by Richard L. Weaver II, Ph.D.
This is truly
hard to believe — but I say this every year! A seventh anniversary
means the completion of about 364 essays and 364,000 words! Had you
asked me when I started whether I would reach this goal, the answer
would have been an emphatic, “No way!” I didn’t think it would be
possible to make it for a single year, much less seven.
There are several
observations I can share after seven years of writing essays. The
first is that I have discovered the best time of the year for me with
respect to getting writing accomplished (composing essays) is January,
February, and March. Following the completion of reading my
tenth-edition (Communicating Effectively, 10e (McGraw-Hill, 2012) proof
copy (January 14, 2011), I wrote all 52 essays for 2012 before April 1,
2011. Now, that doesn’t mean there won’t be others nor that there won’t
be changes or that the order has been decided. I always reserve room
for further development.
Another thing I
have discovered is that the very best time for writing essays is when I
am most moved to write them. The excitement I have about a topic can
wane quickly, so to capture the stimulation means writing when the
passion, pleasure, and delight are at their peak. On our Southeast Asia
cruise, for example, I was fortunate to have a sea day (call that a
“free” day) to write after each port visit, so while the thrill was
there, and while the specific facts, views, and experiences were fresh, I
would compose the essay. (The seventeen essays that covered our
Southeast Asia trip were posted beginning in March, 2011, and continued
for four months.)
Excitement is insufficient to sustain an essay. Passion is great, but it takes more than that to complete an essay.
I enjoy writing
my essays when I am traveling for several reasons. The first is that I
take my trips off as business expenses — so there is some (although
quite limited) monetary gain involved. Second, the material is fresh
and keeps my mind active. Third, when I write out my essays long hand, I
have time to think through my information. It is a slower process than
when I write on the computer. (I have no laptop, and I take no PC with
me when I travel.) Fourth, when I write out my essays long hand, I
bring them home and type them into my computer. This process is
incredibly important for it is at this point I am able to polish, edit,
and change my material. The essay is strengthened considerably by this
There is another
process that comes into play when I type my information into the
computer. So often, I do not know a great deal about some of the things
I write about. That is, I have no background or history of what I
observe. When I type material into the computer, I am able to do some
serious research. For example, when we were on the island of St. Lucia,
my wife and I were introduced to the casava cake — about which I wanted
to write but knew little. When I Googled casava cake I not only found
out the ingredients but discovered, too, the casava cake’s etymology,
how to bake them, and where they are popular. It was, indeed, a
One of the
ancillary benefits of this process of writing essays is the education I
gain along the way. For example, I never knew as much as I do now about
each of the places we visited on our Southeast Asia trip nor about the
island of St. Lucia where we stayed for a week. I am learning so much!
was not one of the motivations for writing essays, it has proven to be
rewarding. I was a very good student in school, and I never had to push
myself to work — complete papers, finish reports, or do my homework.
Perhaps, the part
of my education that I disliked most was working in groups. I always
preferred independent work. Why? Because I discovered quite early in
my schooling that group members, in general, were lazy. Rather than do
their share of the work, often they would depend on the hardworking
members and derive their grade because of them. Never wanting to
sacrifice a group grade because of the laziness of those with whom I had
to work, I was always one of those hardworking, prolific, productive,
and energetic members. I never thought of it as serving as a cover for
lazy members, I was eager to save my own neck!
In seven years of
writing essays I have discovered there are some topics that are
repeated, but I have discovered, as well, that it doesn’t matter to me.
Why? Simply because I am an evolving, changing, thinking, creative
person and, thus, I seldom look back to what I have written before. I
write essays on topics I am inspired about at the time, and my thoughts
change; whether an essay is duplicated or not doesn’t concern me.
I go through very
fertile times — like January through March, as mentioned above. During
that time, I come up with numerous new subject areas, and I have found
that my best way of capturing (writing about) those topics is to write
them down when they occur to me. For that reason, I have note paper in
my bathroom. Often when I am exercising before jogging three days a
week, I will abruptly stop what I am doing, rush upstairs, and write
down the topic.
When I was
driving to the Maumee Public Library (part of the Lucas County Public
Library system), I thought of the title for my collection of travel
essays (Exotic Destinations). It came to me out of the blue, and I
wasn’t thinking directly about that forthcoming book at all. This is
often the way a subject, title, approach, or way of saying something
occurs — unheralded and unannounced. What I have to do is be ready —
prepared to capture it at once. When I wait, the idea may not occur
again, or it may even come back but in a new form.
fascinating thing to me about writing 364 essays is that I have even
been able to come up with that many topics. I have seldom had to search
or dig deeply. Now, I admit, I peruse a number of news magazines each
week, and I read a minimum of two newspapers every day, plus I review
books (one book is reviewed weekly on my blog); thus, I am bombarded by
new and refreshing ideas on a regular basis. I am truly delighted by
and accepting of all kinds of information — and my travels simply add to
all this material.
I am thrilled to
have a blog. I love writing essays, and I am pleased to be able to
share my thoughts, ideas, and emotions with others. If this wasn’t
true, I would bring all of this to an end. If you — my readers — have
any ideas to add, or if there are topics you would enjoy seeing me write
about, please contact me. I always love hearing from my readers.
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“The importance of celebrating your anniversary,” is an essay at ArticleSnatch.com.
One of the comments in the article reads as follows: “Celebrating
anniversaries can be one of the best ways to keep the spark alive in
your relationship. When you remember where you've been and all the hard
times you've gotten through together will be easy to hold, a series of
anniversary ideas that come to mind.” Yes, it’s about relationship; my
writing is designed to promote a relationship between my readers and me,
so it’s not that far off!
counsellor and hypnotherapist, has an essay, “The Importance of
Anniversaries” in which she begins her essay saying: “Anniversaries are
an important opportunity to stop and take time to reflect on the
significance of a particular person, day or time in our life.” She ends
her essay with a comment that reflects where I am in essay writing: “We
can take the time on these days [anniversaries] to value what we have
done, appreciate how courageous we have been and give ourselves credit
for our achievements.”
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Copyright September, 2012, by And Then Some Publishing L.L.C.