Taking the time to unplug
Creative Sparks: #21
My girlfriend and I spent the entire week in Bali.
No fancy agendas or jam-packed schedules. The majority of the shopping we did was in … the supermarket and mini-marts.
All we wanted to relax, get some space from our responsibilities in Singapore and more importantly, unplug from the digital world.
And yes, to read some books and spend time with each other.
At first, it felt weird.
When you’re always on the go, it feels weird to suddenly stop. But without the pressure of always being connected, you have the space to step away, gain clarity and reflect on the year that’s passing.
That being said, on to this edition’s articles that I’ll love to share today!
I’m also using this digest as an avenue to share my love for books; what I’m reading now and penning down my thoughts.
7 Articles around the Web that made me stop and think
1. This Tumblr Explanation of Men’s Emotional Needs Might Encourage You to Compliment the Men in Your Life More Often
This Tumblr Explanation of Men's Emotional Needs Might Encourage You to Compliment the Men in Your…
Over the past several decades, there has been a massive movement - rightfully so - to be consciously encouraging to…
Girlfriends, wives, and partners weigh in on how satisfying it feels to take care of their male partner's emotional needs and more importantly, how much the men enjoy it.
2. The 200 Writing Prompts & Ideas That Get Me Through Each Year by Simone Michaud
The 200 Writing Prompts That Get Me Through Each Year
The hardest thing for me when I decided to begin writing professionally was thinking of what type of content to…
Simone Michaud shares a massive list of 200 writing prompts she uses to spark creativity and battle writer’s block. Ranging from simple everyday situations to the fantastical, this is one for writers and storytellers to bookmark.
3. How Dictionary.com’s Twitter account got so cleverly woke — Fast Company.
How Dictionary.com's Twitter account got so cleverly woke
Language is freedom. One of the more insidious aspects of the dystopian hellscape glimpsed in Orwell's 1984 is the…
How do you promote one of the most ubiquitous and boring (at least at first glance) products in the world on social media?
Here’s a fascinating story of how Dictionary.com’s Twitter account combines clever marketing with informative, trending content and a sassy tone of voice on the nature of language itself.
“We aim to provide [Twitterers] context and a deeper understanding of the words they see being used by celebrities, by news organizations, even by their own friends and family,”
Jeanne Safer, social media editor of dictionary.com
4. Empty Your Cup: A Zen Proverb on Opening Yourself to New Ideas by Melissa Chu
Empty Your Cup: A Zen Proverb on Opening Yourself to New Ideas
There is a famous proverb about a teacup. Although there are multiple versions, here is my favorite one:
Before asking someone to teach you something, empty yourself of your opinions and pre-conceived judgments.
The scholar cried “Stop! The cup is full already. Can’t you see?”
“Exactly,” the Zen master replied with a smile. “You are like this cup — so full of ideas that nothing more will fit in. Come back to me with an empty cup.”
5. Unless they’re true: Dwight Garner’s favorite quotations, in conversation with each other — TLS
Unless they're true
Make your own Bible. Select and collect all those words and sentences that in all your reading have been to you like…
Journalist and literary critic Dwight Garner shares his favorite quotations from his years of maintaining his commonplace book — a specially filtered bunch of snippets and quotes that resonates with him.
The quotes are fascinating by themselves, but I’m more interested in the concept and execution behind the commonplace book.
I use my own commonplace book as an /aide-mémoire/, a kind of external hard drive. Reading it is a way of warding off what Christopher Hitchens, quoting a friend, called CRAFT (Can’t Remember a Fucking Thing) syndrome. I use my gleanings in my own writing. Like Montaigne, I quote others “in order to better express myself”. Montaigne compared quoting well to arranging other people’s flowers. Sometimes, I sense, I quote too often, swinging on them in my writing as if from vine to vine. It’s one of the curses of spending a lifetime as a word-eater, and of retaining, so far, a semi-reliable memory.
Garner liberally quoted from others and openly acknowledges the influence of others on his work. Thoughtful lessons on the needless pressure we put on ourselves to produce original work.
6. How to Write a Full Novel on Your Phone by August Birch
How to Write a Full Novel on Your Phone
Do your best work using the device you always have in your pocket
Starved for time? No time to sit down for a solid 2 hours to write?
Why not try writing on your phone?
August Birch shares his process of how he uses his phone to write complete stories. Writing isn’t confined to in-depth writing retreats and long stretches of time by the computer.
You can also make do with the time and devices you have most of us have on us all the time — our mobile phone.
He also has a fascinating, informative series on writing here.
7. Twenty-Five Useful Thinking Tools by Scott Young
Twenty-Five Useful Thinking Tools | Scott H Young
Most people think being smart is about having more facts. Trivia-shows like Jeopardy! epitomize this view of knowledge…
In this superb illustrated article, Scott Young shows us another way to think about mental models and problem-solving.
Abstracting various thinking and problem-solving methods from common professions, there’s lots to digest here on approaching issues and seeing them through different lenses.
“If you’re an entrepreneur, what would your business look like if you approached it like an artist, or a teacher, or a novelist?
If you’re a programmer, how would your code improve if you took the tools of a salesperson or accountant?
If you’re a journalist, what would change about your pieces if acted like a scientist, economist or plumber?”
A quote that made me think:
Retweet does not, as they say on Twitter, necessarily equal endorsement. Dwight Garner
Books I’m reading:
- I finished reading and reviewing Jenny Han’s whimsical YA romance novel To All The Boys I Loved Before.
- I also completed Kathryn Stockett’s The Help, a riveting tale of black housekeepers in a racially segregated America in the 1960s. Made me think about how we treat our foreign domestic workers; especially in a country like Singapore. Review coming soon!
- Slowly working through one of my favorite behavioral psychologist’s Dan Ariely’s new book — Dollars and Sense.
Every 2 weeks, I curate some of the articles and thoughts I find around the internet along with some of the things I’m up to. Want to get more of this in your inbox? Follow this publication/read previous editions here.