Everyone has their moments. The divide between professionalism and your emotions is a fine line between order and chaos. I’m sure that even the best will have their bad moments.

We have our intelligence.

We have our primal instinct.

The two are total opposites and always trying to gain the upper hand. And with this, it makes sense when the stressors of our lives pile on and on and on… until we break. Not everyone can handle the pressure and that’s when we see the difference between those we deem “professionals” or “cool under pressure.”

In the mythos of Buddhism philosophy, we can encounter three types of poisons — delusion, greed, and, what is referred to as, “aversion, ill will.

Basically, anger.

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It’s strange coming back to a former life, especially when the transition is seamless.

I found myself waking up and letting my muscles walk me through the memory lane of how I used to spend my time living in District 7 of HCMC.

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WATCHFUL

November 14, 2017 — Leave a comment

World religions have always fascinated me and in grade 11, I had the fortunate chance to study the major religions and more by a teacher whom I will consider my Socrates.

Although I wouldn’t assume, he would serve as the Socrates to my Plato. For a young introverted kid whose own identity in society is conflicted, here was a teacher who was unabashed and bold and deeply empathetic.

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THE BURNOUT LOOP

November 13, 2017 — Leave a comment

Two weekends ago, there was a massive mountain waiting for me to climb. It was the Mordor of the moment. The payload was a ring in the shape of a backpack and inside was unmarked papers and multiple textbooks and a USB thumb drive that contained the blueprints of the greatest lesson notes I could muster.

All I had to do was climb and drop it all into the heart of the burning lava.

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There is an idea that multi-tasking is the way to go. I know I can’t do it. I remember reading somewhere that it’s actually mono-tasking on steroids. Whatever the case, it’s almost impossible to keep track on things if I’m flipping back and forth between various things at the same time. Especially, if you have your phone sitting beside you and the notifications is on.

Our brains, as it seems, just can’t handle it all. For me, when it comes to prep work and planning my schedule, it’s, even more, a mess so the best thing to do is get it down — on paper or app. That way it becomes an external brain.

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Recently, there was almost an impromptu debate between myself and a colleague over the notion and merit of teaching students the writing styles of different types of paragraphs. In our program, there are a few types of paragraphs required to teach for students — “example”, “process”, “reason”, “persuasive”… etc.

My colleague had decided that it was useless to teach these types of writing because it was pointless and wasn’t really freeing to the student. I thought there was some truth in it because using some parallels from screenwriting, I believed that in the long run, students would benefit immensely when they got to the next level.

And here is where we divided in our own thoughts. The colleague thought because I was a native speaker so I could learn to change and adapt freely. Whereas the learner could be forced into a habit of writing in such a limiting way. I explained that all of us learned a similar way of writing when we were in elementary school to high school, following a strict format before having total control of how we formed and phrased our words.

Students needed to hone and focus on a particular intention. I am simply hoping that by having them focused with a particular intent on their writing, it could influence the purpose and goal they are achieving. It isn’t a strict style. It’s simply a restraint on them to aim for a particular result.

Of course, I didn’t get to finish the debate as we switched gears into another conversation when another teacher walked in, but the thought kept me intrigued.

I know writing a particular way seems so strange. Demanding the students to strictly write a topic sentence as a declarative sentence seems almost harsh. But, I need them to have those constraints and to respect the format of whatever I have told them to do. As long as they got the format down correctly — the aesthetic of the paragraph and even margins on the left, and remembering to indent — I’m was almost confident they were paying attention to the purpose of what I’m trying to get to do.

Concise and effective writing. Efficient enough to hit the required marks to serve the purpose of what they are trying to achieve. Yes, we don’t jump into a writing piece to say, “I’m going to make this a process paragraph!” or some shit. I understand that. I’m just letting them know that for now, they are going to have to write in this really constraining way so that it can allow their creativity to flow.

 

Today marks the beginning of another NaNoWriMo month and what a good time to remind ourselves our own methods and techniques to get into that writing spirit. For me, here are some steps that I had followed in the past to finish a screenplay.

Since writing is an on-going process, here are some things I learned for myself during the process of writing that could help speed things up. I highly recommend keeping a writing journal of the process so you can also map out how things are going and when things are working well and when things are not. This could help speed up the next story in the future.

This could help speed up the next story in the future.

It’s nothing really groundbreaking but it’s vital to get some form of a road map of where you are heading.

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