I have been asked several times about my nocturnal writings, this random collection of thoughts expressed each evening before bedtime. Tonight, I’ll share the scoop and clue you in about what’s happening.
For those of you who have started reading recently, or who have only seen my scribbles since I made the switch to posting on my site rather than Facebook, I’ve been writing nightly since a couple of weeks into lockdown. There’s no theme and no pattern, I just pen whatever I think appropriate that night.
Inspiration is provided by a random thought, a news headline, a conversation, an observation, something I read online or in a book, the list is endless. What I do then is simply scribble a single line in my notebook and refer to it when the time to start writing arrives.
In general, this writing takes anything between 20 minutes and an hour, with a little leeway if there is any research required for fact-checking and to ensure clarity of thought. Each piece is different, with very little external input required for the thought tonight while I would consult several information sources for something more topical.
Since there is no compensation involved in these creations, the question of why I would choose to create anything in the first place comes to mind. I write not for publication in the traditional sense (a recognised periodical of some description) and I do not promote the content outside of my own social media channels.
This is purely an exercise in mental entertainment, a hobby, an inconsequential indulgence in the written word to be taken seriously by no-one, not even myself. That I choose to share it is simply because it is possible, because the technology available makes it as easy as not sharing it at all.
If you have any wish to write, then the advice I have to offer is to simply start. It needn’t be any good, in this respect it can take after mine. Most important is that you write, that you become used to sharing written information and develop a discipline for writing regularly.
The more you write, the better you will become and the larger your vocabulary will grow. There are myriad writing apps and assistants to be found online, but I recommend starting without assistance, focus instead of the quality of your content – give people something interesting to read.
Interesting subject matter will grow your audience far more effectively than anything else you do. Write consistently on your chosen subject and you will find more and more eyes devouring your words.
Make the difficult decision about what you would like to share, then keep sharing that and the rest will happen. Getting started will be your biggest challenge and the discipline to write regularly will develop as you persevere.
On a final note, it was today (September 9) 181 years ago that John Herschel, scientist and astronomer, made the first photograph on a glass plate. Herschel is the man created with coining the word “photography” and spent some time here in South Africa both observing the stars and documenting the local flora, along with his wife. Herschel also created the cyanotype, the chrysotype and dabbled with colour photography. The photographic terms negative and positive are also attributed to him.