KTamas' Blog

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Posts about writersblock

I Am Not Sponsored by Grammarly but at This Point I Really Should Be

· 361 words · 2 min read

I was going to finally get back to work on my latest series before I distracted myself with other things, like tweaking my blog (word counts! reading time! endlessly tweaking the CSS!) as well as continuing to cross-post some of my writings from here. One thing I noticed is how my writing has improved over the last month (at least in my opinion). I was also mildly horrified how bad my spelling and grammar was before I started using Grammarly. Through this process, I fixed many early mistakes in those posts, though I don’t think I will edit them much beyond that.

A few days ago I bit the bullet and subscribed to Grammarly Premium, which fixes commas, sometimes tenses and other things one might mess up. It’s not a magic bullet, and I often disagree with its recommendations, but overall it’s definitely worth the money for me. If you want to save 40% on your subscription, register a new account and simply wait a few days. They will email you a discount on your first year.

I also took the opportunity to edit my series about ADHD into one big longread. It made me realize that breaking things down into smaller chunks really helps with writing, but at the same time editing them into one long article is not an easy process and I still suck at it. This is something I want to get better at as I want to write more long-form articles.

About ten years ago, before social media really blew up and blogs were all the rage, I hated when people metablogged. A lot has changed, of course, but I can’t help but see the irony that right now I’m doing pretty much the same thing: writing about writing, for me a form of progressive procrastination and a way to hit that 300-word mark and keep my streak.

In 2019 I feel like it’s allright, as long as it’s not overdone. I better find something else to write about for tomorrow, though.

This post was not sponsored by Grammarly, even though I’ve written about them plenty of times now, so they should really consider doing that.

On Wine and Anxiety

· 543 words · 3 min read

I’m sitting in a wine bar and waiting for my friends to arrive to hang out. I spent my free time today working my converting my blog from Wordpress to Hugo — with a detour of Jekyll — and moving my static sites to Netlify so that I can shut down my barely-used VPS. A full write-up about this is coming soon.

I have about 20 minutes before said friends arrive so this will be one of those stream of consciousness posts where I just start writing and see what comes out of it.

For the longest time, I did not like neither beer nor wine. Sure, both are acquired tastes, but I tried plenty (especially beer) and it just never clicked. To this day the only beer I drink is alcohol-free lager since it’s the one that tastes the least like actual beer and it has the advantage of, well, not having alcohol in it. If I wanted to get tipsy or drunk I would go with shots or cocktails. That changed in recent years, though; I finally got a taste of wine, dry red wine, to be exact.

I mentioned a bunch of times already that in 2012 my untreated anxiety disorder got to the point where I started having panic attacks and forced me to seek treatment. One of the side-effects of all this is that my stomach was shot. I had severe discomfort/pain for months; at one point, someone accidentally figured out that the primary cause was high stomach acid and antacid pills help. Slowly, I started recovering. To aid the process and my digestion (in retrospect, maybe my anxiety as well), my old GP, who was somewhat old-school prescribed me a deciliter of red wine, every day, after lunch. It’s not like I had anything to lose, and it’s not enough alcohol to get me tipsy anyway.

So I did that for like two months, and after a few weeks, I started not hating red wine. A few weeks after that, I was a convert. Since then it became my go-to drink of choice.

I don’t know much about wine. “It’s good” or “It sucks” is as far as I can go. I did develop preferences over the years; by far and large, I like a good Merlot or Pinot Noir. Above all, Shiraz (Syrah) wines, mostly from Australia and New Zealand are among my favorites.

When I lived in Sweden, I had the luxury of having a selection of 100s of different wines from at least 20 different countries. See, in Sweden, there is a government monopoly on selling alcohol above 3.5%; you can only buy the serious stuff in state-run alcohol shops. The pros and cons of this system are beyond the scope of this post, but one huge pro was the selection I’ve mentioned above.

I’m back in Hungary now, and though there are stores where you can get import wine, most of the wine here is local. Which is not a bad thing, of course; Hungarian is a wine country, and our wine is renowned for its quality. I do miss being able to pick from all the different countries, though.

My friends started arriving. Time for me to order a glass of Syrah…

Cult of Done

· 339 words · 2 min read

I was planning to finish my post about ADHD today, but poor time management and unexpected troubles at work got in the way, so this is one of those posts that I’ll just start writing, and the words will come because they usually do. That’s all I have time for today.

I have to say I am unusually proud of myself about yesterday’s post. I had something written already the day before yesterday, but I wasn’t too happy with that; it was long and disorganized and lacked structure. I took a break, and the next day I started looking at it with fresh eyes. I started editing it, stumbled upon a good article in my research that provided me with an idea for structuring those 34 or so paragraphs. A journalist friend helpfully pointed out that adding subheadings helps to break the text up. I cleaned up a few things in the post with the help of Grammarly and Hemingway.

Two hours or so later, I had something ready to publish. I could have written twice as much, given the time, but I would have had an even harder time structuring that, and it felt way too long already. I also didn’t want to break my streak, which meant I had to publish it that day. So I decided I got to a point where I was reasonably and pressed “Publish” (and then quickly fixed five more things I discovered after that).

I’ve re-read the Cult of Done Manifesto and to be honest, I don’t agree with many of its points, but at least one of them I find very, very true:

Laugh at perfection. It’s boring and keeps you from being done.

I feel like the constraints WriteTogether gives you help you get writing done. You don’t have any excuses: at least 300 words, each day, or you lose your streak. It’s harsh, it could use some refinement (and likely will), but for now, I like it.

See you tomorrow, hopefully with Part 3 of my series done.

Writer, Unblocked

· 300 words · 2 min read

I have no idea what to write today but I will start, and I am sure words will come.

I have a couple of topics floating in my head for longer stories. One is obviously continuing my memoir about my time in Sweden but I’ve hit a snag there: I got to the part where I arrived in Sweden, and now there are a couple of months where I am unsure what I should write about. It’ll come, though.

I have another thing to write about: the story of Turulcsirip, an early Hungarian Twitter community that was quite unique at the time. Part of me wants to make a real article of it, an oral history: interview the guy who created it, the earliest users, and so on. But I’m not sure if that’s a good fit for this platform. I can tell this story from just my perspective, and that would give you a somewhat good image of it as well, so I might just do that.

I am not yet sure if I want to write mostly multi-part stories (that you have to plan at least somewhat in advance) or more one-off things. For some reason, the former sounds easier for me, because if I just sit down to write something, I draw a blank. But that’s something I want to improve as well.

Then again, I don’t want to write just for writing’s sake, only to have my streak, like I am doing right now. I want to write meaningful things, things people enjoy and find engaging. I feel like I have a lot of stories to tell; there is enough material. Now I just have to do the writing itself.

This whole post is just a shameless thing to get my streak, look, 300 words exactly.