is to make my writing in English an easy job and to make it flow more naturally. Many writing gurus, including Ernest Hemingway, recommend writers-to-be or novelist-wannabe to write 500 to 1,000 words a day -- every day. One of the earth scientists I know made it a rule to write more than 1,000 words a day for his research articles for peer-reviewed academic journals. I thought this must be a daunting job to write that many words for his peer-reviewed articles, though he is a native English speaker and a well known professor at a university in the UK.
I lived in Austin, Texas as a postdoc at the UT Austin from 2002 to 2005. Austin has the second largest populations of writers in the US (after the New York City), and after work, I joined several evening classes and workshops for writing, ranging from non-fiction writing, via journalism, to creative writing. At these classes I often heard that write freely without any constraints or fear of failure, little by little, and make it an essential part of our daily life. One night, at the end of a class by an invited lecturer (non-fiction writer living in Texas), the participants got so motivated by her speech and Q & A session. For example, a lady next to me was telling people around her, with a loud voice, "let's go home and write!" I was among these people who got so motivated on the night, but I did not start writing -, not on the same night, or next day. The feverish passion created in the classroom diminished so quickly as I left the venue and returned home into my mundane daily life.
I almost forgot about this "writing every day" slogan until about three years ago when I started my blog titled "Communication skills for Scientists and Engineers" in Japanese. At that time, my Japanese was so awful, though it is my mother tongue. Until 2005 I lived overseas (in the UK, Canada, and the US) using English most of the time for a total of 15 years, so my Japanese skill got so degraded over years. So one of the reasons I started the Japanese blog in 2009 was to brush up my mother tongue, in particular, writing skills. It was a bit pain at the beginning, but I kept writing one article a day, and after three years, my blog had a total of more than 1 million visitors, and I end up with writing more than 1,200 articles when I terminated my Sci-Tech communication blog on March 7, 2012. One of the reasons I stopped the Sci-Tech (Japanese) blog was that my writing skills and speed in Japanese got so improved that I needed no further practice. On the other hand, my English skills, notably writing skills started to degrade, as my job at our university involves mostly Japanese.
So I felt it was time for me to start "free writing in English" to brush up my writing skills and speed, and I chose this blog as my practice zone. This is how this blog started last Monday (April 9, 2012). Though still awkward, I will keep writing a short article here every day so that my English will regain the flow and power in a few months or even years.
|Accidental Genius: Using Writing to Generate Your Best Ideas, Insight, and Content|
Oh, one final thought. If you would like to start free writing every day, whether you would like to improve your writing skills in English or other languages, I highly recommend reading the book "Accidental Genius" (Second Edition) by Mark Levy.
This is an excellent book and a great motivator to write. The author claims that writing also helps to create new ideas, better work and communication skills, and strong leadership. The audiobook version is also available from audible.com.
Posted on Sunday 15 April, 2012