• November 27th, 2020

Weekly takeaway with Lawrence Kamwi - Any takers for the 10 000-word essay?



I found myself reflecting on aspects of an SMEs Compete entrepreneurs’ roundtable from September last year. After listening to testimonies about bad decisions and remedial action, participants wanted to know more about treasured lessons in entrepreneurship.
   In response, the roundtable of entrepreneurs noted that business plans can always be improved; they encouraged would-be entrepreneurs not to surrender or capitulate to mistakes, and to keep broadening their experience. The veteran businesspersons agreed that knowledge acquisition is a continuous process.

CNA Insider reporter Grace Yeoh last week complained about the “dreariness of living through the pandemic (and how it creates) newfound appreciation for mindless pleasures.”
   She wrote about binge-watching and stalking reality television couples; following documentary series; keeping up with food trends; devouring lifestyle blogs, and nurturing an inquisitive interest in baking.

“These banal pursuits were the main sources of comfort getting me through this hell of a year. Yet not too long ago, I would have classified them as guilty pleasures and be less inclined to embrace them, lest I appeared hopelessly mainstream, shallow and plebeian.”
   My attention was immediately arrested by another of her suggested stress-busters: ten thousand-word non-fiction essays or articles, which would provide a break from “heavy topics like politics, social issues and the latest Covid-19 cases.”   

A quick look at members of the writing community suggests that it is possible to successfully attempt the ten thousand-word essay as long as one has knowledge, time and enthusiasm. More ambitious and dedicated writers go so far as to suggest that in today’s publishing world, and with the available facilities, it is also possible to reach the ten thousand-word limit in one sitting.

   The current environment is seen as providing an unusually generous writing window, whether one wishes to ghostwrite, use an alias or pseudonym, or a real name. With the time that is presented by restricted movements and socialisation, many in the writing community look beyond the ten thousand-word limit. For them, a more interesting question is whether this target can be attained in a day or week.
Natalie Proulx of The New York Times newspaper encourages readers to explore writing’s therapeutic capacities: “writing can be a way to express our fears, hopes and joys. It can help us make sense of the world and our place in it. Future historians may look back on the journals, essays and art that ordinary people are creating now to tell the story of life during the coronavirus.”

   At a time when the entrepreneurial economy is growing, it is worth noting that viable, business-model electronic or e-books can fall within the range of two to ten thousand words. Emma Yates of The Guardian newspaper defines an e-book as a text “presented in a format which allows it to be read on a computer or hand-held device.” She refers to portability, print on demand, personalisation, the democratic publishing and environmentally-friendly process as some of the advantages of the e-book industry.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has challenged the notion of trying to timetable life. It promotes instead adaptability while celebrating creativity over conformity. What happens when the nine-to-five office day is threatened? Indeed, with considerable work, education, social and religious activities moving away from brick-and-mortar structures, the world presents opportunities for outside-of-the-box thinkers. I suggest that writing five hundred words a day on stories and topics which align with your interests could be a great starting point.


Staff Reporter
2020-07-31 12:06:45 | 3 months ago

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