6 Tips for Writing as a Habit

Human Writes Performance Installation at UN Geneva

Writing is one of the best habits you can have. It helps telling stories, preserving memories, and organizing thought in general. Here are some gathered tips that I’ll be trying these days to have writing as a habit:

  1. Write daily

    Whatever you are thinking about, go ahead and put it in words. That thought will get lost with time and might be helpful for a future idea.

  2. Find your workflow

    Figure out the best times and ways to write. Reserve a certain hour in the early morning or before going to bed, or during lunch. Find what is the best times of the day and conditions that inspire you to write. Write in small bursts or complete thoughts from start to finish, whatever works for you.

  3. Make it easy

    Find an easy way or tool to quickly draft something in the middle of the day or while doing chores if you need to. That split second the idea comes, might never come again. Emacs Org-mode with Org Capture is my tool of choice when I’m at the computer. Use apps like Evernote, Google Keep, MobileOrg or whatever is easy for you to write things down while not on the computer (or paper notebook) where you store your drafts and writing.

  4. Figure out things later.

    Don’t worry about titles, headlines or main topics, not even file names. Just use the date as a filler and write. You can figure out later what it is about when you are halfway done or finished. For example, blog post is part of a larger writing that I ended up splitting in 3 posts.

  5. Don’t publish everything you write.

    The need to publish can be intimidating and cause self censorship. Publish when you feel like it, publish only what you want, but write about it first.

  6. Social media interactions don’t count as writing.

    They’re too short (140 character tweets) and meaningless most of the time, unless it’s something you thoughtfully and more extensively wrote and want to publish. But those short social media interactions can be a good source of inspiration of what you can write about.

GNU/Linux Free Software & Open Source personal

New media reading habits on tablets and ebook readers

eBook reading

With the latest releases of ebook readers and tablet devices (iPad, xoom, galaxy tab, etc) reading habits are changing from paper based to digital in a faster pace than before.

I’ve been using my Samsung Galaxy Tab for reading a lot more. I enjoy more reading my social media updates (Twitter, Google+, Facebook) on this device than using my laptop. Sometimes I even prefer to use that device even when having my laptop in front of me. Maybe touch scrolling feels nicer than wheel or trackpad scrolling. I still don’t know what exactly it is that makes it feel better.

Broken Kindle

I once borrowed a Kindle from work and one day, right before a 6hr long flight, the screen got damaged. On that trip I wanted to try out travelling with only the Kindle and no paper books, so I was left without any reading material. It was a frustrating waste of time. The advantage of travelling light is no longer very attractive to me over the advantage of reliable reading material.

On the other hand, I’m also very concerned about DRM in ebooks and the volatility of digital goods. Being in a “third” world country, I’m not used to buying digital goods, since there hasn’t been much services available and many US based services are blocked or restricted. The good side of it is that with free software like Calibre, I can convert any PDFs I find into Kindle format easily.

Google Books

I am yet to try out the Google Books app in the tablet. I found a lot of excellent classic reading material for free so I can try before spending any buck like books from Jules Verne and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The advantage I see on reading on the Kindle over reading on my Android tablet is that the Kindle is a distractions free gadget. On my tab I’ll get easily distracted with new email notifications, app updates, status updates, etc.

Some friends claim to be reading more now that they have a Kindle than when having paper books. While other friends who own an android tablet or iPad device tend to use their laptops less at home after work is done.

So I still wonder why is ebook reading on these devices more and more attractive lately. Is it because of the novelty of the gadget? Is there a real advantage or commodity over paper books or is it just techie fashion?