Timothy Matias

Author's details

Name: Timothy Matias
Date registered: June 1, 2011
URL: http://nspyraishn.wordpress.com/why-i-write/
AIM: nspyraishn
Jabber / Google Talk: nspyraishn

Latest posts

  1. Getting Back Your Creative Mojo — February 20, 2012
  2. The Importance of Sinning — July 8, 2011
  3. Discordian — June 26, 2011
  4. Sublimating Sin — June 24, 2011
  5. Unspeakable — June 19, 2011

Most commented posts

  1. 8 Ways to Untap Your Literary Genius — 3 comments
  2. Leveraging Perfectionism — 2 comments
  3. Sublimating Sin — 2 comments
  4. Merits of a Pseudonym — 2 comments
  5. Writing Elegantly — 1 comment

Author's posts listings

Jun 06

Finding Your Niche

When you really get into writing, you might find that simply thinking about all of the different topics you could tackle makes your head spin. There’s journalism, poetry, play-writing, songwriting, novels, short stories, biographies, blurbs, blogging, and a myriad of other mediums through which you can express yourself. Beyond that, the possibilities are endless: you can write about cooking, eating, shopping, playing video games, your bug collection, or delve into detailed descriptions of the way your cat’s wiskers seem to curl upwards when he sees you.

If you have as much creative potential as the editing team of Write-A-Holic and its contributors, it’s likely you’re having difficulty finding the niche, or even niches through which you can let your creative energy shine.

To prevent yourself from becoming a literary jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none, it’s critical that you be specialized in your writing, and that your writing remains as focused as possible.

Finding your writing niche is a lot like finding love, especially as defined by Robert Sternberg in his Triangular Theory of Love:

1. INTIMACY:

Write about topics that you are intimate (familiar) with. This is a good foundation for quality writing, in that the more you know about a topic, the more accurately you can convey ideas about it, and the more thorough and elegant you are able to be.

Having a great deal of knowledge on the topics you write about also provides you with a strong repertoire so that you can keep the momentum, writing follow-up posts linked to your previous ones and elaborating on that topic, to providing readers with a more complete understanding of your cat’s whiskers, if that’s what you like to write about.

2. PASSION:

Write about topic you are passionate about! If you lack a strong enthusiasm for writing, and particularly for what you are writing about, the readers are bound ot notice, and your writing will be monotone, bland, and lacking of emotional substance. To ensure that readers react positively and enthusiastically to your writing, being passionate about what you write is an absolute must!

3. COMMITMENT:

While being intimate and passionate about you write are the most important elements of finding your niche, ensuring that your writing continues building momentum in the long-term requires  follow-through, and for that you need commitment. Finding a niche that satisfies this aspect of your love for writing might prove to be the most challenging aspect of writing, as our interests tend to change and evolve throughout life. However, once you are able to find that one topic (or topics) that you could write about forever, it will be sure to show!

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Jun 06

Wanderlust

For what purpose can this poor soul carry this burden?

Living a life so devoid of meaning or truth!

Can there be any worthy justification for this suffering?

The madness that lurks beneath the mask that is he

 

For whom shall this wretched existence live for?

Who might somehow take this agony away?

There is no one who can contain his suffering!

Only a face of falsehood to steal the evidence

 

In the midst of others he too can mask the pain

The ignorance of the masses provides temporary relief

But before long the truth overwhelms him

This feigned happiness was naught but a dream!

 

This lone pilgrim is on a never-ending journey

To find a sacred truth that cannot exist

To fulfill a dream that must not come to be!

Is there anything that can end this torture?

 

A nomad of timeless beauty untold

The mask a mere sample of the savage within

Nothing can provide satisfaction to this wretched soul!

What meaning is there in a life where naught can satisfy?

 

Is there any hope for a person without purpose?

Surely not, for without purpose there can be no meaning!

Hope must indeed be nothing but an illusion to this man!

Without a purpose or hope, all he has, all he lives for is Wanderlust!

 

To seek the unfindable, to become the unthinkable, to inspire the unknowable

The Wanderlust may provide sustenance to others, but cannot feed himself

Forever he must wander in a purgatory of his own creation

To his own eternal demise

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Jun 05

Writing Elegantly

A while back, I realized that while I knew how generate amazing ideas, I lacked the ability to communicate them effectively. This was made painfully obvious to me when I took the introductory essay writing course at my college, and ended up getting B’s and C’s (and even a “D”!). That course was a wake up call for me, and helped me to understand that my writing had a major flaw: it lacked elegance.

After realizing this, I immediately started working to improve my abilities to communicate my ideas more powerfully and effectively, and to write in such a way that my readers would actually enjoy what I wrote. Over the following semester, I shaped, cut and trimmed my work with the diligence of a sculptor.

when I took the intermediate writing course, I not only got straight A’s– I got 100% on every single essay and assignment. The difference in results was staggering– so much so that the students were all asking me for help with their essays, and the teacher invited me to join the honor’s program; she said my essays were the best writing that she had seen in years! I’m not saying any of this to brag, but to emphasize the fact that anyone, even a “D” student like I was, can improve the quality of their writing dramatically by focusing on that one simple factor that I like to call elegance. Writing elegantly might require some practice, but it’s not an impossible aim to reach. Below are the three key factors I focused on. I hope you will find them as useful as I did, and that you will be satisfied by the results!

1. Be concise. If the same information or message can be conveyed with fewer words, try not to mince them. While it might seem that you can get a point across by supporting a statement with a lot of opinions and facts, it’s actually the opposite: torrents of information will overload the reader, confuse them, and will invariably bore them. Don’t force the reader to constantly ask themselves “are we there yet?”– get to the point, lest you exhaust their minds so much that they will dread reading you even more than doing chores or cleaning up their rooms!

2. Focus your writing: As with all art, writing without a focus is little more than mindless rambling. For your writing to be appreciated, it needs to have a unifying focus, and any given piece should support, rather than divert, from that focus. Even if a particular literary side-trip might seem interesting to you while you write it, it’s might not be the same for the rest of the passengers who are eagerly awaiting to reach their primary destination. Embellishment can be a good thing for writing, but impulsive detours are not.

3. Try to find novel ways to explain things: There’s always a more effective way of expressing a given idea, and it’s an ongoing challenge for us writers to think-outside-the-box enough to find these ways, and to summon the ingenuity to express ideas as powerfully as possible. This aspect of elegance takes time and effort, and is probably one of the most creativity-dependent elements of writing, but it will make all the difference if you can master it!

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Jun 05

6 Reasons to Make Writing a Career

In a world where there are many different professions to choose from, a career of writing is one of the most challenging, competitive, and financially unsound career paths that one can possibly take; that being the case, why become a writer, when there are many other, far more monetarily stable and lucrative fields of work? As an experienced writer who had given up on writing as a viable source of income, I myself recognized these hardships, and decided a while back that writing was more useful as a hobby than as a career.

That being said, there are several benefits to choosing writing as a career, many of which can only be attained after taking writing seriously, not just as a hobby, but as one’s livelihood as well.

1. EDUCATION

The first, perhaps most important merit of writing as a career, is education. You will find that in your search to convey fresh, inspirational material to dynamic and diverse audiences,you’ll be researching, reading, thinking, and innovating like never before to ensure that you can provide the best content to your target audience(s) possible. In your ventures to communicate material effectively, informatively, and comprehensively– all while being as elegant as possible about it, you will have amassed a repertoire of knowledge and skills useful not only for putting out continually superb material, but also for living an extraordinary life. As Sir Francis Bacon famously noted, knowledge is power; writing is an optimal path to acquiring and applying that knowledge.

2. SELF-EXPRESSION

The career of most good writers begins not with the pursuit of monetary gains, but with the challenge of effective self-expression; to manifest creative genius in such a way that can be appreciated by those who read our writing– this is one of the greatest joys in life for a writer; making money is by comparison a fortunate byproduct of that awesomeness. Authors tell the readers a lot about themselves through writing, and making that connection with the readership proves to be the most challenging and also most fulfilling aspect of writing.

3. SUBLIMATION

For writers with an extreme excess of creative energy, writing is much more than a hobby or a career– it’s a necessity. That there is a proven link between mental illness and creativity is no coincidence– creatively-minded individuals need to write in order to preserve their sanity. Father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud noted that among the many defense mechanisms his patients used to deal with excess negative energy, sublimation, “The transformation of an impulse into something socially constructive,” proved to be the most effective means that mentally ill people used to regain their sanity; even among sane writers, writing provides a constructive outlet by which to re-balance one’s psychological equilibrium.

4. OPEN-MINDEDNESS

Writers, and especially life-long authors, recognize the mind-opening power of writing; As we press ourselves to think, innovate, explore, and become masters of the topics we write about, our minds open up, often without us knowing it, to the infinite possibilities of reality and fantasy alike, and the myriad of perspectives we have to choose from. As we struggle to get fresh perspectives, think outside the box, and achieve a well-balanced and comprehensive understanding of the topics we write about, becoming progressively more open-minded is, for writers, an inevitability.

5. EXPERIENCE THE IMPOSSIBLE

There are many things that I want to do in-real-life, but owing to lack of time, resources, biological prerequisites, or ethical problems, I am unable to. For example, I want to understand the female orgasm and what it’s like to be pregnant, to understand the joys of masochism and the heart of a killer, and to experience a bug’s life, or life on other planets. Such scenarios are (for obvious reasons) impractical or impossible to experience in real life, but through a combination of research, imagination, and literary ingenuity, one can understand and experience the otherwise impossible through writing.

6. INFINITE POTENTIAL

While writing might not be particularly lucrative from a practical standpoint, it’s one of the biggest potential moneymakers; while the per-piece value of writing is remarkably low (owing to the competitive nature of writing, coupled with the willingness of most writers give away their work for free), the potential of writing is high, because you can always write more! For the conditioned writer, for example, it’s possible (if they were to push themselves) to output one quality novel a day– that’s 365 novels a year! There is also infinite potential on what type of content to write about; writers invent new genres, niches, trends, and even new religions on a regular basis, and there’s no limit to what you can write about, the style you choose to write it, the medium through which you write, or the criteria for your writing. It’s all fair game; the whole of reality and fantasy alike are at your disposal, for you to do with as you please.

While perhaps you could achieve most of the benefits of writing without making it a career, you won’t truly experience the joy of writing until you take it seriously; while a hobbyist can output creativity, the professional writer produces art.

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Jun 01

8 Ways to Untap Your Literary Genius

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
From Through The Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll

For creative spirits like us, the difficulty in producing quality writing does not lie in the generation of ideas, but in conveying them in a way that their meaning will be fully appreciated.

Perfecting the craft may take years or even decades, but you can become a good writer by putting in the appropriate amount of dedication, creativity, curiosity and a little patience. These four factors will make all the difference in your writing, helping you to say what you mean… and much, much more.

The first step to becoming a good writer is to establish a good foundation through keeping good literary habits.

More specifically:

1. Do a lot of reading, and be as well-rounded in what you read as possible. While the type of writing you do (or are intending to do) might be targeted to a specialized audience, all quality writing has some common attributes. Thus, the more reading you do, the better of a writer you become: as a writer, what you read becomes a rich repertoire you can tap into.

2. Do a lot of writing. Even if you are a terrible writer, write anyway; even if you can’t think of anything valuable to say, write about anything you can think of. Everyone has to start somewhere, and no one starts off writing masterpieces off-the-top-of-their-head. Continue writing crap, and before you know it, that “crap” will evolve into something beautiful, and you will be that much closer to becoming an accomplished writer. Just as you should aim to read a wide variety of texts, you should also aim to write with different voices and styles. Experiment with every type of writing – poetry, plays, journalism, fiction, and nonfiction. Every type of writing will help you to delve deeper into who you are and the voice (or voices) that best fit your personality.

Continue reading “8 Ways to Untap Your Literary Genius” »

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