4 Reasons Why You Should Read Historical Fiction

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For some students, history might be a boring subject. It might be a teacher who doesn’t know how to attract students’ interest in history or the students don’t like to memorize years and figures in every historical events.

I’ve heard one of my friend said, “It’s just past events. Why should we care about something that left behind?” Do you think the same?

I won’t write about the importance of studying or learning history here. But, I want to talk a little bit about historical fiction.

Some of you might love fiction. No matter what the genres are. It can be romance, action, thriller, drama, horror, fantasy, science fiction (sci-fi) etc. But, how about historical fiction?

If you think that historical fiction is the same as your history text book, I can tell you that’s not true. As its name, it’s written based on historical event. So, writing a historical fiction means timeline, places, nuances, situations and the event itself must be suitable with the historical facts.

Then, where’s the fiction touch in it? The fiction touch can be found in the characters of the stories.

Lately, I’ve been trying to read historical fiction. My father have many books of this genre. So, I’ll read some pages during my leisure and I try to finish them.

Well, let me tell you some reasons why you should read a historical fiction (from my perspective).

  1. Reading a historical fiction is one of the best yet fun way to study or learn history. You don’t need to memorize years, places, figures event agreement’s content like when you read your history text book. Just enjoy the story and you still get knowledge or information about what happened in that eras. I think it will make you understand the history better.
  2. It gives you some life lessons that would be relevant to nowadays and the future. Beside having a better understanding of the history itself, you can get life lessons or moral values of the stories. So, the answer of my friend’s question above is learning history (even though through historical fiction) can be a good reminder for everyone to not falling into the same mistakes in the future.
  3. You can enjoy the storyline, characters, relationship between the characters, character development, dialogues, actions, even the beauty of the words without losing a focus on historical values
  4. You can find humanist sides from the characters of the story. Although a character is described as a brave hero or idealist activist who’s struggling for freedom and justice, he/she is just a human with strength and weakness. He/she could have fragile and emotional side. And you might not find this kind of little piece in your text book.

Do you like to read historical fiction? What historical fiction is your favorite and why? Let’s share.

Why Every Writer Needs Writing Break?

photo by Vlada Karpovich

Which one do you choose? Write everyday or take several days in a week to write?

For some people, writing isn’t only a hobby. It’s their main jobs.

They might be journalists, columnists, novelists, essayists, poets, editors, copywriters etc.

They gain money from writing.

Meanwhile, some people, who make writing as their hobbies, writing is one of the best stress reliever. It can be a great escape from busy days.

I think we couldn’t agree more that writing has many advantages.

It helps you to speak your mind and heart out through the words. Helping you to ease the pain and burden.

Writing is often used as therapy for people with mental disorders. Psychologist or psychiatrist often suggest them to express their problem honestly through expressive writing.

If you want to make some money while doing your hobby, writing can be one of the best choice. Whether you do it as your main or just side job.

Isn’t it a fun thing to do?

But, I have to admit that sometimes we can feel bored of what we do. No matter how we love writing, there’re times when we need to take a break.

So, here are the reasons why every writer needs writing break.

  1. To give you some times to refresh your mind. Don’t force yourself to write when your body, mind and soul are exhausted. Deadline, report, meeting, presentation, dealing with client, assignment, exams etc can be really exhausting for you. Breath fresh air, eat healthily, do workout, meditate, take a rest, do something fun or relaxing to refresh your mind and gain more energy.
  2. To give you some times to explore new ideas from various sources. Sometimes, you’re feeling stuck and lack of ideas. You just stare at a blank page and no words are coming. Yeah, that’s writers block. So, you need to break the writers block by taking your time to explore new ideas from various sources. You can read a book, blogwalking and greet your blogger friends, take a walk around your home, gardening, travelling (notes : don’t forget to follow Covid-19 protocol during pandemic), talk to your family/friends/loved ones etc. It’s really helpful.
  3. To give you some times to evaluate your writing. Maybe you wrote it in a hurry, so it might have some mistakes and not proper enough. Maybe you didn’t have much time to write, so, you only did a short writing (except poem). After re-reading and evaluating, you realize that the idea of your writing can be developed more.

So, how do you spend your writing break? Let me know your opinion and experience in the comment section.

Have a great day, everyone!

How I Apply Kaizen Method in My Writing Process

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Have you ever had a writer’s block? I think it’s the problem that usually occur to every author.

Then, why could it happen? How do you handle this problem?

In the sector of lean manufacturing industry, this method is well-known and become a widely applied-philosophy by managements in business world. It is known as kaizen method.

Kaizen (derives from the word “kai” means change and “zen” means for the better) is a management method that originated from Japan, and was rooted in the classical Japanese philosophy and ideas. Kaizen philosophy emphasizes on “continuos incremental improvement“. It applies not only in industrial field or management-related things, but also other aspect of life, such as personal life, home life, social life, farming, construction, craftmanship, local government and humanity as a whole.

Many writings are written and published out there. Article, book, journal etc. They might discuss the same issue, topic or problem, but have you tried to find the weakness and criticize the content as well? Have you identified what’s still lacking from the writing?

Nobody is perfect. Same as writing. The weakness can be cause by lack of valid data and fact ,bias interpretation or opinion, contains logical fallacy, no longer relevant to current condition or limited knowledge of the author (especially in non-fiction or popular scientific writings).

So, here are the tips of how I apply kaizen method in my writing process.

  1. Read, read and read
    One of the best way to find ideas and inspirations is reading.
    You can read a book, article, journal, news, magazine etc. Read, then understand and contemplate it.
  2. Criticize the whole content
    After reading, you should identify the weakness so that you’d know what is lacking and how you can fill the “empty” part.
  3. Try to find another point of view
    As I said before, the writings can discuss the same issue, topic or problem. So, you should add “novelty” in your writing.
    Try to find different point of view that is still rare to discuss.
    You can explain it from socio-cultural, economics, environment, art, political and religious aspect (and other aspect). You can tell your own experience (it can be your parents, friends, spouse or others experience as well) if necessary.
  4. Write, write and write
    Just write what’s coming in your mind when everything is ready.
    Do not procrastinate if you really have a chance and time to write or the inspiration will disappear. Beware, inspiration is expensive and valuable.
  5. Check your writing
    Don’t forget to check and edit your writing before clicking the “publish” button.
    Read again your writing and make sure that everything is alright (free from typos, coherence within sentences and paragraphs, use of punctuation and so on). No need to rush.

Well, any other tips you want to add or share? Feel free to share in the comment section below.

Have a great day, everyone!

Poem Makes Me More Honest to Myself

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I used to think that someone could be more poetic when he/she fall in love and broken heart. Is it true? After I had an interaction with poem for several months ago, I realized that it could be true and not (It depends on the person and what he/she write about). The opinion isn’t completely wrong, but also not completely right. How come?

I said it’s not completely wrong because from my observation (I’m sorry if I can’t mention the exact number or percentage accurately because it’s not for survey or research purpose), there’re many great poems was born from the hands of poet who’re in love or broken heart. Especially if someone who’s broken hearted failed to move on. Beside poems about fall in love and broken heart, there’s one more poem that often left deep impression on me. Poems about longing. (Falling in love and broken heart aren’t complete without longing).

But, I said that it’s not completely right because there’re also many poems were created out of social issues concern. There’re poems about nationalism. There’re poems about the beauty of nature that can increase our admiration for His greatness. And many more, outside the falling in love and broken heart topics.

Regardless of whatever the poem’s theme was written on, a poem still has the special place in my heart. Like what you see on the title, that’s one of reasons why poem is special for me. All good and bad experiences, regret and mistakes in the past, dream and hopes in the future, something I don’t/want to do, imagination, gratitude, longing etc. I can tell about them all in my poem. I can capture the beauty of life through my poem. I can capture life’s problem through my poem. I always feel relieved after making a confession through my poem. I find and define myself through my poem. It feels like a therapy for me.

Have a great day, everyone! Don’t forget to be happy.

A Good Writing Doesn’t Need to be Complicated and Convoluted

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Writing is an art, not an exact science

When you study math, 1+1 = 2 not 3,4,5 or 100. It applies everywhere around the world. Whether you’re in Indonesia or Malaysia, in US or UK, in Sahara or Antartica, 1+1 = 2. You can’t treat writing like a math or physics or chemistry which has many theories, postulates, laws, formulas and hundreds or even thousands of complex mathematical calculations. Sometimes, writing isn’t only about ‘brain’s work’ but also ‘feelings’, except you write a thesis/dissertation/scientific journal/research paper or in other words ‘academic writing’. So, does it mean we can write carelessly without obeying the rules?

Of course, that’s A BIG NO! Although you can write anything you want, you can write in varies forms, you can write with your own style, you still have to obey the rules. Then, what are the rules that must be obeyed?

  • First, originality and authenticity are must! Every writer has their own style and way in expressing their ideas or feelings through writing. They also have their perspective in figuring out the problems or phenomenon around them. Originality is more about how you think independently and creatively when you create something. Meanwhile authenticity is more about the quality of something that you create.
  • Second, plagiarism isn’t permitted! Because you have to be creative and your writings have to be authentic, there shouldn’t be an element of plagiarism in your works. It’s okay to take an inspiration from others, but, don’t be a copycat!
  • Third, pay attention to the use of punctuation, capital letters, spelling, diction, grammar and other writing techniques. Maybe, it’s a bit difficult and troublesome. But, it’s important when you want to publish your writing on media or publish your own book. Because, if the technical things like this get messed up, your work can be rejected. Well, actually, it can be learned while still writing.
  • Fourth, cohesiveness between sentences, paragraphs and title and its contents. Don’t make a clickbait article!
  • Fifth, be careful of typos! If there’re only few typos, no problem. But, too many typos are so annoying and hurt your readers eyes.

No need certain education level or bachelor degree to be a good writer. Because a good writer is forged through learning continuously. It’s not only about ‘raw talent’, but also hardwork and even smartwork. Because talent without hardwork is nothing.

A good writing is simple yet understandable, not complicated and convoluted. You don’t need to use many scientific or difficult words, except you write a thesis/dissertation/scientific journal/research paper or in other words ‘academic writing’. Remember, your readers are from various background. What if they are uneducated people? (I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to insult or underestimate them). Let alone them, even highly educated people sometimes can be lazy and bored when read something too theoretical (I don’t know how about you, but, I feel it XD). They may have different educational,social,cultural and religious backgrounds from you. So, you have to make sure that your explanation can be understood by them. Even better if you can make them relate to what you write. Don’t get me wrong, a simple yet understandable writing isn’t easy to be created. Because not all people can explain difficult and complicated things simply.

Have a great day, everyone! Don’t forget to be happy.

The Number of Likes/Comments/Shares/Followers Doesn’t Show Your Success

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How long have you been blogged? 1 year? 2 years? 3 years? Or just a couple of months? If you have been blogged for several years or if you’re more senior blogger, it’s normal to have many followers on your blog. Because you’re far more experience than newcomers or bloggers who just started blogging for several months. Especially if you’re writer/artist/blogger/famous person whose work is well-known everywhere. It will not difficult for you to gain readers and followers because they’re already know you. So, for you, who’re newcomers or several months bloggers, if you haven’t gotten the attentions and recognitions like them, it’s okay. You’ve just started. You still have long way to go. You need more patiences to learn from them. There’s no instant for success.

Many bloggers quit blogging because they didn’t get the attentions and recognitions as they expected before. I think it’s not only happen on WordPress, but everywhere. The same thing happened on the online community writing that I joined in. Many members there gave up or became lack of spirit because their articles could only attracts few readers/votes/comments/followers. Finally, they never appear and write again on that site.

Another classic reason they often used for quit blogging is they don’t know what should be written. We called it lack of ideas and inspirations. Maybe, they are not really lack of ideas, but they are too strict to the perfection. Maybe, they have many ideas to be written and published, but, they want their writing to be perfect. So, they never start to write anything. Actually, there’s no perfection in this world. Your writings are no exception. No matter how professional you are, no matter how great your works, you won’t ever meet a perfection.

It feels weird if you want to be a great writer but you immadiately give up and quit just because the number of likes/comments/shares/followers that are not meet your expectations. Learning process is indeed not easy. It takes sacrifice, whether it’s mind, energy, time and even money. You’ll also experience pain from learning process, whether it’s fatigue, worry, rejection and even failure. Your success isn’t determined by the number of likes/comments/shares/followers. Good or bad quality of your writing isn’t determined by how often you receive praises for your writing. But, you’ll know how good or bad your writing is, when you never stop writing and brave enough to publish it. A good writing is something that can give benefits for its readers, whether it can be informative, inspirational, motivational and even entertaining to others. And you can be considered as successful when people get the benefit from your writing, even if only 1 or 2 people.

Have a great day, everyone! Don’t forget to be happy.

3 Common Mistakes That Writers Often Do

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Everyone makes mistakes. Not only an amateur writer, but a pro or someone who has long experience on writing might do the mistakes. Making mistakes is normal as long as you know how to fix it and promise yourself to not doing the same thing again in the future. Today I want to write and share this article for you as a reminder for you and for me to not making these following mistakes below.

  1. Waiting for an inspiration. An inspiration was not awaited, but sought. If you just waiting for inspiration comes to you, you’ll never ever write. So, how do you get the inspirations? There’re many ways to get the inspirations. But, the most important thing among them all is read a lot. I think there’s no amazing writer who doesn’t like reading. Without read a lot, your understanding of something is very limited. Beside that, your writing will be monotone and boring because you only write about the same thing too many times. Another ways that you can try are watching TV news, watching a movie, listening to music, attending workshop/training/colloquium/discussion even travelling-domesticaly or internationally. Write something that you like or closest to your life experience.
  2. Imitating others’ style. I believe everyone has unique and different writing style. I know that media always has tendency to like a writing with certain style more which is considered suit their tastes. I also know that a writing we made should be understandable for readers so that the informations and messages can be conveyed to the readers. There’s nothing wrong when we admire others’ writing style. But, we don’t need to write like him/her. Write like yourself with your own writing style. No need to think too much about people’s judgements. They have the right to like or dislike our writing. If they don’t like our writing style, doesn’t mean our writing are suck. Bad according to them is not necessarily bad according to others. No need to push yourself too hard to always follow the trend or market tastes. Be yourself and show your different colors to the world.
  3. Inconsistent on writing. If you want to be great writer, keep practicing writing. Your talent is nothing without learning and practicing. You can be defeated by those who keep practicing diligently. Don’t make writer’s block and lack of inspirations your reasons to not writing. Don’t let the number of readers, like and hate comments affect your spirit on writing. Writing needs patience, perserverance and consistency. Being a great writer takes long process that is not instant.

Have you ever made those mistakes? Are there any other mistakes you have made? It’s okay to make mistakes. You always can learn something new from them.

Have a great day everyone! Don’t forget to be happy.

Me and Literature : How Can I Fall in Love with Literature?

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Some people assume that literature is just a fiction and imagination. Not scientific. So, its existence is often underestimated by them. Reading a literature work is assumed as unimportant and useless. In fact, a literature work contains of many life lessons and moral values without patronizing the readers.

I have no literary blood from my family. There’s no one in my family works in the literature field. Most of them are not literature lovers too. I also never studied literature through formal education. I’m not literature student. I took natural science as my major in high school. Then I studied accounting when I entered the college. So, how can I fall in love with literature?

That’s because of my father. My father is the first person who introduced- and later, make me fall in love with literature. My father used to subscribe to the Sunday-morning newspaper and magazines too. Luckily, there’s a literature column in the newspaper which contains poetry and short stories sent by the readers. I loved to read them all even though I didn’t really understand what’s the poetry and short stories talking about and the meaning behind them. But, I enjoyed how the writers expressed their thoughts and feeling through the string of words beautifully.

My father likes to read literary novels and owns a lot. Some of them were taken home, and he kept the rest at his home in Jakarta (my father works at another city and he returns to home in Yogyakarta once every month). Historical roman is what he likes the most.

One of my father’s treasure. I found it when I cleaning. I haven’t finished it yet. source : private document

When I was in middle and high school, I joined in journalistic club at my school. In a journalistic club, I found friends who have an interest in literature and I learned a lot from them.I remembered my Indonesian teachers quite often give us assignments to write short stories, poems, make a review of literature work etc. Even one of my teacher has told us to collect our poems and short stories into a book. My friends often complained when they got writing assignments. But, not for me. For me, writing is love, writing is life.

Literature has made me fall in love with words, crazy about diction and thirsty for meaning. Literature has awakened my awareness to be human being who brings all past, wounds, tears, laughter and hopes, then assembling them into a complete story of the future. Helping me in understanding humanity and its culture better (yeah, I love the things related to humanity and culture). And now, I realize that we are the main character of our respective stories even though we are only supporting character or cameo in other’s stories.

Have a great day everyone! Don’t forget to be happy.

New Challenge

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Believe it or not, life without challenge is not fun. Challenge is needed in our life to make us learning and growing up. Challenge helps you to find out “the other side of yourself” (read : talent and skill you never realized before). Challenge also can make you stronger and wiser in facing your life problem.

I think successful people are the people who are brave in receiving the challenge. They aren’t afraid to go out of their comfort zone. They have been already success in defeating their own fears. Fears often become the worst enemy which always prevent us for doing anything.

Since July 6th, 2019, I decided to join in online community writing on the largest microblogging sites in Indonesia. By joining the community, I hope I can learn more from senior writers there. I also hope I can build a good relation to other members or at least get some of discussion friends from different background. I’d love to spread my wings in an authorship world.

We should be grateful for the technological advancement because it has provided many platforms for us to speak up our minds to the world. Printed media is no longer the only media to share our ideas and thoughts. With technological advancement, you can write on your social media or create a personal blog and publish your work there. You also can join in online community writing or submit your work to the well-known and credible online media or even publish your first e-book. And for me, trying to take every available chance is the new challenge.

Is there any new challenge you want to try (in writing or anything else) ?

Have a great day everyone! Don’t forget to be happy

My Thoughts On Musical Taste

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I won’t explain it in difficult way with certain analyzes like a great musician or professional. I just want to share my thoughts on musical taste in a simple yet understandable way. So, if you’re musician or music experts or someone who’s more talented in music than me, I hope you can understand what I’m talking about and I’m sorry if I made a lot of mistakes in my writing today.

I’ve often said in my post if someone’s taste and preference is different between one and another, including in music. It’s so subjective. We can’t force others to like something what I like and vice versa. There’s nothing wrong with personal taste and preference. I also don’t really know what affects someone’s musical taste. Is it because of culture or habit that grow up in a place where they live? I don’t know. For example, in my beloved country, Indonesia, there’s one of most popular music genre here called ‘dangdut‘. Almost in every event, whether it’s wedding party, folk art festival, political party campaigns even in public transportation (usually in a bus) and night club, there’s always dangdut. This genre has many fans from different age range, from younger people to old generations.

For some people, this genre is often associated with lower class society and people who like it are considered as people with ‘low taste‘ of music. But, I don’t agree with this opinion even though I’m not a big fan of dangdut. In my opinion, just because you like certain music genres, it doesn’t make you more superior or exclusive than anyone else even though you like non-mainstream music (it’s okay if you don’t agree). If you don’t like it, ignore. No need to blame on it. Music is universal language. No matter what your ethnicity/race/nationality/religion/sex/age, music always has its own fans. Whatever it is.

Musical taste can be affected by age and era. People around my parents age tend to prefer old music, e.g. 70-80’s music. Meanwhile people around my age or around my brother and sister’s age tend to prefer more trendy music , e.g. late 90’s music or 2000’s music. But, there’s an exception too in it. I have an acquaintance-one of my college senior, who’s several months older than me, loves 80’s music and some other old music. My friend’s mother, who’s at her 50 years, can enjoy 2000’s music. People with those musical tastes, sometimes make people around their age wonder, “why does he/she listen such a kind of music like that?”

Sometimes, someone’s musical taste is not easy to understand, especially a person who has unusual or non-mainstream musical taste. My father loves classical jazz and blues. He said that many of his friends often consider his musical taste is weird and unusual. But, for me, instead of weird and unusual, I could say that his musical taste is unique and cool (I said that not because he’s my father.But, I really respect and appreciate his thoughts of it, just like I respect and appreciate those who have the same thoughts as him.). The same thing applies to my senior too. Yeah, he’s unique and cool. (I’m even curious now, is there anyone of you can give me recommendations of nice old music? If yes, what is it? )

Tbh, I often feel confused when someone asks me what type of music I usually listen to. Sometimes, I love listening to certain music type based on my condition. In the morning, I prefer to play fun, happy, upbeat and energetic music (maybe kinda loud too) for setting up my good mood and rising up my spirit. In the night or when I need to cooling down, I prefer to play soothing, calm and relaxing music. Well, maybe many of you are doing the same thing.

Have a great day everyone! Don’t forget to be happy