Brain Pickings on Writing


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Maria Popova. Photograph by Elizabeth Lippman for The New York Times

Writing this post about Brain Pickings gave me an opportunity to reflect on my own writing and this blog. Apart from this post, I have two more to go before I reach 500 posts on Tribalmystic blog. Over a year ago I set out to write 1000 stories. I have told close to half of that in stories and pictures. In the beginning, I questioned my own crazy motive to do such thing. It was a goal I thought was unachievable as soon as I wrote that damn post. Then, the more I wrote, I realised that I could actually reach this goal. Some of what I write is just simply information-sharing. Not too much thought has been put into those writings and I’m grateful for the sources of the information. Others, I spent a little time on it between chores, work,  family and my other interests. That is because I believe in those posts and I feel they are important in enriching my life and if they enrich others’ lives too, that’s even better. As for short stories, I enjoy it so much, it is like a game. If I had to write a fiction short story – the game is on. I guess it is a kind of icing on my cake – short, sharp and sweet in my writing world. Mondays Finish the Story by Barbara Beacham took that edge off me, but with her gone, I have to re-direct this passion into the next part of this blog.

I also enjoy visiting, reading and learning from your blogs. Learning about you, your culture, your life, pain, happiness and what we all call life experiences. Sometimes I go back through followers list to re-visit and see the transitions and transformations, just like opening a book in the library shelf and stepping into a new moment, completely leaving the present behind. Life is but a journey of transformations. I enjoy you sharing your transformations with me.

I could name many, but one of the blogs, I visit, Brain Pickings is for my pleasure of reading, my admiration for its writings and the digest’s archives are a wealth of knowledge. I started this post by trying to think of the best way to show Maria Popova’s piece on The Agony of the Artist, to Susan Sontag’s comments about writing and many more. The post went from Popova’s writings to my 500 posts …and in the end, I thought, the best way was to connect you to Brain Pickings itself other than to only discuss a few posts.

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Susan Sontag – From Brain Pickings

Brain Pickings is one of my favourite online digests because I keep finding things I want to read which takes me into another article and that makes me want to find out about something else again and again. It is like a travelling foodie who never stops discovering a divine dish on a foodie tour. I guess it comes down to what each of us like and this content appeals to me. Blogger and creator of Brain Pickings, Maria Popova was interviewed about how she came up with her blog and why she chooses the subjects she does. This is probably something I would like to do in the future which is to interview some of my blogger friends. It is not an original idea, but it is wonderful to find out about people you talk to and share information regularly with. And Chris the Story-Reading Ape – I owe you.

I believe the real challenge in writing is knowing your reader. But, how do we get to know the reader? That is what I hope to know one day. I think Popova has covered this – knowing what is right for her readers and maintaining that interest with her content.

There are so many articles Popova has written that I wanted to share on Tribalmystic blog several times, but you can visit and read them yourself. This is a link to what she calls, seven important lessons Popova has learnt in seven years about reading, writing and living.

Here is briefly what Popova said about her writing and her blog:

“Brain Pickings is my one-woman labor of love — a subjective lens on what matters in the world and why. Mostly, it’s a record of my own becoming as a person — intellectually, creatively, spiritually — and an inquiry into how to live and what it means to lead a good life.”

You can listen to her interview on her About Page.

Founded in 2006 as a weekly email that went out to seven friends and eventually brought online, the site was included in the Library of Congress permanent web archive in 2012.

Click here and enjoy Brain Pickings

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