A recent post in this section of Finding Poland went into the issue of why it’s worth writing an expat blog. In that blog, I made passing references to why I like blogging. However, this time around, I’d like to go into why I like writing in general. Let me share my reasons with you:
1. Words have always been my thing
It’s no surprise that I write a blog because words have always been my thing.
I was the best speller at my junior school. However, I wasn’t much of a reader as a kid. From nowhere really, I developed a remarkable understanding of the English orthographic system, including immense graphophonic knowledge. This relates to how letters in printed English relate to the sounds of the language.
Probably, it’s fair to say that I was a deep analyser of words as a kid. Whenever I saw a word on a road sign, for example, I’d try to make as many anagrams as I could out of it. Moreover, I was an avid watcher of the game show Countdown. On Countdown, contestants are asked to come up with the longest possible word using a set of nine random letters.
Throughout my teenage years, I collected mostly secondhand books. I guess that I found comfort in books and words, as well as running my fingers over worn book covers.
These days, I mostly read PDF books. It often happens that I come across words or phrases that I haven’t heard or used for donkey’s years. Therefore, I write them down as a reminder to use them in future posts. With all these new phrases and words I have on the go in my notebook, I always feel that I’m able to go one better in every single post I write. Hence, I firmly equate jotting down these new words with self-development and experimentation. That’s why I like writing so much.
2. English is beautiful nonsense – English grammar and writing conventions should be honoured
Undoubtedly, the most vital aspect of communication is clarity. Clarity emerges from the correct application of grammar rules and accepted writing conventions. When I write, I strive to avoid leaving my audience confused. That’s why I try to steer clear of using run-on sentences by connecting independent clauses with, for example, full stops, colons and commas. Moreover, I take advantage of transition words (However / Nevertheless / Moreover etc) to link sentences when the opportunity arises.
It should also be noted that mixing up grammatical patterns, namely playing with syntax*, helps words have more of an impact on the reader. Indeed, changing these patterns enables the writer to emphasise certain concepts, evoke emotions and entertain the audience.
* What is syntax?
Syntax in English is the organisation of words and phrases in a specific order. Changing the position of even one word may change the meaning of an entire sentence.
3. I’m not afraid to be nostalgic when I write
If somebody asked me why I like writing, my long-winded answer would certainly elaborate on the extent to which I value the complex emotion of nostalgia.
I’ve already written about my nostalgia for days gone by in Poland. Just to recap though. When I revisit places which I visited in my early years in Poland (2005-2009) I’m typically drenched in nostalgia. For example, whenever I visit Toruń, I distinctly recall the hot summer days I spent in the city in 2009. I fondly remember how I observed a stunning sunset over the Vistula River. The morning after, I caught a glorious sunrise over the river from Józef Piłsidski Bridge. Bringing the nostalgia up to date, I wrote about a day I spent in Toruń in 2022 in my post about nostalgia:
It was a glorious day. Not a cloud in the sky and a pleasant temperature of 12 degrees celsius.
I wrote about two specific situations on this day trip which triggered nostalgia for my trip to Toruń in 2009. One of these situations revolved around the panoramic views I observed of Toruń from the top of Toruń’s Old Town City Hall Tower. Quite simply, I lost myself in a daydream about my travels in the summer of 2009 at the top of this tower. I also climbed Toruń’s City Tower in 2009 so that might be why the nostalgia came flooding back.
Writing with a nostalgic twist is enjoyable because my fond remembrance of times gone by keeps me from living too much in the moment. Indeed, I remember the people who meant a lot to me, what small moments were important to me, and what achievements mattered most to me.
There’s no other place in Poland that I feel more nostalgia for than Kraków. I could name at least a dozen spots in this city that trigger significant doses of nostalgia. For instance, there’s an underpass on Grodzka Street which I used to play guitar and sing under when I busked. I could write a short book about those nights on Grodzka Street because the nostalgia and memories cause me to enter a state of flow when writing. Quite simply, the words flow from my fingertips as I bash my keyboard.
4. The Secret to Happiness Is Helping Others
Another reason why I like writing is because it is a medium through which I can help others and make a difference to someone’s life.
Some of the most popular pages on Finding Poland revolve around everyday life in the country. For example, organic search results in web search engines lead people to articles related to residency, acquiring Polish citizenship and real estate matters in Poland.
Having had my Polish citizenship by descent confirmed back in 2018, helped my wife to get permanent residence through marriage and bought a flat in Poland, I wrote about these issues fully aware that I would be helping others make key personal and bureaucratic decisions along the way.
Not that many people write to me asking for help related to some of the issues I’ve just mentioned. However, when I do get an email, I find a great deal of fulfilment in helping someone advance towards a goal.
There is a Chinese proverb that goes like this: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”
Food for thought indeed.
I hope that the four reasons that I’ve given in this post regarding why I like writing have convinced you of my intentions and passion.
I’ve never had the best verbal communication skills. That’s probably why I took to writing like a duck to water when I was a child.