Thailand University Teacher Extraordinaire

The trials and tribulations of a young English teacher

Goodbye MSN Spaces, Hello WordPress

on Mon,Nov,2011

Two years ago, I received an email from hotmail informing me that MSN Spaces would effectively be discontinued. I had the choice of transferring all of my posts to a new blog at WordPress or downloading a file containing all of my posts to my computer. I hadn’t written on that blog for aeons, but it was a labour of love when I was a university student. I was dedicated and invested many afternoons and evenings sharing my short musings with anyone who would care to read.  After several frustrating hours spent trying to figure out how to move everything over though, I gave up and reluctantly took option two, vowing that one day I would figure it all out and that I would once again have a blog filled with hundreds of thoughts, feelings, theories and other general nonsense.  Two years have passed, and still no meaningful progress had been made. Then I rediscovered Zinsser.

Zinsser, or rather William Zinsser to be polite and proper, wrote a book that many consider to be a writer’s masterpiece. The book is titled ‘On Writing’, and it lays out the dos and don’ts of writing non-fiction. It’s a book I discovered in my first year as a university teacher, and it helped me enormously when writing materials for my various courses as well as when writing general tomfoolery in my free time.

One key point that he makes, is that many writers need structure. If they decide to only write on a whim and have no clear goals, it’s very difficult to write anything of any real quality if anything at all. If a writer has structure though – if they sit down to write for a set amount of time on a set number of days a week – they are much more likely to write something meaningful, which they can be proud of.

Shortly after I downloaded my blog, I read through a few random posts and was delighted with what I had written. Many of my posts had a light and playful tone, which it seems I have since lost. It was interesting to see what my attitudes were towards various people and issues and how they have since changed. What had started out as a lazy Saturday afternoon -mostly spent aimlessly trudging from website to website – became an exciting rediscovery of who I was in my early 20s.

Thanks – although I’m sure some would say curses – to Zinsser, I’ve decided that I will not only start writing regularly again but that I will slowly start uploading my old posts from my student days to this blog. Writing is a craft. I’m excited to have rediscovered it.

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