David D’Souza: Writing for the joy of sharing

#MJCarty300: To celebrate the MJCarty.com blog hitting 300 posts, I’m honoured to host a guest post by David D’Souza on the joys of writing, sharing and connecting.

Welcome to post number 300! When I started this little blog back in late 2013, I’d have been very surprised indeed if you’d told me that it would be going strong in June 2020. I definitely wouldn’t have believed all the unexpected places, connections and adventures that the written word has opened up along the way.

For me, this blog is all about the joys of writing to share and connect. So here’s something special on this topic for post 300. I asked my friend David D’Souza* if he might like to pen a few words. David is all about connection through the power of words (both written and spoken). Every day, he shares wisdom and insight and engages in debate. He goes out of his way to connect people in the UK and internationally.

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I really like what David has written here. He has effortlessly captured the virtuous circle that writing to share and connect can create.

Thank you for taking the time so generously to write these words, David. Thank you for taking the time so generously to read this or any of the 300 posts on this blog, gentle reader. May today be nothing but kind to you and yours.

Here’s what David has to say.

David D’Souza: Writing for the joy of sharing

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Occasionally I write…

I am a far from accomplished writer. I don’t have the flourish or richness to my words that many of the people I respect, or learn from, seem able to conjure without effort. Partly this stems from simply having less talent and partly the result is simply the lack of effort. Since 2013, I’ve been writing on a regular irregular basis about a range of things that took my interest or where I have been staring out of a window and something has clicked for me. I have no quality control and no thought process or writing process. I write simply for exploration, to empty my (often buzzing) brain and to explore.

On average, it will take me about ten minutes to write and publish something. More often than not it will contain a range of typos and horrifically bad sentence structure, because I will be writing it on a train journey on my commute to work. People tell me I write as though I am speaking to someone and they find that effective and honest. That is lucky because it is the only way I know how to write. It is unlikely that I will ever try hard enough to write words more goodly.

When I first started writing it appeared there were a number of rules to be followed and people were generous enough to make me aware of them:

  • You need to publish on the same day at the same time each week.
  • You need to work out ‘your niche’ and develop your voice in it.
  • You need to have exciting (and intelligently structured) titles.
  • Each piece shouldn’t be too long a read.
  • You should tag each one accurately.
  • You need to submit to a site or community which will then amplify your writing and share it.

I imagine that these are all excellent pieces of advice and I share these nuggets with you, primarily, because I was never disciplined enough (or even inclined) to follow that advice. If you would like to start writing then there is better advice in those suggestions than I could give you.

From the very start I wrote for the joy of sharing. I wrote for the people that would say that I’d helped them. I wrote for the people that would contact me to challenge my thinking. I wrote because once I had emptied my head of misbehaving thoughts they were then captured somewhere for me to wrestle with at a later date. I wrote because occasionally I think something smarter than normal and want to capture it. I wrote because occasionally I think something stupider than normal and I want people to point that out.

I write because it calms me. I write because occasionally it energises me. I write because nothing is nicer than someone saying that something makes them think about an issue differently. I write because people I have never met will get in contact with me and say that they’ve changed or tried something I suggested and it is working – and that is always an unexpected delight. I write because occasionally it gets me into trouble and I learn from those instances. I write because I’m not sure what I would do now if I didn’t

Those are the reasons I write, but more important than anything I could ever write are the people and opportunities that writing has led me to. My input might be unthinking and average, but the people that it has connected me with are spectacular. People smarter than me, people who have thought about things more deeply than me and people who are seemingly always able to find time to support others. People who are always available to share their expertise or simply their ear. There are a handful of people that are simply so good that I will always find time to read what they have written, but there are many more where an amble through their writings will reveal a hidden gem. The act of people sharing their thoughts is a beautiful, beautiful thing. It costs us nothing for those thoughts to be out there and yet we all benefit and learn. Communities are very special things, but the ability of a community to grow and refresh is an even more wondrous thing and this is one that does exactly that.

I’m writing this because I was hugely flattered to be asked by Michael to submit some thoughts and because I love his writing. I wouldn’t have had the privilege of connecting with him without these tools, this medium and the calm quality of his thinking. I’m also writing this to let people know how easy it is to write and share. It takes five minutes to set up a site on WordPress (I started on Blogger) and then it takes just a few casual button presses for your thoughts to tumble into the world. It is a technological marvel and a wonderful opportunity.

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People are often nervous about writing as they are worried about two things. That nobody will read it (disappointment) or that everybody will read it (pressure).** If you are considering writing and that is the barrier then I do have some advice. Remember that you are unimportant, that the world is an exciting twisty tumbly place and that the stakes are impossibly low; yet the opportunities are boundless. Opportunities to learn, to reflect, to meet and to enjoy and all you have to do is think, write, publish, learn and repeat.

I started off by admitting that I’ve been producing poorly-formed thoughts since 2013. Writing to make people smile is a valid reason, too. I leave you with a genuine selection of the joyously random search terms that have brought people to my pages since then:

  • good points and bad points of half people
  • attempts to train great white shark
  • indiana jones raiders no impact on the outcome
  • random things that when put together make sense
  • deadly terms used by hr
  • frozen chicken already written business plan
  • things that are in halves
  • how to listen when speaker had distracting attire
  • how much ego do you have to write about your legacy
  • why idiots need leaders quotes
  • “hit your hallelujah” means
  • lesson about life can be learn to marshmallow throwing game
  • if you go couple days without talking to me well i am enjoying it quotes
  • i cant leave without you.. sorry please talk to me
  • journal on wardrobe planning for home science and management 2014
  • hr women that enjoy sacking men

Thank you for reading. And thank you, in anticipation, for writing…

FOOTNOTES

* If you’re a regular reader of this blog or regular visitor to the Twitterverse, it’s highly likely you know who David is already. But just in case, here is a micro bio: David is the CIPD’s membership director. He is very active on Twitter, and also a not-infrequent blogger.

** This sentence from David put me in mind of an amazing passage from Martin Amis’s The Information on the motivation of writers. The magic of Google’s copyright-agnostic library has helped me track down the precise extract:

MartinAmisTheInformation

“Like all writers, Richard wanted to live in some hut on some crag somewhere, every couple of years folding a page into a bottle and dropping it limply into the spume. Like all writers, Richard wanted, and expected, the reverence due, say, to the Warrior Christ an hour before Armageddon.”

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