Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Oct 16, 2011

Blog Rules, Good for all Writings

Filed under: Writing — Tags: — admin @ 12:58 am

On 8/7/2011, while cleaning old stuffs, I dug out a piece of paper with some blogging rules, written on 6/21/2008. I was a bit surprised, well, they were laid out by myself for myself. I don’t think I have followed them. I consider them to be good rules for any writing, though I have clearly wiped them out of my mind all these years.

Follow these rules in all circumstances–
(1) Non-judgmental
(2) Keep level-headed
(3) Decent language
(4) Clear thinking
(5) Consistent writing style
(6) Keep the humor
(7) Proof-read everything before going out
(8) Always remember you broadcast globally every time you publish a posting.

1, Feb 21, 2011

A Good Writing Skill Very Crucial

Filed under: Writing — admin @ 12:32 am

During the second week of January of 2011, I had the pleasure of reading a short writing by a 9-year-old boy. After that I had some email exchanges with his parent. I am glad to see the efforts on the part of the youngster and his parents. I have always emphasized the importance of good writing to my children.

When I was teaching at IPFW in 1995, I told my students that writing was an intellectual activities which demanded at least a clear thinking, logic and coherent, and a good flow of language. You would not be able to come up with anything worth reading if your head is as muddled as a dense pool of mud.

I believe nothing reveals a person’s quality, clarity and the depth of thinking more thoroughly than his writings. For a child, writing also demonstrates the level of maturity in his thinking. For an adult, his writing provides a window through which readers gain a peep at the writer as a person. One of my favorite columnists is Paul Krugman working at the New York Times. Reading his writings reminds me so much of this Chinese saying, that is, a writing is the mirror of the writer.

1, Nov 24, 2010

Spartan, Laconic, Brevity in Writing

Filed under: Writing — admin @ 12:55 am

On the Sunday morning of 11/14, while I was walking, I listened to Modern Scholar lecturers — “Wars That Made the Western World: The Persian Wars, the Peloponnesian War, and the Punic Wars.” I thought of the story that I read long ago about the origin of the word laconic. It happened in the land of Laconia-Spartan. King Philip of Macedon wrote to Spartan magistrates, expressing his desire to conquer Sparta, “If I invade your country, I will level your great city” The answer from the Spartan was one word, “If.” Indeed, that was a big IF. That was how we got the word laconic.

Just a few days before that, I read someone’s motto of life — Action speaks louder than words. I am sure this person is spartanly laconic. His motto threatens to put me to shame as I have been uttering non-laconically for over two years. No wonder sometimes my children find it difficult to put up with me when I start talking. Hence, I will strive for brevity in my writing.

1, Apr 5, 2010

The Prerequisite to Good Writing

Filed under: Writing — admin @ 12:46 am

I had a wearisome Sunday yesterday, driving to airport twice, first to send the nephew to New York at noon, second to fetch the other adult in the household from 8:50 PM yesterday to 2 AM today, plus driving my daughter to skating in between. I also did a lot of house cleaning yesterday, as if I enjoyed it.

On one weekend, the day after my daughter’s birthday, while she was skating at Ice Sport, I had a nice chat with the mother of another skater. When she talked about the writing skill of her little one, I thought of another parent who has the same issue with her child.

To be sure, this seems a common problem with many school students. They either don’t have much to write about or write as tasteless as tap water, nothing enlightening or even worth-reading. Their book report is like a retelling the story without any personal input.

Parents need to realize that one prerequisite for a piece of quality writing is good thinking. I remember when I was in primary school, after reading a book or watching a show, I was asked to write a report on it, not a pleasant thing especially on some hot summer day. Before taking up pencils, I was told to answer questions like these, what does the author want to tell his readers through the book? How does the author do it? Has he succeeded?

In a sense, it is up to the parents to guide the child forward with some thought-provoking questions, leading them to always go one step further and deeper, challenging them to think independently and differently. If they cannot think of anything else, how can we expect them to write well?

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