Category Archives: Journal

J16-Writing Tips

 

despite the fact that i am a poor writer myself, i now have to give 5 tips to other writers! each of these tips is something that i’ve learned through personal experience– and i have by no means become a master at them. Here’s to all writers (including myself) getting even better at writing!

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Tip 1: Use a wide variety of literary devices.
This first tip is one that I myself often forget. While it isn’t too difficult to utilize one or two literary devices that you are familiar with, it can be a challenge to remember that the metaphor is not the only device out there. Or maybe your preferred literary device is personification, in which case you might want to try using more metaphors. Or maybe you don’t use literary devices at all, in which case you need to get started!

Don’t tell me the moon is shining. Show me the glint of light on broken glass.” –Anton Chekhov.

Tip 2: Learn from your writing.
Your own writing can teach you a lot of things. It can teach you about yourself—your abilities, your faults, and your perspective on the world. Take advantage of that, and explore what depths of understanding your writing has in store for you.

“The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought. This in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium.“– Norbet Platt.

Tip 3: Read, read, and read some more.
What better way to improve your writing than to read the works of others? You can learn what styles you like best and get ideas for how you want to write—you can also learn how not to write. From prolific novel masterpieces to simple short stories to children’s literature, reading is a way to ignite the imagination, find motivation, and transport yourself to another world.

Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.“– E.B. White.

Tip 4: Have no fear.
If you want to write that 50,000 word novel, then dive right in. If you have a thrilling tale to tell—let ‘em rip! If you’ve been holding back, now is the time to let go. Push all inhibitions aside and pour your soul out. Your writing is your own—don’t let fear or doubt dictate what you can and can’t do.

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” — E.L. Doctorow.

Tip 5: Just keep writing, just keep writing…
Writer’s block: a writer’s worst nightmare. Whether novice or veteran, writers of all ages must find ways to fight this terrible foe. My best remedy is to simply start writing. Now, that might not sound like much of a solution, but it is. When you feel like you can’t go on and the words just won’t come, write about anything that comes to mind. You might not start off in the direction you want to go, but if you don’t get started in the first place, you won’t get anywhere at all.

Start writing no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on. You can sit and look at a page for a long time and nothing will happen. Start writing and it will.” — Louis L’Amour.


J15- Honor, Courage, Commitment

On the question of what nostalgic book series I would most like to revisit, coincidentally I recently began rereading one of the most prominent books of my childhood. Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, the first in the Horatio Hornblower saga by C.S. Forrester, was read to me by my dad when I was about seven. Set in the 19th century, the series begins as the story of a lonely, depressed English youth who joins the Royal Navy. I immediately fell in love with Hornblower (in a literary sense, not a romantic sense!), and recalling his adventures still thrills me.

As a midshipman, the seventeen-year-old had a sensitivity and shyness that made him relatable; an intelligence and seriousness that made him intriguing; and a sense of honor and duty that made him admirable. My dad and I soon became wrapped up in following him from the seasick days of being the bullied novice to his first adventures and daring rescues where he finally got to prove himself.

Going into the second volume in the series, the young man has now lost his low self-esteem and has replaced it with calm confidence. Filled with mutiny, bloody war, and a little bit of romance, Lieutenant Hornblower continued the saga and continued to captivate me. Over the next several years, my dad and I plowed through the first eight books of the eleven volume series; although we read them about a decade ago, the first and second books were by far the most memorable.

Today, at the exact same age as Hornblower when he first became a midshipman, I can relate to him like never before. A deep interest in the navy—no doubt originally kindled by the Hornblower saga—has lead to my joining a cadet program. Hearing and using the same nautical terms and orders that Hornblower used, and aspiring to rank up to the same positions that my hero aspired to rank up to—it’s like walking in some kind of dream.

Honor, Courage, Commitment

  “But still, it’s the West Indies for us, anyway,” said Hornblower philosophically. “Yellow fever. Ague. Hurricanes. Poisonous serpents. Bad water. Tropical heat. Putrid fever. And ten times more chances of action than with the Channel fleet.”

  “That’s so,” agreed Bush, appreciatively.

  With only three and four years’ seniority as lieutenants, respectively, the two young men (and with young men’s confidence in their own immortality) could face the dangers of West Indian service with some complacence.

Lieutenant Hornblower, Chapter 1.


J14- The Journal About Journaling

as you can see, this Journal is about my thoughts on journaling. so it’s like Inception… in journal form.

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Ever since I was very young (maybe around five or six years old), I’ve always tried to keep a journal. The key word there being “tried.” Whether I’ve succeeded is another matter. I remember one time early on in my journal-keeping where I went an entire year without writing a single entry. Recently though, particularly in the last year, I’ve greatly improved at writing down my daily thoughts and events more, well, daily.

I’ve found two main benefits to writing in a journal. The first is that it provides a way to safely vent emotions and to “get it out.” Of course, the reality is that it’s not entirely safe; because by writing it down you are taking the chance that someone will read it. I know from experience that the results of that happening can be a bit traumatizing. However, I think it’s worth it in the long run. That and I’ve learned to hide my journal better. Oh, and I plan to burn every page before I die.

The second benefit is simply being able to look back and read your writing at a later date. I think it’s good to be reminded once in a while of where you’ve been and how far you’ve come. Reading about your past from your own perspective is a great way to do that.

As to whether I’ll keep my blog after this class is over, I have a prediction. I think that at first I’ll be really excited to maintain it, and I might do so for a little while. But then I’ll start procrastinating as I get caught up in Summer activities, and eventually I’ll probably forget about it. Then, after a while, I might come back to it and start up again—but I might not. In short, I hope to keep writing in my blog—but I’m making no promises!


J13- Celebrating Life

for a while, i was kinda “ugh-ing” over this Journal assignment. firstly, i have absolutely no ”visions” for what i would want for my wedding. secondly, i’ve really only been to one wedding that i thoroughly enjoyed, and i’m not sure what i would say about it other than “we ate, drank, and made merry.” so yeah, this is a short Journal. 

I have a confession to make: I actually have not done the cliché girl thing of planning out my future wedding. In fact, until I was about twelve, I never even realized that it was something that girls were “supposed” to do. When I found out, I figured I better think something up. But after I put some thought into it, I discovered that I really didn’t care what colors and flowers were used at my future wedding; on top of that, I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to get married at all! I did decide, however, that it would be pretty cool if I could get married while on a horse (don’t laugh; I was twelve, ok?).

Today, I’m still not sure if I’ll ever get married, but if I do, there are a few things that I know will be there: music, dancing, friends, and family. Because, when it gets down to it, that’s what weddings are really about. It’s not about how big and grand they can appear. It’s not even about being more “romantic” than the next wedding. It’s about celebrating life with the people you love.

Oh yeah, and I’ll have food there, too. Lots of yummy food. Food is important.


J12- What Christmas Feels Like

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i think i almost lulled myself to sleep while writing this assignment about Christmas. *sleepy yawn* *sleepy smile*  ;]

The bejeweled tree glistens comfortingly nearby as I curl up on the couch under a fuzzy blanket. I can smell the aroma of pine and the lingering scent of cinnamon from cookies baked earlier that day. A kindly-faced porcelain angel graces the top of the tree, reminding me of a similar dark and starry night more than two millennia ago—a night that changed the history of the world.

All the lights in the house are off, except for the tiny colored ones on the tree; my sisters and mom are in bed; my dad is on his way home. My loyal German Shepherd Dog slumbers beside me, his steady breathing lulling me to sleep. As I nod off, I know that this is what I love about Christmas. Actually this is what I love about life; the small moments where I can take a breath, smile, close my eyes, and thank God for the blessings He’s given me. This is what Christmas feels like.


J11- The Dump Truck

this little story is so oft repeated in my family, that the term “broken dump truck” is somewhat iconic and is an instant trigger for laughter.

My annoying older brother had pushed me over the edge with his taunting. I wouldn’t take it any longer. I’d show him!

“You, you—you broken dump truck!” I forcefully yelled the unique insult.

I was angry. And I was five.

Thankfully, things have changed a bit since those days. For one, my vocabulary of insults now extends beyond the ones I come up with on the spot. Also, these days my brother and I—me in my teens and he in his twenties—tend towards playful teasing and poking rather than futile shouting matches.

However, it seems like some things never change. People still annoy me, and I still have the temptation to let my temper get the best of me. I think it’s just part of human nature that as we live together, we agitate each other. Even among more even-tempered people (which I freely admit I am not), confrontation will come about eventually. And when it does, we have to ask ourselves if we’re prepared to let go of a little pride in order to have peace. After all, no one likes being called a dump truck, broken or otherwise. Plus, a little patience goes a long way. Proverbs 15:1, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”


J10- True Epicness

tell what famous person i want to meet? are you kidding me? i really don’t care about celebs. this is hard. *pause* wait, no… this is easy!

As a former inhabitant of Los Angeles, California, I occasionally encounter stereotypes regarding my region. I’ve been asked if I used to see celebrities in casual settings, or if I liked to hang out in Hollywood. I think someone once even asked me if I used to live next door to movie stars. The answer to all of them is a resounding, “NO.” In fact, I’m pretty sure that I’ve never in my life met a major entertainment star; nor do I really have a desire to.

However, despite my lack of interest in modern, glamorous celebs, there is one person whom I would love to meet, though I never will in this life. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, known as J.R.R. Tolkien, died in 1973, but his legacy lives on through his literary masterpieces such as The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, many collections of poems, and (his magnum opus) The Lord of the Rings trilogy. These works embody the very meaning of the word “epic”.

Oh, the questions I would ask him! I would have to know about his inspirations, his methods of writing, and his faith. In addition, I’d also tell him how much his works mean to me; every time that I read and reread (and re-reread) them, they spark and enliven my imagination and give me new motivation for my own writing. The epic stories of Middle Earth send me to a world where I can lose myself– and in a sense, find myself again.