The Personal Rewards of Clear Writing
... are not in heaven. Plus how not to write women
Why do I keep advocating for clear writing? Like a well-organised workstation, clear writing reflects an organised mind. It’s a classic chicken and egg situation; writing your thoughts can help declutter your mind.
Two years ago, I wrote we should all be writers to help document the present. My view hasn’t changed, but in thinking about how hard writing can be, I remind myself that it’s also good for me to continue to write. Here are some arguments:
Writing helps me stay organised: my to-do list, task and project trackers
Writing makes me feel good: because ‘having written’ = a state of happiness, I can extrapolate and say the process of writing clearly (what I want to write), knowing it’ll end in joy is capable of keeping me happy.
Writing is my way of staying tethered to the different worlds I straddle: literary writer, lawyer, tech bro, etc. You only know I’m any of these things because I allow my ideas from these experiences to spill into my letters. Although I’m not keen on personal branding, if you are, consistently writing as you solve problems, form opinions, and learn new things can position you as an expert or at least a knowledgeable member of that community.
Writing helps me keep track of my achievements: it’s the third month of 2022, and I wouldn’t remember that I’ve written over thirty thousand words, been nominated for a super secretive award, been longlisted for another, and more if I didn’t write. My journal is instrumented so that I can curate what I’ve achieved by answering prompts at a certain cadence.
Writing helps me realise how little I know. I learn more when I write
Writing brings me money 😅✨
These are only a few personal rewards, and you might find some of them helpful on days when you feel like giving up.
The dangers of writing women
or everything I learned from Sula and Nel’s relationship in Sula
More often than not, male authors portray unrealistic female characters in their novels. These women are one dimensional: too good, too innocent, incapable of making decisions themselves, overly reliant on their father, brother or son. They are the dictionary meaning of harmful stereotypes.
Think of the damsel of distress story trope. Their body parts are exaggerated and ridiculous. They lack the dark underarms, acne, scars, and more that make them like you or me. Instead, they are bottle-shaped and petite, with the right gap between their thighs.
It’s perhaps why I have a natural bias for reading female authors. They allow me to read real women. I started to pay more attention to badly-written female characters after reading Toni Morrison’s Sula. If you haven’t read it, you should. I must warn you that Sula does things that’ll infuriate you. For example, she sleeps with her best friend’s husband and hurts others around her. It’s likely deliberate for Toni Morrison to have put Sula and Nel (opposites as best friends!) in this story. Nel is quiet, Sula is aggressive. Nel is the epitome of gender roles. Sula is resistance. Toni Morrison is not saying that there are only two kinds of women; in their mothers and the other women in the book, we taste different flavours: women who can be ‘good’ and at the same time ‘bad.’
Sula, in particular, is a reminder that because a group is marginalised doesn’t make them less human and subject to flaws and quirks.
If you’re a writer or filmmaker — or any creator — (especially as you make content for women’s day) resist the idea that women can only be one thing.
I couldn’t write last week because I was busy with some other tasks with tight deadlines. Here’s a list of the articles I would’ve shared in that letter:
Focusing on one idea is a great way to improve your writing.
Talking to yourself in a self-compassionate tone will help you achieve your goals in multiple ways.
How does living in small spaces affect our well-being? Find out here.
“Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again.” Read more here.
The twins who just turned 100
Your guide to getting rid of everything — the art of decluttering
In the absence of culinary information, people assume that any information they’ve been given must be essential.
When did everybody start calling themselves content creators?
As always, thanks for reading. Have a great weekend. ❤️