Know Thy Human

know thy human

Hello all! Welcome back to this blog.

Know thy Human.

Not ourselves… of course, it kind of means know thyself and not just know others but…

Why? Why is it important to know human minds and not just the gist of how a human mind works? Why is it useful to understand the different ways each one of us has to perceive, and act upon something, in our lives?

To write is to convey in a page how individuals think and interact with the happenings in their lives. It’s to respect and bring to life their differences. It’s to extrapolate, using what we know to be basics human behaviour and possible mindsets.

It is important to pay great attention to this because it’s how we get to write believable characters, how we are able to imagine coherent plots, how we create a good story, how we make the people in those stories freaking interesting.

And not just for the hero’s, and the lukewarm characters in there, but for the villains also.

If something feels not feasible, hard to imagine, or simply not in accord with what we know to be possible, maybe this is the reason why: We do not know Our Human of that story very well.

To understand human minds is hard, and usually, we get to imagine every other person in light of what we think we know about them, and in light of what we believe to be true about ourselves. We see others as we are and that gives us hell.

To write fiction, and non-fiction alike, we need to know people directly. To experience others perceptions. To live through situations that make us question why some people are, and act the way they do.

To make all that research into how an inexistent, or ficcional, being could come to be in this book of ours.

To have some accurate grasp on the well studied disciplines that provide scientific knowledge is adamant.

To study philosophy, psychology, and sociology, can give us the tools to understand people, and use that knowledge in our fictional constructs.

It’s not that we can’t write good characters without some measure of understanding in these areas. After all, writers tend to be good observants of others practicalities. We can do it, but it will be harder, and with a more drastic learning curve while doing it.

Maybe you do have a natural tendency to understand other people’s motives and actions. Maybe your passion has been to be a History devoted pupil, and it had given you the much needed foundations for your fictional writings.

Maybe you have lived through way too much hard/different/instructional or just plain shitty stuff, and have a first hand knowledge of the hard parts of life.

… Even then, to keep hungry for understanding it all a little bit better is what keeps most of us glued to this writing practice. I know I’m here in part to make reason out of no way in hell this is happening that is thrown at me every single day.

But what if we don’t like what we find about Ourselves?

And, let’s face it, most of us wouldn’t appreciate the scrutiny to begin with.

What if we find too much pain in our History, too much nonsense in our Sociology, too much of everything in Psychology and Philosophy? Too many misconceptions?

Now it’s the time that you’ll say: that is a given not an if.

Looking closely at something means that, we will find all the dark periods, the wrong choices, the massive unreasonable and unfair truths. We will take stock of diseases, influences, beginnings and mistakes, and a lack of answers for why it happened (and keeps happening still).

We will see unwilling relations, power moves and collective mind actions. Erasing all common sense and good judgement.

We will recognise logic but not heart.

… Like in the racial theories spread in the wake of the slavery business. Or the worldly religions distributing death, fuelling up conquests of power and riches. Or how pandemics took hold of large territories, killing people even at hands of the common cold. Sexuality being squashed under the heavy boots of the exploiters of others… there are lots of major trends like these throughout the centuries of human evolution.

Most of us are kind of trying to deal with some iteration, or other of this, by writing about the big issues. Stuff that happens to us, in our lifetime, but could easily be found in other ages.

But being the big issues, we need to keep them as small as possible. As unaffected, and manageable, by focusing on the details, instead of the impossible task of tackling the huge issue.

Learning from the Sciences always means you have to take it with a grain of salt. Nothing is infallible and trial and error has always been the way to go.

So we will never find definitive answers in science. We will find possibilities and scientific studies that work at some extent, and that may, or may not, be proof of some theory devised but another human being.

But even without absolute, one hundred percent, certainty it’s better to be aware of all that, and make it work in our Know Thy Human practice. Information can be power.

In my opinion, Science keeps being  better than to believe in the belief.

If we believe it’s because it’s not true. Truth is a matter of being, not a belief… I read this a few days ago.. not recollecting where it was. But it is an interesting concept and was duly noted.

To understand a tiny bit of the human mind (and use it wisely) is to accept this difficulty in taking in the Big Picture, and find alternative, corroborating stories in it. Find its truth while writing about it… or imagine it.

At least, this is how I like to go about it. Collect info, try to give them some rhyme and reason, and then make the best out of shitty situations. Learning and Creating and trying never to forget how important it is to Know Thy (My) Human.

So… how’s that going for you?


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Bye and Keep writing! ✍🏼

Reading for the Writer in you

reading for the writer in you

Hello all! Welcome back to this blog so…

Let’s talk about writing!

Today, I want to talk a bit about the importance of Reading to our Writing practices. Not just about what we read or how much, but also the variety we incorporate.

I figure this is not a strange assumption to make, that reading is truly important for our writing practices. After all, Writers are Readers and there’s no other way to go about it.

Reading helps us learn the craft, discover new and important themes, refine our own writer voice, and simply enjoy the fruits of our labor, even if made by someone else.

But what if we can’t read for a while?

Sometimes, we get ourselves into some deep holes, some occurrences to which we call reading slumps, the reader counterpart of writer’s block, forgetting the real pleasure we have while absorbing a good immersive story.

Just like when we forget the real pleasure of writing our own imagined story.

Sometimes, we try to erase the appreciation we have for these activities and instead, we start listening to what we should be doing, or enjoying, instead of what we do love doing and truly enjoy. 

Not just reading serious books is Reading, nor just writing literary fiction is Writing.

But we tend to forget this while pursuing the genres that make us feel more vibrantly alive in our literary practices.

I believe our reading habits are made not just of books, nor certain genres.

We have plenty of material around that adds up to our love for reading. Like magazines, blogs, essays, letters, manga… Our readings are, and should be, made of multiple and different materials, providing us with a wellspring of ideas difficult to match by the sheer diversity of it.

I find that reading different book genres has the same benefits. Having access to other types of literary texts will put us in contact with themes, and ideas, which would not enter our minds if we just sticked with the genre we like to read the most… Or the genre we think we should be reading.

Diversity helps us forge a clear perspective on different subjects and expands our bandwidth so we can embrace growth in our practices.

Keeping this in mind was what got me to contemplate a new reading challenge for this year.

This week I’m organising my readings for 2023, but I’ll not be giving you too many details, because I’ll be talking about it soon enough. I’ve reimagined a reading challenge, more fitted to my current situation, and reading needs, and I am fully devoted to make it work.

This challenge has already brought its fruits:

First, I have a problem! Yep. It’s official. I have made myself take a real, long look at my reading habits, and how I motivate myself to reading, and I found I have a flickering motivation. 

Second, it allowed me to go in search of all the books I own, or at least the majority of them, and have a notion of how I have been making choices just by not choosing. And not choosing is a bad thing, isn’t it?

Third, I’m feeling more energised by the attempts of organising my readings. Which already had made me do things I have been postponing for ages, like creating a sheet for all of my books, and setting a new more objective goal for this year, and not just the amount of readings I’ll be doing.

Keeping my readings organised helps me getting my head clear about what I want to read, and what I need to read, and what would be beneficial if I read.

And I guess that’s why I have not gone about it this way… too much pressure and constraints.

Also, reading for research must have a specific time bound, while reading for mere pleasure has other restraints. And these are important notions to have. Adding to our reading materials must come with a time stamp on it (so you don’t end up like me, as you’ll see soon enough).

And, never forgetting that we should be careful of what we are reading while we are working on some of our writing projects, lest we confuse our writing voice. Creativity fuels herself with all it gathers around her (us). We must be careful so it doesn’t take over while we are writing in our own voice.

I find that keeping our readings more directional towards the kind of writer we want to be is an effort that has a ton of value.

But I also believe that we should expose ourselves to the most diverse lot we can arrange. This feeds our imagination and helps create those worlds we wish to live in or just write about.

Balance is key. And unbalanced is the creative spirit. Or at least is what it seems sometimes… the constant duality of life, isn’t it?

So, the three ideas I wish you would keep in mind:

  • Reading is instrumental to Writing.
  • Choosing what to read is important.
  • Reading diversity is what makes us versatile.

What do you think about this?

Thanks for being here and for being willing to talk about writing!

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Bye and Keep writing! ✍🏼


Grounding the Writing Practices

grounding the writing practices

Today we are talking about grounding our writing practices.

Having trouble to face that blank page? To begin something? To just put your tutu on the chair? 

Yeah! I know where you’re at. Been there too many times to be willing to face them all.

A few years ago, my first big discovery to help me cope with this matter was a book (not a big surprise here! I tend to go looking for answers in books). 

It was “The Artist’s Way” by Julian Cameron, and it helped me face some things about my life and my choices, which stayed with me until today.

Other books helped me as well, but let’s not get on to all of those. It’s quite an extensive list.

Throwing in this mix, is a decade and a half of fiction and non-fiction writing, and I realised I have been teaching myself how to properly ground my writing practices.

Meaning of grounding

grounding merriam-webster

Grounding as in training or instruction in the fundamentals of a field of knowledge. But it isn’t fully that.

grounding free dictionary

Grounding as connecting something to its ground. To provide a basis, to justify, to instruct in fundamentals.

Grounding my writing practices in solid foundations to which I can return to every day.

What am I talking about?

When I start a new project, any project, like cooking a recipe, writing a paper, cleaning my house, take on a 9 to 6 job… the first thing I worry about is to learn about the task at hand.

Organising inside my head what it needs to be executed. Which are the rules applied, what tasks needs to be done, how to do it the best way I can. Reaching into past lessons and composing a how-to-do-this the best way I know how.

When I’m feeling less okay about it, or not enjoying the task at hand, I tend to avoid it by diverting my attention to other things… even if they are writing related tasks.

And by doing that, I loose my ground on the task that got me overwhelmed in the first place.

I had to learn how to ground myself on those works, that I wanted to be doing, even if they feel overwhelming.

Warming up to it

Trying to start something without proper warm up can cause injuries. I remember this from gym classes and it applies throughout.

To start writing without a proper warm up is just an injurie waiting to happen.

Inducing a mind space welcoming to the activity, is essential to avoid the black page block.

To ground myself onto my writing practices isn’t easy or learn-to-never-forget type of atitude. No, it’s hard and constant work.

So, in each day, I’ve come up with a few practices that help me ease myself into writing for the different projects I’m working on at the moment.

I first do something which usually gets me thinking and taking notes on something else. I set a scenery, a time, a place, in which I know that as soon as I enter it, I’ll sit and perform.

What I use to warm up

I choose to ground myself into my writing practice by using other means of input and output.

These include journalling, goal cards, collage, vídeos, music, meditation, even reading emails is good warm-up and a thoughts collector.

These practices help me ease myself into a mental state in which Flow can take over.

For example, “today” I started to write on my Mind Tools Journal and ended up with my notebook open, writing some short-story fiction, which occurred to me while trying to find a rhyme and reason on my yesterday’s tasks. From there, I went to this very blog post you are reading, and a short essay on a non-related theme… because I started to listen to some video-talk and it got me these ideias…

Producing isn’t Consuming

Please do not mistake these strategies with consuming stuff online. It is purposefully used to help me sit on this (or any other) chair, and proceed with my writing schedule.

And it’s not every day that I am working on building new stories. Sometimes, I’m editing, or revising, or marketing, or making other types of content.

Also, I have now a broader sense of what is included in my writing time.

Sitting myself to write fiction, also includes writing a story plan, some notes, scene cards, and whatever material I need to come up with a story.

It was not a very long time ago that I didn’t include my preparation work as writing time. I just saw the hours, in which I wasn’t scribbling away, inside the text document, that held the current work in progress. By those standards, I never did enough writing. (Not that I think I do enough. I don’t. I could always be writing more and I am working on that)

Copywriting is still writing. Poetry is still writing. Blog posts… daily journalling, ideas for books and videos, scripts for VLook…

I draw the line on writing shopping lists and excel files. Those I don’t consider writing, even if they are essential to the writer’s life.

How to make it work?

Grounding my writing practices, interconnecting them with my life’s daily tasks, feels like any other new habit we integrate.

For example, when we meditate we go to our mental space of calmness (some times more than others). We focus on the practice, ground ourselves to it, and let the breathing and the directed attention do their thing, to help us let go of all that stuff that’s weighting down on our minds.

Grounding on my writing practices started to feel the same way. Letting go of all the noise which emanates from our daily life’s and just focus on allowing myself to create something, to bring something forth.

It feels like entering a space, being transformed enough by being there, calm enough to play, focused enough to mentally open and let ideas flow.

Does it always work?

As much as any other focused practice.

Introducing a few grounding practices at a time, experimenting with what helps get our minds engaged and producing ideas. Allow these practices to form a true constancy in our daily life. Tying them to our writing practice.

There are a lot of exercises, like gratitude practices, keeping a schedule, or collaging next months goals in front of our desk, which can serve us in several ways.

And there are different practices. There are people which tied their writing practice to going somewhere, for example. Going to a coffee shop to write. To seclude themselves in an hotel room (like some well known writers), or go to a writing retreat… even to writing live on Twitch.

All these are grounding writing practices. They anchor the writing activity to some other event so, each time we are doing it, we have all the cues to start writing and no other solution than to write our time out of there.

It took me a few years to learn how to do this and a few more to understand why and how they worked for me.

And you? Do you have some grounding writing practices? What incentives do you use to perform? Are there any other practices you use to unblock your writing?

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Bye and Keep writing! ✍🏼