Write lists

Austin Kleon’s “HOW TO BE HAPPY” list from his book Keep Going

Does anyone else love making lists? Quite often I love making a list more than anything I’ve listed.

Lists bring order to the chaotic universe. I love making lists. Whenever I need to figure out my life, I make a list. A list gets all your ideas out of your head and clears the mental space so you’re actually able to do something about them.

Austin Kleon, Keep Going

Austin Kleon, in his book Keep Going, notes the benefits of writing and keeping lists. He mentions numerous creatives who make lists, from artists like David Shrigley and John Porcellino to writers like Steven Johnson and Mary Roach. List-making is a way to curate a collection of all our messy thoughts and put them into order.

In my last post, I talked about writing through the noise in my head. Sometimes writing a list helps cut through that noise.

Continue reading “Write lists”

Five newsletters I like

I’ll be launching my own email newsletter very soon, and so I thought I’d take this opportunity to share five newsletters I regularly read and enjoy.

Assuming you’re like me and you check your email inbox at least once per day, newsletters can be a great way to follow the work of your favourite content creators. There’s no interference from an algorithm that causes you to miss the latest update. Instead, you’ve invited your favourite creator into your inbox.

Email newsletters come in many forms. Some are similar to blogs, focusing on a particular theme or subject matter and writing content centred around it. Whilst mine will be a curated newsletter. What this means is that it will feature a collection of links and general info all in one place with the aim of sending you to other pages on the web.

The following five fall into one of these two categories:

Continue reading “Five newsletters I like”

Ten lessons I’ve learnt so far from starting to write a novel

A month ago, I would not have envisioned even attempting to write a novel at this stage in my career. But then a literary agent asked if I had 25 pages of a work-in-progress to share, and I realised I wanted to say, “Yes.” So I’ve started to write one.

It’s very early days, far too early to share any concrete details publicly, but I thought it was worth writing about ten lessons I’ve learnt (mostly about myself) since I started writing it.

1. I’m not much of a gardener

My project has grown in the telling. Initially, it was conceived as a single short story. Then I decided to make it a trilogy of short stories. But then I had more ideas, so it became a collection of interconnected stories. It has now settled into its final form (I hope): a novel.

Therefore, I had a lot of key plot points and characters worked out quite some time ago. So I wrote my opening line—also worked out months ago—and I was confident a second line would follow.

Not only did the second line not come easy, but the next several were a physical pain to type.

Continue reading “Ten lessons I’ve learnt so far from starting to write a novel”

15 books I enjoyed reading in 2020

Every year I set myself a reading goal. I set it high enough to be a consistent nudge to read often but never too high that reading becomes stressful.

My goal was to read 35 books in 2020, and I read a total of 45.

It was the first year that theatre plays didn’t contribute to that final number, which made reading in 2020 a completely different experience to the previous couple of years. Instead, I read a great deal more non-fiction than I normally would, which I found to be equally as pleasurable as reading fiction. I also learnt a lot, too.

I enjoyed most books I read last year, but I’ve decided to list 15 I felt were worth highlighting. I’ve listed them in the order I read them. I considered ranking them but that led to overthinking, and I already have enough of that in my life.

Continue reading “15 books I enjoyed reading in 2020”

10 Reasons to Move Home After Finishing University

a BoJack Horseman inspired post

In the second episode of season 5, “The Dog Days Are Over”, writer and blogger Diane Nguyen takes an impulsive trip to Vietnam to get in touch with her cultural roots. This is her means of escape from the present challenges in her life. Pressured by her job, she turns her adventure into a listicle, transforming her emotional turmoil into “clickable content.”

So considering my own big life change and returning to my own roots, albeit without any real cultural difference, it seemed like a fun thing to emulate for this blog. So let’s get started with . . .

Reason 1: To break the routine

GIF: BoJack repeats "I'm tired of running in circles"

You graduated and decided trading independence for your old room wasn’t what you wanted, so followed in the footsteps of past graduates and found a full-time job locally. After moving in with your friends and starting your 9-5, it almost feels like the uni days haven’t ended. But then reality creeps up on you.

No more getting drunk on weeknights because you can’t skip your 9am start tomorrow. You try to stick to your old routines and attempt to keep the same social life. But instead you programme a new autopilot: cycling through the same meals, meet with the same people and are never short of excuses for why this comfort zone is a prison. It’s a circle of stagnation. And only one solution presents itself.

Continue reading “10 Reasons to Move Home After Finishing University”