Archive for June, 2007

Life Sucks: Writing on the bad days

Sometimes life just sucks.

Normally I am a fairly optimistic person. I try to see the potential in every situation. I try to see the good in everyone. I try to have a positive outlook on life. But then – some days just deal a very poor hand of cards to work with.

Take the last 48 hours, for example. I try not to grumble too much about my diabetes, but there are times when it just gets me so down that everything that matters just gets too much. I just want to curl up in bed and sleep forever. I know it’s not me but rather the illness that is so debilitating, but it sure gets a stranglehold on me.

When I have times like the last two days I tend to get depressed, emotional, defeatist and it is a terrible struggle to get out of that deep hole and get on with my writing. Just getting down these few words has been a mighty struggle.

How do other writers cope with serious illness? Some of my readers must have more serious conditions than mine, and yet you cope. Share your ideas and thoughts in the comments below so we can all learn to draw strength from each other.

Some strategies to try:

Meanwhile, here are some strategies I’ve tried today – with some moderate success in overcoming the down time:

  1. Tap a nap – it can be refreshing to body and mind.
  2. Do a crossword puzzle – it would have helped if I’d solved it!
  3. Watch a favourite DVD – I knew all those old episodes of MASH would come in handy.
  4. Go for a walk – at least the weather was a little kinder this afternoon.
  5. Give yourself some time off – to get a life.

So – what about your suggestions??

Leave a comment – I’d appreciate your input.

UPDATE: I solved the cryptic crossword later in the evening. Yes!

The importance of reading

“The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.” Mark Twain.

If you don’t read you are missing out on a great way of learning as well as a wonderful way of improving your life. Books can instruct, inform, entertain, motivate and inspire. This is a simple and relatively inexpensive (if you join a library) method of growing as a person. Drawing on the wisdom of the ages, books cover every subject you can imagine.

Writing and the importance of reading:

For writers, reading is essential. Reading a wide range of authors in a wide range of genre is a very effective way of helping your development as a writer. All the different styles of writing, the range of voices used and the techniques employed by published authors will help develop your own style and voice.

Develop the habit of reading. Resolve to never let a day go by without reading something.

For me though, there remains just one problem – finding the time to read all the books I would love to read.

Making your writing more readable

Most writers aim to communicate with their readers.

For your writing to communicate with your readers, it needs to be readable. For a text to be readable it has some – if not all – of these characteristics:

  1. It must be easily understood.
  2. It must be free of errors.
  3. It must keep to the point.
  4. It must be enjoyable or meet a reader’s need.
  5. It must be concise, not rambling on unnecessarily.

Related articles:

This article was in response to an article posted by Raj Dash on the Performancing Blog. The article is called 7 suggestions for making your blog writing more accessible. My thanks to Darren Rowse for this link.

Poem #31 Sadness


How can the sadness in my heart

Be expressed in mere words?

The agony, fear and hopelessness

Have drowned my spirit for many days.

I crave for peace and stillness

Within my long tormented soul.

When will I be delivered forever

From this pain?

I escape from the cruel reality

Into the warm comfort of your loving arms.

I am drawn into the soft cocoon

Of your ever tender, enfolding love.

My joy is but transitory.

The cold still remains.

My soul bleeds.

I am going.

Love me.

Copyright 2007 Trevor W. Hampel

Read more of my poetry here.

The art of effective communication

Writing is all about effective communication.

I believe that effective writing is usually simple writing. If my writing is complex or sprinkled with long or infrequently used words or jargon, I will not be communicating effectively. By keeping my writing simple, clear and easy to understand, I make the best effort possible to communicate my ideas to my readers.

But what if you don’t know what words to use?

Over the last year or so a group of Chinese immigrants have moved into our district. Some of these people have not yet learned to speak or read English. A group of people who have giving them ESL* lessons asked if they could use our church building for their lessons. Because of our background in teaching children with learning difficulties, my wife and I have commenced helping those with the poorest grasp of English.

Just one problem: they know very little English, and we know NO Chinese.

How do we communicate?

We have learned very quickly that we need to keep things extremely simple. We use mime frequently, we smile a lot and laugh at each other’s mistakes. It has made us reassess the very basics of our language, the building blocks of English and how it all works to make communication possible.

I’m so glad our six students are so well behaved; they really do want to learn and that makes all the difference.

[*ESL means English as a Second Language]