Category: Writing

What’s in my Notes App

Posted November 13, 2021 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Writing / 2 Comments

Wanted to do something different, and this is inspired by a note I found in my Notes app regarding my wife from 2014. I am not going to share this note as it is too personal but recently I saw a TikTok trend asking what type of notes do men have on their phone, so it sparked this post. I want to post a few I found and try to see if I can explain them. While looking I have deleted so many notes because I have no idea what they mean.

Megan McDowell
Emma Ramadan
Sophie Hughes
Tina Kover
Hugh Alpin

Natasha Wimmer
Donald Nicolson-Smith
Frank Wynne
Oliver Ready
Deborah Smith

This one is pretty simple, I was working on a list of auto-buy translators. I always see people talk about auto-buy authors and I thought that was too boring, so I wanted to adjust it to suit my needs. I seem to have found five translators that are auto-buys and was brainstorming who else to add before maybe creating a post about this topic. I did also find an auto-buy authors list, but it only contained Mariana Enríquez and Anne Garréta.

conflictatus per aliis libris

Do I need to explain this note? It seems to be my life motto; it is Latin for distracted by other books. I wish I was better at planning my reading habits, I would like to be able to schedule some reading goals, but sadly I know I am a mood reader and am constantly being distracted by other books.

Descriptions of breasts
Love Triangles
First Person Past Tense in Post-Apocalyptic 
Like (comparisons)

I assume this was a list of turn offs in literature, maybe I was planning to write a post about literary bête noires. I have no idea about the first person past tense in a post-apocalyptic one, but it does sound awful, I just cannot think of a single example of when this has happened and why I would put it on this list.

Book adaptations

Norwegian Wood
Belle De Jour
My Brilliant Friend (TV show)
Let The Right One In

It feels rare to find a note with a title, but I am not sure where I was going with this one. Is it possibly a list of book adaptations worth watching?


    1. You don’t want an ereader because you want other people to know what you’re reading
      You see these people pretending to read paper books all the time. But really they’re glancing around the room, to see who’s noticing them.
    2. You like to take instagram photos of your food…with your book casually in the background of the shot
      Actually, I did this the other day.
    3. You now appreciate the works Stephen King produced in the 80s (but everything he wrote in the 90s was terrible)
      “The Shining is a brilliant interpretation of the American ghost story but Rose Madder was meaningless twaddle.”
    4. You are purposefully rough with your books when you read them so that it looks like you’ve read them several times more than you actually have.
      Not only have I read all the books I own, I’ve read them all at least seven times.
    5. You think you’re Hemingway
      You’re not.
    6. You have personalised book plates that say “from the library of (insert name)”
      You do not have a library. You have a bookshelf.
    7. You have a book bag
      Normal people call them ‘bags’.
    8. You like to hang out in independent book stores, but secretly shop on Amazon.
      You probably make purchases on your phone while you’re in there.
    9. You snort derisively at any book that’s popular without having read it
      *cough* 50 Shades of Grey *cough*
    10. Unlike music hipsters, you need authors to be verified by a major label before you’ll read them.
      Hipsters only like authors that you’ve never heard of…who are published by a major publishing house and who are preferably award winners.

I really have no idea. It doesn’t look like I wrote it but past me did not include a source.

Guilty reads?
How are books a guilty pleasure
Are there books that you are ashamed of some books you read
Don’t want to be judged on what you are reading
Sometimes that are a joy in reading for simply enjoyment
Books you’re afraid to read in public

Sounds like I was brainstorming new ideas for blog posts, this was written in 2012 but they might actually be good ideas.

Because I teach literature at the university level, there is, in fact, no way to avoid commenting on books that most of the time I haven’t even opened. It’s true that this is also the case for the majority of my students, but if even one of them have read the text I’m discussing, there is a risk that at any moment my class will be disrupted and I will find myself humiliated.

Obviously not written by me but I like the quote. I googled it and found out that it is from How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read by Pierre Bayard, translated from the French by Jeffrey Mehlman. Yet another time, I wish past me would have referenced his notes.

Чтобы больше иметь больше производств
Чтобы больше производить надо больше знать

Not sure where this comes from because I clearly do not reference my notes, but it is Russian and it says “To have more, produce more. To produce more you need to know more” I am not sure what I was planning here, it was either a revolution or I just like to collect quotes about gaining knowledge.

1788–year of white settlement, rise of novel, encyclopedia, first dictionaries, newspapers

Yet again, I have no idea what was going on here. I must have thought it was useful to know this information. I know 1788 was when the First Fleet arrives at Botany Bay, so I do understand the year of white settlement part of this, but did all the other things really happen in 1788?

I think this is enjoy of a dive into my Notes app, there is a long description of the Norman conquest of England in 1066 and plenty of random book lists, including the World Literature Today’s 75 Notable Translations of 2020 (thankfully I referenced that one) and the past few longlists for the International Booker Prize, so I can mark off the books I have read. That is an insight into my thought process, I am assuming that most of these were written in the middle of the night because I do not appreciate having no references or titles. Let me know what weird notes are in your Notes app.

Just Write…

Posted December 10, 2020 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in My Essays / 4 Comments

Why is it that my brain is most active when I’m trying to sleep? This is frustrating, currently at 1am my brain is contemplating my writing style. Granted, a few essays by Alejandro Zambra before bed have not helped. There is something mesmerising about the way Zambra writes. I do not speak Spanish, so I rely on Megan McDowell to provide the English translation. The book is called Not To Read and it is a collection of essays on literature. The book reminds me that I want to be better at writing essays, and this is what is keeping me awake.

I have contemplated this thought many times throughout my history of blogging and I have a sense of what my writing goals are, I just never feel like I will ever achieve them. Are there people out there that are happy with their writing abilities? And how do I achieve that level of narcissism? I adore the way Alejandro Zambra writes, there is this level of familiarity in his words that makes me feel like he is just having a conversation with me about a book. This skill is something I have strived for in my own writing, and he makes it look so easy. I may have said something similar when reading Ex-Libris by Anne Fadiman, which makes me aware that literary essays is the type of writing I want to work towards.

I tend to write reviews on this blog, and I am aware that I need to continue this practice. Not for anyone, I just find that they are useful for me when reminiscing on a particular book. I briefly mentioned on my review of Crime and Punishment the value of a written review. This was a reread for me and I was able to look at my old review and see just how different my thoughts really were on the book. It was insightful to see just how much my thoughts on the book, and my writing style have changed over the past seven years. Then there are those times I want to talk about a book I have read in the past but have no review, and I struggle to recall my thoughts. So here I am with a desire to write more essays but also fully aware that I need to continue writing reviews.

Is there an easy solution? Obviously, I have to push myself to write more. Continue the reviews but also make time to write essays and develop that skill. When thinking about this blog, I tend to be of the mind that this is just a location to store all my writing. It is a way to reflect and physically view my journey as both a writer and as a reader. Having a public facing site motivates me to continue and while I tend not to write for other people, feedback does seem to be a powerful motivator. I guess I am a narcissist, but also, I know my writing journey is far from complete. I will probably continue to struggle with my writing skills and complain about this very topic in the future, it is all part of the journey. I do believe I am a non-fiction writer and I want to work on improving those skills. I have been flipping through The Complete Review Guide of Contemporary World Literature by M.A. Orthofer and wondering what my version of this book would look like. Then I pick up Not To Read for another essay or two and wish I was writing more essays. My mind wants to take on too many projects.

Ten Lessons I’ve Learned from Ten Years of Book Blogging

Posted October 24, 2019 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Writing / 10 Comments

Ten years ago, I started this blog, as a was a way to work through my thoughts; the ten lessons I’ve learned from ten years of book blogging. So much has changed with the way I approach blogging and I wanted to share with you what I have learnt and my current mindset. Originally this blog was documenting my journey into philosophy, literature and culture. I had another blog called Literary Exploration that was my book blog, I was a new reader and used the blog to review every book I read. As a literary explorer I approached literature with the intention to find great books in all genres. However, the main motivation for having a book blog was trying to get ARCs (advance reader copies) and interact with the thriving book blogging community. That blog is now gone, and I have merged the two blogs here. While I mainly use this for my book blogging my approach to literature is different now, so I wanted to share my current attitude to blogging.

Blog for yourself and no one else

While researching what others say, I think my advice here is opposite to everyone else’s. I find that it is important to make sure you are writing content that you would want to read. While I do not like much of my older content, there was a time I would create content that I thought would get views, even if it did not interest me. Things like tags and blog hops often bored me but it was useful for getting people to view my blog, however often I got a hit spike on that one post and nothing else.

Do not feel obligated to anyone

As a book blogger, I often have people asking for reviews and publishers sending unsolicited books. For a time, I tried to read anything I was sent, as a literary explorer, I wanted to give everything a chance. However, these people were asking for product endorsements, and while I was getting free books, I had to learn not to put pressure on myself to please others.

Find your niche

After years of being a literary explorer, reading books in all genres, I eventually figured out what I liked and did not like. I think it is an important step to find what you are passionate about and focus on that. While trying something new is a great way to keep things fresh, it can be very difficult if you are changing who you are to suit the readership or the books you have been sent.

Change happens

In the ten years of blogging, my tastes have changed, and this comes from finding your niche, but also being aware that it might not always be your niche. As you grow and develop you start to understand what you like or don’t, but you also develop new interests, that can send you on a completely new path. Be willing to adapt and follow your own interests.

Don’t fixate on the numbers

I think book blogging is very different now than it was when it was in its prime. You might not get the traffic you would like but I think the most important thing is to continue writing content that you like writing. I noticed a big dive in views and comments when Google Reader ended, and over the years people have changed the way they approach content. Comments may be a thing of the past, they can be rare, and if you are writing for the interactions with people, you need to actively go out and interact on their blogs, because that is where you are likely to find those conversations.

You will hate your old content

Part of growing and developing comes with a negative; you will hate all your old content. I constantly fight the urge to delete everything and start again and while I think this might be healthy, I still worry I would regret deleting. If anything, archiving your content is the best option. One of the main reasons I don’t remove the old content is mainly because it shows how much I have changed.

Slumps happen

I feel like I am in a creative slump at the moment and while I feel bad for not writing, I am very aware that this happens. I am confident that this slump will end, and I try to think of my blog as a collection of my writing rather than something that I need to update every few days. This helps me, but it might not work for you, sometimes forcing yourself to create content is the most effective way to get out of slump. I know the more content I make the more I want to keep making.

You don’t have to post everything

When I first started reviewing books, I wrote a review for every book I read, and sometimes I wish I still did that. However, not every book needs a review. Not all books are meant to be criticised or analysed, sometimes a book is just for pleasure and doesn’t have to go any further. Also, there will be times where you write something that you are not sure works, you don’t need to make them public. I have written a lot of content where I am trying to figure out my own thoughts or understand what I feel, most of those get posted because I want a record of my thoughts and my writing, but many of these cases should have been kept off the internet.

People read differently

One of the biggest lessons I have learnt is that no book is read the same way by two different people. Some people find something unique to them and their writing follows that thread. Some people want to write a synopsis and call it a review, while others have some great insights. Finding your confidence in what you have written can be hard, but your thoughts will always be different to everyone else.

There is always someone better

I hate to say it, but there is always a better writer out there than you. This doesn’t mean you should quit; it means you have something to strive for. I know I have a long way to go in my own writing, but I find comfort here. I have to remind myself daily that I will not improve unless I practice. I wish I was as talented as the people I admire; I wish this came easily to me, but I know that without practice I am never getting any better.

Blogging has been a great experience for me, it has been a big part of my literary and personal growth. Without my blog, I feel like my passion would have run out of fuel a long time ago. The blog is a way to express my thoughts and feelings but most importantly it is a place for me to practice my craft and improve. This is the main reason I blog; this is the main reason I keep my old content there. I have learnt so much from the mechanics of blogging that I would probably do things differently if I was to start again, but I think this blog has become a big part of me.

Down the Non-Fiction Rabbit Hole

Posted November 2, 2016 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literature, My Essays / 6 Comments

The quote by Socrates “The more I learn, the more I learn how little I know” has been on my mind for quite some time. There seems to be no truer statement to describe how I feel at the moment. One of the reasons I spend so much time reading is because I want to learn. Fiction can tell us so much about the world around us, and the experiences faced by different cultures. I am drawn to translated fiction because of what it can teach me about the world. It has taken me some time but I am slowly been drawn to non-fiction as well. Reading recently Secondhand Time by Svetlana Alexievich (translated by Bela Shayevich) and Wild Swans by Jung Chang I discovered just how much about the world I still need to learn.

While Russia is a particular interest of mine, Secondhand Time gave me some insights I did not realise I needed. This is a stunning collection interviews collected by Svetlana Alexievich of people just talking about their personal experience with the collapse of the USSR. I thought I had a decent grasp of the history of the Soviet Union but this book shattered it completely. It is not enough to understand the basic history, life is much more complex and there is so much more to learn. I need to know more about post-Soviet Russia and I plan to learn, starting with The Invention of Russia by Arkady Ostrovsky.

Wild Swans is a biography of three generations of women living in China. Jung Chang tells the story of her grandmother, her mother and then herself, the experiences they all faced in a rapidly changing country. Her grandmother, grew up in a world of foot binding and warlords, while her mother saw the rise of Chairman Mao and communism. This is a story that spans from the Manchu Empire to the Cultural Revolution. It was here I discovered a deeper understanding of communist China; I would never have known about the Great Leap Forward or the Cultural Revolution in such detail without the personal accounts found in this book. If I combine my love for Soviet history, I find myself wondering if I should learn more about communism in other countries. Do I dare to try and compare the differences?


There is so much to learn and I feel myself being drawn down the rabbit hole. I have identified three major interests that seem to be the current focus of mine when it comes to non-fiction. This is Russian history, philosophy and books about books. I know this is only the tip of the iceberg and I will be venturing down so many more paths in the future but for now I will start here.

With my love of Russian literature, I feel the need to have a deeper understanding of their history, especially surrounding the politics. Not only will this aid my understanding into the literature I am reading but it will also help me better appreciate the satirical nature that is often found in Russian literature. I am slowly working my way down this rabbit hole with books like Iron Curtain by Anne Applebaum, a look into the way the USSR treated Eastern Europe and Voices from Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich (translator: Antonina W. Bouis), an oral history into the nuclear disaster in 1986. Even a book like The Zhivago Affair by Peter Finn and Petra Couvée has been useful; not only does it explore the story of Doctor Zhivago but the impact it had on the world around it.

A new love for philosophy started with At the Existentialist Café by Sarah Bakewell and now I want to know so much more about Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, and Søren Kierkegaard. But I do not plan to just stop at the existentialists, I have so much to learn. My knowledge of philosophy may have come from a novel called Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder (translator: Paulette Møller). There is a lot more I could learn from the philosophers, and I have started my journey, with Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche (translated by R.J. Hollingdale) and The Story of Philosophy by Will Durant.

Finally, my love for literature has drawn me to reading about literature. Not just memoirs and biographies, although you may notice in my reviewing that I find context important. So a memoir or a biography gives me a deeper appreciation of the literature. A memoir like Little Failure gave me a greater understanding about its author Gary Shteyngart and a collection of letters and diary entries called Manuscripts Don’t Burn (translated and edited by J.A.E. Curtis) was a valuable insight into Mikhail Bulgakov. But then there are books about the reading journey that are entertaining to read, while still being a valuable part of my own reading life. I am talking about books like The Year of Reading Dangerously by Andy Miller, 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff and Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill. I can be very particular about books about books, the tone has to be right, their taste in literature and the way they talk about literature is equally important, and so for my money I would recommend Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman as the pinnacle in this genre of non-fiction. My reading journey is far from over, in fact it is only just beginning. Having only spent six years as a reader, I have so far to go. It is all part of my never ending quest to become well read. I will be focusing on reading more non-fiction, starting with these three interests and branching out.

Following the path of knowledge wherever it might take me. I look forward to talk about my journey as I continue and would also appreciate any recommendations.

My Hot and Sticky Blog Re-evaluation

Posted July 7, 2016 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in My Essays, Writing / 2 Comments

It is often a good thing to re-evaluate your life, your goals and if you are a blogger like me, your blog. I have been thinking about this for a while and decided it is time to refocus. You may have noticed that I have not been as active on my blog as I would like. I had this goal to write something about everything I read, plus I wanted to do more than literature. However due to motivation, work and other plans, I have not achieved much at all on here. I would say I have about twenty books to review but is it really worth the effort? Maybe, but does this achieve what I want to achieve.

For the longest time I wanted to be a writer, I never was sure what I would write but it was something that was always in the back of my mind. When I started reading and blogging, that desire slowly faded, to the point where I convinced myself that I was not a writer. This became a problem, as I would always dismiss myself and any ideas that I might have. The ideas kept swimming around in my mind; I was just not doing anything with them.

It took me a long time to change my thinking, I am a writer. I may not be a writer of fiction but I love blogging and that is a form of writing. It is a skill I want to build and improve. I want to write more engaging posts and the only way to do that is to practice. My blog is a collection of my thoughts and writing and I can see improvement happening. I am happy to be write about literature instead of writing literature. I am happy in my own writing universe but I still feel the need to push the boundaries.

I started a BookTube channel as a way to develop my skills at communicating and ultimately become a better writer. I got addicted to the community and my writing started to suffer. I need to find the balance. The channel Stripped Cover Lit proposed a #HotAndSticky novel writing challenge. Similar to NaNoWriMo but instead, you have a more manageable 488 words a day over the course of a few months (June till September). I decided to join in as a way to push myself further and see if I can in fact write fiction.

story ideaI think 488 words a day is a good way to start developing a writing habit again and try something new. My first novel idea was to write a hard-boiled detective novel with a female protagonist. I wanted to explore the pulp crime genre but I also wanted to explore the idea of how women are treated in a male dominated job and even go into sexual manipulation and abuse. I had a great plot lined up but it was not working on the page. I do not know if I have the ability to write plot heavy stories, I tend to rush through the story arc.

I quickly put this idea on the backburner and decided to try something different. This idea was to explore a grumpy bookseller as he reflects on life and attempts to find a connection with someone, in a world he does not understand. I hoped that trying a transgressive story would work for me. I want to try developing a character and seeing how the idea progressed from there.

I did not have much luck here although I did found some fragments that I enjoyed, I just felt like a failure. Reflecting on this, I asked myself what type of writer I wanted to be and a few names popped into my mind. Mary Roach for her entertaining and educational style and Anne Fadiman for the way she wrote about books. Both authors are witty and knowledgeable; two things I admire greatly about their writing. I have come to the conclusion that if I want to write like this, I need to change the focus on my blog.

I still think reviewing is an essential skill to develop and I will continue to work on that. I have to stop reviewing every book I read and start practicing essay writing. I would love to write about my journey into literature in different essays, and develop that skill. But I also want to develop a more educational approach. A busy work and life schedule means I cannot achieve everything I want to achieve right now, but I need to work towards my goals. I would like to say ‘expect less reviews and more essays’ but this is a work in progress and I am not sure what the future will hold.

You can expect changes, but I feel like I am still trying to develop the skills I want, I think in order to do that, and I will need to try. I am a little unsure how to best write an essay but this is the place to experiment; Knowledge Lost houses a lot of my writing and blogging from when I first started. Most of it is embarrassing but it is a not so subtle reminder on how much I have improved.

I have some ideas planned and to begin with, this may be very focused on literature and my reading journey, I hope in time I will be writing about an array of topics. I hope this is enough to reinvigorate my passion for blogging and writing. Giving me the freedom to explore without the reminder of how many book reviews I am behind. I hope you will continue with me on this journey and if you have a topic you would like me to write about, I would love to know it.

Write 750 Words Every Day

Posted July 27, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Writing / 2 Comments

writeRecently I have been trying to build a habit of writing every day. This was in the hopes to build good writing habits and improve my writing abilities. I decided to use a site called 750 words to help develop this habit. Basically the site sends me a reminder every day to write 750 words. It is a great little site, I’ve been using it to write drafts for my future blog posts and get down my blogging ideas as I go. I have written a lot of thoughts about the books I’ve been reading as I go along and I’ve noticed it has already started to have a positive effect on my blogging.

Not only have I got a record of my thoughts throughout the novel, it has helped me connect those thoughts I tend to forget about with a much larger idea. I’ve been notoriously bad at note taking and keeping a record of what I have thought of a book while reading but this has been a huge help. Not only have I forced myself to sit down and write about books but also since I need to make 750 words a day I often write more drafts and I’m hoping that shows through in my blogging.

One of the negatives I have notice about forcing myself to write is I am starting to get anxious about my writing. The other day I found myself getting upset with my wife for cutting into my writing time. I try to set a time to write every day after work and sometimes I finish it before she gets home but not all the time. My finger muscles are starting to hurt, I thought I typed enough as it is but it turns out that maybe I haven’t been and at times I have to type through the pain. Who knew that fingers had so many muscles that could hurt?

There is one really cool thing about the 750 words site that I find really cool and that is the stats. The site has put together so much information; I didn’t even know I needed that much detail but it has been interesting to see what it says. It analyses the text via a few different systems; a Regressive Imagery Dictionary (for the emotions), and a Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count system. I’m not sure what that means but it is interesting to look at the statistics it provides.

Currently I am on a 21 day streak and this post will go towards the 22nd day. I’ve averaged around 1200 words a day and it takes me about 47 minutes to complete 750 words. This is only a small glimpse of the data it gives you; it even has a daily breakdown. Some of the data is a little strange; I’m still trying to work out how I got a PG rating for sexual content from my review on The Secret Garden. I could have mentioned the secret garden being a metaphor for her sexuality but I don’t think I went down that road in that review. This post was actually rated PG for sexual content and violence if that makes any sense. It even tends to think I’m an extrovert in my writing, mostly feeling self-important and talking about leisure activities (I’m guessing that is books).

I am not sure how the data would help but it does provide me with some entertainment. I am more excited about the 21-day streak, I hope I continue to develop some positive writing habits and improve. Let me know if you have any suggestions that might help me improve as a writer and develop a good writing routine. Lastly I have to mention that 750 words is free to try for thirty days, might be enough to get you into a good habit. I’m not sure if I’m going to pay the $5 a month to keep my 750 words account but I think the positive impact it has had in my writing is pushing me towards continuing.

Half Yearly Review – 2011

Posted July 12, 2011 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Writing / 0 Comments

The first 6 months of 2011 went really quickly.  I don’t think I got a chance to write a blog post every week but I was really impressed with myself and what did end up on my blog. A few interesting miniseries showed up over the past six month, including a look at Picasso with Picasso – The Icon Breaker & Guernica; Picasso’s Masterpiece. The highlight for me was my Romantic period series; A Quest for Liberty, The Romantic Bond With Nature and then the quick look at the three most known romantics; The Romantic Brooder, The Romantic Bad-Boy & The Romantic Celebrity.

 In regards to popularity with the readers, here were the top 5 posts;

5. Autodidact Vs. Higher Education
4. What is Wrong with Dark YA Novels?
3. What is a Cult Book?
2. My Literary Wall of Shame
1. What Would You Read in an Introduction to Fiction Course?

As for my reading goals for the year, I’ve been working through some really amazing books and I would recommend the following books, based on what I read in the past six months;

5. Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson (2011)
4. Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart (2010)
3. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (2006)
2. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier (1938)
1. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller (1961)

 I’m really happy with how this year has been going for my blog, I know there has been a bit of a focus on Literature lately, but I hope no one is thinking I’m neglecting a topic. I write a topic based on what has been on my mind and what I’ve been learning so you may get batches of one topic. I do except a lot more to do with literature in the future but I won’t neglect the other subjects; I promise. Is there a particular topic you would like to see here? Anyone interested in doing a post for this blog?

Burning Realisation: I Can't Write

Posted April 7, 2011 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Writing / 0 Comments

Over the past few weeks I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I really not very good at writing. I think I’m getting better at blogging, but for someone that aspires to be a writer, I’m not good at it. I’ve had to take a step back and evaluate what I’ve been doing wrong.

If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.

Stephen King, On Writing, p. 147

I’ve been reading a lot and I’ve been getting lots of great ideas on what I want to do with my writing, from style, plots, metaphors. But when I go to write a novel, I really do lack the skills to get very far. I’ve decided I have to change my approach. I have to learn the art of writing. I can’t give up; I still have a burning desire to write.

The only reason for being a professional writer is that you just can’t help it.

Leo Rosten

So I’ve reached a decision to give up trying to write a novel for now. I need to practise my craft, and build up to attempting to do something like a full novel. I read an interview with Carlos Ruiz Zafón (who wrote the brilliant book The Shadow in the Wind) that he always had this book sitting in the back of his mind but he needed to gain the skills to attempt writing it. So Carlos Ruiz Zafón began his career writing books for young adults. While I don’t think I have the skills to write a full length novel, I think the idea of starting small and building up is a smart move.

A writer is somebody for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.

Thomas Mann

So I’ve decided to set myself a new writing goal; to focus not on completing a full length novel, but to focus on honing my craft. To do this, I’ve decided to focus on writing short stories (not limiting myself to a word count); I’m hoping this will help develop the skills to write more complete and interesting stories. Currently I’m aiming at a short story a quarter, but I will see how I go.

A Look Back at 2010

Posted January 7, 2011 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Writing / 0 Comments

With 2010 now behind us, I thought it was time to review some of my favourite posts and book of the year. I’ve been neglecting my blogging a little, as I’ve been focusing on my reading (ended up reading a total 87 books for the year). I’m hoping 2011 will be different; currently aiming for one post a week.

Blog Posts

10. Trying to Understand Existentialism

9. Twin Peaks and Dream Interpretations

8.  Five Books That Changed My Life

7. René Magritte’s The Lovers

6. My Goals for Knowledge Lost

5. Poetic Shock

4. Evolution of the English Language

3. Education Vs. Passion

2. Did Pop Culture Destroy Literature?

1. Nec Spe, Nec Metu (Without Hope, Without Fear)

Favourite Books Read in 2010

10. Fatherland by Robert Harris

9. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

8. Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder

7. Animal Farm by George Orwell

6. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

5. The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy

4. Maus by Art Spiegelman

3. On Writing by Stephen King

2. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

1. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

My Goals for Knowledge Lost

Posted November 26, 2010 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Writing / 0 Comments

My wife and I decided to look at our goals in life and what we would like to achieve as a couple and individually in the next one to five years. Of course, my dream involve writing & my blog. It is obvious that I would need to put in a lot of work and study into achieving my goals and that’s fine, but I feel like I’ve come up with a plan to help build towards these goals.

Knowledge Lost has primarily been about my personal growth in Art, Culture, Philosophy and Literature. I feel that if I want to be able to able to get a job or do something related to these topics, I might want to learn how to teach people about them.  As you may be aware there are four little windows across the top of my blog which have been used to display the most recent post in the four primary topics of my blog. What I’m planning to do is change that; I’m going to transform them into launching pads for a basic lesson in the four topics of my blog. This way I’m still learning and I’m also compiling an action plan for my future, just in case I ever get the opportunity. This also starts me building material for possible ebooks in the future.

This is going to be hard to do and will take a lot of work, but I would love to know if anyone has a wealth of knowledge in Art, Culture, Philosophy and Literature. I don’t want to have these turn in to personal opinions and would love to have someone I could ask for advice and bounce ideas off in regards to these issues. This will be a workin progress for me but will make a big change to me and my blog.