effective writing – three strategies

Keeping an ideas file or carrying a notebook for spontaneous notes ensures that when it’s time to write, you’re synthesizing and expanding upon already collected material, making the task less daunting and more about connecting existing dots.

The discourse on effective writing guidance is perennial, with much advice often seeming contradictory or overly complex. Yet, certain strategies stand out for their ability to significantly enhance both the productivity and the quality of a writer’s output. Here are three refined tips that I believe would embody this principle, based on my experience of writing here.

Writing as Directional Guidance

Consider writing as an act of directing someone’s attention to something noteworthy, akin to pointing out a distinct landmark in a vast landscape. This perspective aids in identifying which details are crucial for the reader’s understanding and which are superfluous, ensuring that the narrative is neither condescending nor lacking in information. By adopting this method, writers can more effectively engage their audience, guiding them through complex ideas with clarity and precision.

The Strategy of Pausing

While regular writing habits and goals are essential, the practice of deliberately stopping after achieving a daily objective is equally important. Halting work at a predetermined point, even amidst a surge of creativity, cultivates discipline and ensures a sustainable approach to writing. This technique, favoring shorter, focused writing periods, prevents burnout and keeps the task from becoming overwhelming, facilitating consistent progress over time.

Building Upon an Ideas Repository

To alleviate the pressure of starting from a blank page, shift focus towards developing a reservoir of ideas, insights, and observations. This preparatory work transforms the act of writing into the culmination of ongoing thought processes, rather than the inception. Employing a system to organize these thoughts— (Personally, I collect my ideas in Google Keep notes whenever I think of themes to write or illustrate. )—can streamline the writing process. Keeping an ideas file or carrying a notebook for spontaneous notes ensures that when it’s time to write, you’re synthesizing and expanding upon already collected material, making the task less daunting and more about connecting existing dots. Implementing these strategies not only simplifies the writing process but also enriches the writer’s engagement with their craft, transforming it from a solitary task into an integrated, thoughtful practice.

knowing to wait.

Everything comes in time to him who knows how to wait” told Leo Tolstoy once.
This is a very profound statement on exercising patience and unravelling the beauty of persistence. This broadly applies to everything small and big and could be a material entity, an experience or anything longed for that matter. This can also imply on working very hard on a potential opportunity found. It’s a beautiful, yet hard phase of being unshattered and unwavered by provocation, misfortune, annoyances. It’s a work in progress on let’s say a willingness to bite down restlessness and anger when confronted with delay. It’s in that calm state of mind yearned for in a soul with steady perseavarance, gentle dillingence and even tempered care. It’s a powerful deployment for endurance. Every uncertainity, every hardship (small or large as battles fought within are different and real for different people), every misfortune on the outset is an opportunity for doing things different and to walk out of your usual comfort zone. Relying on divine will and being calm and composed no matter what happens, is one of the biggest comforts of this life. Me, you, everyone is a work in progress. God bless !

place in your head

“Place in your head” – Original Fine Art from The Border of a Mind Studios

“Writing is a job, a talent, but it’s also the place to go in your head. It is the imaginary friend you drink your tea with, in the afternoon.”

Ann Patchett, Truth and Beauty

writing magic.

Writing and the connection achieved by it sometimes have a transformative effect that’s often magical. It’s often how you discover your true tribe.

Illustrated by The Border Of a Mind Studios

“Writing, if nothing else, is a bridge between two people, a bridge made of language. And language belongs to all of us. If I enjoy a poem, that just means I am recognizing within it something of myself, something I must already possess. Therefore, to love a poem is to love a part of myself revealed to me by another person…I really believe that writing is the closest thing we have to true magic. Where else, but in words, can we discover each other out of thin air?”

― Ocean Vuong

intangible transience

Every aspect, object elucidates a story woven with transience. The flowers in the garden, the plants in the office, the wrinkles on your face, dried tree trunks, broken glass pans, aged furniture, sunset. Life is fragile and short. There’s no permanence, only a yearning within our minds for everlasting life.


“Every spirit passing through the world fingers the tangible and mars the mutable, and finally has come to look and not to buy. So shoes are worn and hassocks are sat upon and finally everything is left where it was and the spirit passes on, just as the wind in the orchard picks up the leaves from the ground as if there were no other pleasure in the world but brown leaves, as if it would deck, clothe, flesh itself in flourishes of dusty brown apple leaves, and then drops them all in a heap at the side of the house and goes on.”

― Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping

Fragility | Transience

a gauging pause.

I’m very ardent and passionate about learning things online. Whatever little skills that I count on, including building this very website you see here are self-taught. Over the past several days, I’ve been pondering on information consumption and the prevalent model of content delivery and its status quo. It’s easy to learn something from YouTube or any other online platform for example, and that could hop on to a stage of following the personality or tutor online, and in most cases, there’s a very good probability that you’ll be bombarded with a lot of sponsorship videos and ‘obscure’ ads purported as informative or engaging original content that you were originally behind them for. Yes, it’s totally understandable that these content creators would need advertisements to sustain themselves if that’s their full-time profession, but I think the advertising model prevalent on online platforms, especially the way of sneaking in ads without being explicit about it tend to jeopardize the value of time for the content consumer in the long run if thought is given to it. This sort of an evaluation mindset made me rescan all the regular channels that I engage with for learning or infotainment and I’m on the point of a reboot. God willing, I’m making a conscious plan of wielding time for skill enhancements by being selective with the choices. Life is too short to be buried in regular ads on online platforms. God willing, I’ve broad plans to learn a new language and to enhance some coding knowledge to automate a lot of things and chores.

neuron highways!

A quick illustration on the theme of Neuron Highways

Our brain has about 100 billion neurons in them. When you read this blog now, or when you smell the fragrance you wear, when you hear sounds, in short, when you do everything, electrical signals race between these neurons along billions of tiny neuron highways. The messages sent by neurons in your brain is more than the messages sent by all phones in this world. All neurons together in the brain can generate enough electricity to power a low-wattage bulb. Knowing our senses, knowing ourselves, and pondering on the wonders is the key that unlocks many mysteries of this world.

The World is Inside You

Part of Ponder Series

The “world” is inside you :)

Vision is so magical if we ponder about its intricacies. A photograph of Netta that I took from Havelock Islands

The title of the post might make you puzzled. But I would like to take you through a small journey of thoughts and discover the secret embodied in the title! It’ll be good if you can be distraction-free for two minutes as you read this, as this is a very important reality that can blow your mind! I value your time. Let’s think together : )

Today, we are adding a slice into our Ponder Series. I read something along these lines about a decade ago through several books that profoundly changed my perspectives on how we perceive the world. If you haven’t read about this theme before, this could possibly be a key that could unlock many secrets of thoughts and perceptions about people and things around you and everything happening to you. Right now, you’d be reading these words on your phone/tablet or PC. If it’s the phone, for example, you’d be now scrolling with your fingers on the phone screen or touching your mouse/touchpad if you’re reading on a computer. Reality for most people is what they can see with their eyes & touch with their hands. You touch your phone now while reading this and believe that it’s real. This is the normal conception of reality that has conquered generations and their views. But there’s a deeper side to it if we ponder deeply. Everything we confront and experience – everything – the chair that you sit on, the bed you sleep on, the window of your room, the buildings near you, roads, cars, people you see, spaces, cafes, your loved ones, the experiences we go through in life, in short everything is perceived through our five senses. We know this well, but have you wondered how this magic really happens! Let’s ponder on how the information of the exterior world reaches you through your senses.

You and me have five sensory faculties – sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. If we think about it from a scientific point of view, all these senses work in the same way. For each sensory faculties, stimuli from objects in the external world and taken through these senses and nerves carry them to the sensory centers in the brain. These stimuli that induce these signals include lights (for vision), sounds (for hearing), smells, tastes, textures (for touch). These stimuli reach the brain only as electric signals.

Let’s take our vision as an example. Light rays (photons) emanating from different objects around you reach the retina at the back of your eye system and passing through several stages, they get converted into electrical signals. These signals then reach the brain’s vision centre through the nerves. This colorful and bright three-dimensional imagery that you see is formed at this vision centre, which is only a few cubic centimeters. So, when you hold your phone in your hand, you’re perceiving the “image” of the phone at the back of your brain in a minuscule space. This system of electrical impulses broadly applies to our other senses as well.

“Experiencing” an orange juice through sensory faculties

When you taste a glass of fresh orange juice, cells on your tongue surface transfer the stimuli into electrical signals that we perceive as taste. The aroma of the fresh orange juice near you is transformed into electrical signals by the cells in the epithelium of the nose. When you touch the glass cup, there are special sensors that are lodged beneath the skin surfaces that transform touch impulses and sensations of hardness/softness to electric signals. Similarly, your ear also have a similar mechanism that converts sounds into electricals signals. That’s how you hear the sound of the glass when you place it on the table. You perceive that you are drinking an orange juice when all these senses cohesively and harmoniously work together with these electrical signals for different senses.

Now is the important concept that needs to be thought about. Whether the orange juice exists or not cannot be known by us. The “orange juice” that you know is a blend or collection of its taste sensed by the tongue, its odour sensed by your nose, the color, and shape captured by your eyes, and only its attributes perceived through these senses is what is accessible to you. You don’t have access to the “original” version outside. It shows the limitation of ours to reach the physical world. Everything around us we are in touch with and our experiences are a compiled effect of different perceptions such as sight, hearing, and touch. All we can do is process the data of electrical impulses in our brain’s sensory centers of our brains. So, instead of the “original” of the matter, we are confronting its “copies” inside our brain. At THIS point, we tend to believe that the copies that we experience are the real matter outside, which is not the case as we just examined 🙂

Orange juice that you drank is only a simulation. Which orange juice is real? The one that is formed by your senses or the real one on the table? It’s no doubt that we are experiencing an aggregate of our perceptions throughout our lives. From every object you touch to anything you experience are perceptions. So whatever you touch, hear, smell and define as “matter”, or what you think as “the world we live in” is nothing else but an interpretation of electrical signals in our brain. The “original” cannot be reached, but only its copy is experienced in your brain! So that means if your olfactory nerve from the nose receptors are disconnected, you cannot feel the sense of smell.

Similar concept shall be extended to the sense of space and distance as well. When you read these words on this page, the distance between you and this page is emptiness perceived in your brain. When you think of stars or moon, you think they appear distant in the sky, but what you’re actually seeing is within you, in your vision center. So, as you sit and read this blog post now, you are technically not inside the room you think you are in, but the room is inside you! The body deceives you in thinking that we’re inside it. Like the orange juice we just discussed, your physical body is also a set of images or perceptions formed in your brain!

You may be able to comprehend this better when you think of how you dream. When you dream, you may experience that you’re riding a horse for example, but in reality, you’d realize that you were on the bed when you wake up from your slumber.

That brings us to the conclusion that our access to the external world is very limited. Now you would understand why saints say that the universe is within you! The way we look at our world changes when we understand and comprehend that our soul is experiencing and watching everything on a screen. Everything is inside you. Think about it. Ponder about this magic happening every single moment. Thank you for reading Ponder Series with me 🙂

Some of the chapters from the Ponder Series that you can read on :

> Perceiving Time
Ornate Blossoms
Visual Narrative – Ponder Series
Reflecting on Shadows
Stumble over Pebbles
Ethereal Quality | Petals
Golden Ratio
Vision – Pondering on the intricacies
Ruminating on Bird Nests
Living Embellishments
Pondering on Birds 

If you are reading this series for the first time, have a look at the intent post.

Maker’s time

When you read something that absolutely resonates with what we have to express, that’s an aha moment. Now, I’m in such a pleasant disposition after reading a good essay and I thought of putting down my thoughts on it. Lately, I came across some very interesting essays by Paul Graham. I know that in this world of lesser attention spans, most of us are reluctant to use our time for long format reads. But let me tell you, these are very insightful. One of the essays that I’d like to specifically mention here goes with the title: Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s schedule

In this essay, he outlines the schedule of two types of people – Makers and Managers. ” Maker ” refers to somebody who’s engaged in creative work. “Makers” can be painters, musicians, technical engineers, programmers, writers, etc. The other type of schedule is of the “Manager” who’s in some cases “bosses” or somebody who’s on manager schedule.
He writes it really well in articulating the kind of “mindset” that makers and managers work. Makers and Manager both work in different frames of minds and have different concepts of conceiving time. He explains it in the context of having meetings by explaining how time is considered from the point of view of a maker and a manager. He explains this point as below

“Maker’s Time” Visual Stories

There are two types of schedule, which I’ll call the manager’s schedule and the maker’s schedule. The manager’s schedule is for bosses. It’s embodied in the traditional appointment book, with each day cut into one-hour intervals. You can block off several hours for a single task if you need to, but by default you change what you’re doing every hour.

When you use time that way, it’s merely a practical problem to meet with someone. Find an open slot in your schedule, book them, and you’re done.

Most powerful people are on the manager’s schedule. It’s the schedule of command. But there’s another way of using time that’s common among people who make things, like programmers and writers. They generally prefer to use time in units of half a day at least. You can’t write or program well in units of an hour. That’s barely enough time to get started.

Quoted from “Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule”, Essay by Paul Graham

You see, he absolutely nails it on the point on explaining this aspect. Managers on handling the logistics and time frames of activities of makers often consider and use time differently. Makers (Examples- painters, musicians, technical engineers, programmers, writers, etc) on the other hand require deep engagement in their work and normally work on a different frame of mind requiring content creation / technical problem solving, etc. The day for managers are divided into pieces for meetings, calls, follow up emails, and other administrative tasks. Makers are looking for large portions of uninterrupted and unscheduled time to do any sort of creative work they’re engaged in. He explains this difference in the context of meetings as a good example that’s relatable to a lot of people.

One reason programmers dislike meetings so much is that they’re on a different type of schedule from other people. Meetings cost them more.
When you’re operating on the maker’s schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon, by breaking it into two pieces each too small to do anything hard in. Plus you have to remember to go to the meeting. That’s no problem for someone on the manager’s schedule. There’s always something coming on the next hour; the only question is what. But when someone on the maker’s schedule has a meeting, they have to think about it.
For someone on the maker’s schedule, having a meeting is like throwing an exception. It doesn’t merely cause you to switch from one task to another; it changes the mode in which you work.

Quoted from “Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule”, Essay by Paul Graham

I’m sure that he has a very broad understanding such that he’s able to understand the difference very clearly. He further writes

I find one meeting can sometimes affect a whole day. A meeting commonly blows at least half a day, by breaking up a morning or afternoon. But in addition there’s sometimes a cascading effect. If I know the afternoon is going to be broken up, I’m slightly less likely to start something ambitious in the morning. I know this may sound oversensitive, but if you’re a maker, think of your own case. Don’t your spirits rise at the thought of having an entire day free to work, with no appointments at all? Well, that means your spirits are correspondingly depressed when you don’t. And ambitious projects are by definition close to the limits of your capacity. A small decrease in morale is enough to kill them off.
Each type of schedule works fine by itself. Problems arise when they meet. Since most powerful people operate on the manager’s schedule, they’re in a position to make everyone resonate at their frequency if they want to. But the smarter ones restrain themselves if they know that some of the people working for them need long chunks of time to work in.

Quoted from “Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule”, Essay by Paul Graham

The essay glides over to other aspects on advising startups and other companies to have a more understanding work culture by educating people on the difference in which makers and managers work. One thing he points out in the later part of the essay is that “When you’re operating on the manager’s schedule you can do something you’d never want to do on the maker’s: you can have speculative meetings. You can meet someone just to get to know one another. If you have an empty slot in your schedule, why not? Maybe it will turn out you can help one another in some way“. He jokingly refers to the distinctive language of “grab a coffee” commonly used as a means of proposing these speculative meetings.
These speculative meetings cost terribly for a maker in terms of his time. The fine thin line between blowing our schedules and offending people is the way to steer the way ahead. It’s a very narrow line and often I find that makers are often the ones willing to compromise.

I would technically fall in the category of a maker by its description. I’m a mechanical design engineer by profession. I work on concept designing of engineering products, develop structural calculations to back up an engineering concept & its engineering intent and use, working with teams to develop sketches and engineering drawings sufficient for prototyping a product and also work extensively on costing a product & obviously this includes costing a lot of its internal sub-assemblies. Often at times, I do engage in engineering simulations to evaluate the efficiency of a designed component without prototyping or manufacturing. I can absolutely relate when the essay speaks of the way the maker outlines his time of efficient work. Of course, a maker would definitely get questions like “When do you think you can finish this? , “When would you get this done? “, ” At what date you can complete this work?” etc. A cohesive understanding of all parties and being considerate, understanding, and gentle is what matters in achieving a common goal. You may be falling into either one of these types and probably this could give some insight on the frame of mind in which time is conceived by different people. I hope you found this interesting. Happy to know your thoughts.

Some of my other articles that I’d like to link here if you’d like to skim through
Small Businesses – Lines of Thought
Instilling Compassionate Prudence

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vibe tribes

Do what you love to discover your tribe

The theme behind this poster graphics is a reflection to have our own vibes to find our tribes. Be it photography, art, writing, engineering, philosophy, sociology, you name it, the tribes of your liking would find you if you really do with lots of love what chimes well with your passion. These need not be always troves of social media following rallying behind you. It can be a small group of good friends in your realm or space who loves what you do and shares the same sense of aesthetics that you effuse or in the mental space, you are in. I’ve always felt that the size of the audience does not matter in any art. Quantification or monetary value has never been and never would be a measure of self-worth and fulfillment. Although not always possible for all of us, to the best, let’s try doing what we love. Rest apprised, we live in a world where even the next minute or next hour or the next day is not guaranteed for us. We only have this moment.