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A'ishah K. Posts

It’s never too late to (re)-start doing anything

Hello everyone, we meet again.

After publishing on how I write my poems earlier last week, I realize that I actually hardly know anything about poetry. I simply write, based on my little understanding and belief of how it should be, or sound.

I discussed with a friend, about the famous poets versus the ‘poet’ poets. The ‘poet’ poets that we talked about are those people who are really the master of words and literature, doctorate in poetry I supposed. Their pieces are often too abstract and normal people like us might have some struggle to understand them. I guess, that’s just art.

While the famous poets (and they are typically famous on Instagram), they speak in a soothing language people instantly get addicted to. Their poems are flowery and beautiful but at the same time, way easier to understand, sometimes I wonder, is that even poetry at all – it just sounds like love letters to me. Writers like Lang Leav and Najwa Zebian have massive followings on the net and their copies sold in millions around the world. They write to reach and inspire people.

These two categories are not necessarily different from each other, it’s just the balance of internal and external factors. The passion for art versus the intention to touch people’s heart. (No pun intended but that rhymes!)

Looking at both and wondering where I stand, sadly I don’t think I fall into either category.

First, I have almost zero qualification in literature. Even my English is struggling.

Second, I don’t think people can easily relate to my poems. That’s because, I hardly think about the audience while I write. My poems are always written for one person hahah, and even that one person sometimes doesn’t get it.

But, it’s never too late to do anything. And it’s never too late to (re)-start wherever you are.

I’m in the midst of compiling all my poems for a poetry book. I already have around 40-ish number of poems ready and currently writing more to stretch to 100. Being rejected by publishers are normal for new writers, I’m very aware of that. But at least, I don’t want to look so stupid upon my submission. I want to have better foundation of what I’m doing, of what I love doing. It’s like you claim that you’re a chef and you love cooking but your food taste funny.

And so, maybe I need to dig more on other people’s pieces to know what the audience love to ‘eat’. I’m aspired to have the balance of both – to be that ‘poet’ poet everyone can relate to. For that, I’m also currently learning poetry literature basic to brush up my skills and hopefully I’ll get better in this!

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Top 3 Blogs on Simple Living and Minimalism

Simple living is being self-sufficient and satisfied with whatever we have.

It’s a voluntary choice.

I think I’ve learned about myself a lot by trying to live a simple life and keep my possession and wants to the minimal. Sometimes, I do wonder if I might be missing many things in life by wanting and having less, and afraid my drive to strive is lessen by my contentment of everything around me, along with the fact that I have the urge to always reduce what I already have now.

But, no. So far, not at all. In fact, by freeing my time and space for other stuff I’m not so sure about, I give myself the opportunity to pursue more and work harder on the few important things that remains, such as this blog and writing practice in general. Writing is not material. Writing doesn’t cost money. But Writing contributes to my well being; to my sanity, acts as a form of self-expression and it’s my sense of accomplishment. Writing does play a big part in my life.

And other than my own instinct to get better everyday, I really enjoy (read: need) the existence of simple living and minimalism websites on the internet. they feed me with inspiration and assurance that I’m not the only one who feel good with this lifestyle.

Today I will share with all of you, my Top 3 blogs that I read on simple living and minimalism.

I will always come back to these three picks, especially during early of the month when I get my salary banked in into my account and very tempted to go shopping. I guess it works every time, though not entirely.

1. Zen Habits

This is the first blog I encounter on minimalism and simple living.

The word Zen comes from a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition. The word now is widely used to describe a total state of focus that incorporates the togetherness of body and mind. Zen involves dropping illusion and seeing things without distortion created by our own thoughts.

To put it straightforwardly, for me Zen is mindfulness and clarity.

Zen Habits blog is about finding simplicity and mindfulness in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, and find happiness.

The author’s name is Leo Babauta, lived in Davis, California with his wife and six kids. Other than his good content on minimalism, I really enjoy his writing style and the consistent, refreshing, and eye-opening insight on this life we’re living.

2. The Minimalists

They are really THE minimalist. This iconic duo have inspired many people and more people in this journey.

Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus has help over 20 million people live meaningful lives with less through their website, books, podcast, and documentary. The Minimalists have been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Forbes, TIME, ABC, CBS, NBC, BBC, CBC, and NPR.

They are currently on road tour all over the United States to educate people on simple living lifestyle.

I’m a die hard fan of these two, I’m really touched by their stories on how they started, something that I totally can relate to. And I also love listening to their podcast. Their cheerful attitude and their sense of humor, I think I can finish their episodes all at once, in one time – if I have the time.

3. Cait Flanders

Her blog is famous with No Shopping Ban which I tried to do 2 months back. It was partly successful, to be fair.

In the past five years, Cait Flanders has paid off her debt, completed a two-year shopping ban, embraced minimalism and gotten rid of 75% of her belongings and now she’s living a life as how she always wanted to. Reading her journey makes me realize that everything is possible when we have clear goals along with strong determination to achieve it.

It’s not easy but it gets easier and it’s worth it.

So, that’s all from me and my recommendation. Go check out the three blogs and hopefully, you’ll be inspired. Toodles!

 

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How I Write My Poems

I prepared dinner so quickly, it’s not even 7 yet (Iftar today at 7:25 pm) and now I’m too tired to do anything already i.e cleaning my house and laundry. So, I took my laptop out (she’s nice today Alhamdulillah) and think maybe I could  just sit here and free-write.

Hello blogosphere,

First of all, Selamat Berbuka Berpuasa if you’re a Muslim.

Secondly, in case if you’re wondering, free-writing is a pre-writing technique in which a person writes continuously for a set period of time without regard to spelling, grammar, or topic. It produces raw, often unusable material, but helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and self-criticism. Source

So here I am free writing, or free blogging if you would like to call it. I do this all the time. I figure out what I’m writing about when it’s already half way through the process. And that’s mostly applied to my journal entry, or a blog post like this.

But I think, it’s quite different when I’m writing a poem.

A girlfriend (with her cute little kids) staying over at my place last week asked me about my poems. She’s amazed on how I choose certain words over certain words in my poems and she’s curious about my whole process of writing it. Is it really like jotting down prophecy or random inspiration? She said that every line sounds like different stories but as a whole, go well with each other. I take that as a compliment though I sometimes cringed re-reading most of my pieces – too many grammatical errors and awkward combination of words.

So, I told her about my workflow trying to convince her it actually can be done by anyone. Oh yes, there’s a workflow.

If there’s even prophecy in writing poems, it’s only one thing. The feelings. I think feelings are the core to a poem. At least for me. Other elements are mostly composable and there’s always a way to work around it.

#1 The trigger – feelings!

My steps are; first, I’ll write down that feeling. It’s like describing a situation. Sometimes a story, but a short one.

This is the skeleton. The details, the sequence or arrangement doesn’t matter at this point, I just need to get the setting and the feel; how I want the readers to be impacted after reading the poem.

#2 The words. All the words

Then I’ll write as many words and phrases as possible to describe the feeling in both languages English and Malay. I’ll also think about the possible metaphors or similes that I can use. This is the step where ‘brainstorming’ happen. The paper will look like a mind map with clouds of words everywhere rather than lines after lines of sentences

#3 The puzzle

I don’t know how everyone else is doing this but my composing step starts when I put the story and all the words altogether like playing a puzzle. This is the most fun part of the process, it’s like fashion designing and mix-matching the words to get the best outfits, in this case, the poem.

Resources

My English is not so perfect so I used Grammarly to check my grammar (there’s a premium version of Grammarly and I just use the free one) I go to Rhymer.com to find words that rhyme, I think Rhymer.com is the top secret here. I discover many new words from there and my vocabulary improves each time I completed a poem.

Apart from that, I also rely on Thesaurus a lot and simply, the Google. You have no idea how extensive the research just to compose a single line. I believe it’s the same thing when someone is writing a book. Not just doing research, but a writer will also try different jobs and stay at different places just to experience different characters for their books!

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