Why WordPress (dot com) ?

Disclaimer: this may sound as a declaration of love. Because it is. I’m getting in love with you, WordPress. I want to spend more time with you, I want to stay closer. You have what I need. Yes, it’s true.

Ok, enough for the emotional part. Now I cool down a bit…

Honestly, I’d hardly find a better way to improve my English, to overcome my fears of expression in a foreign language. To jump over my fears of making errors. Since I’m discovered the exciting WordPress (dot com) community, something is going to change. First, I’m starting to write my post directly in English. This is a rather new thing for me: before, my usual procedure was simply taking a post from my Italian blog, invoking Google Traslate, and than making the needed corrections by hand.

This is changing. I want to grow, I want to learn to express myself in English, without intermediate steps.

I want to widen the spectrum of things that I can talk about. Emotions, feelings, impressions.

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How WordPress can help me (and possibly, you) in that? As a matter of fact, wordpress community is a wonderful place to find interesting content in English for me to read. To learn the language, and namely, to learn the language that bloggers do use mostly.

I’m rather new to an intensive use of WordPress (dot com) facilities, since my main (Italian) blog is on Blogger (at least, at the moment writing), so in the following I list the things that most impressed me, during this path to gain familiarity with WordPress.

First, I do appreciate the Reader, with its list of updated posts from the blog that I follow. I also like the many ways WordPress team adopt for inviting you to write, as the Weekly Writing Challenge, just so say a name. Generally specking, a resource as The Daily Post is a  great point of reference if you’re looking for some intriguing idea for your blog.

The Fresly Pressed is another wonderful resource to see what it’s hot. More, there are lot of things to discover, like the 365 Writing Prompts, for example. Or Zero to zero, 30 days to make a better blog.

For what I understand, in Blogger you’re left alone, more or less. It’s a very good platform for various reason (apart from its embarrassing steady state, whereas WordPress keep updating at a good pace) , but it has not a real community that support it. Here is different, here you can feel yourself as a part of a vibrant community.

It’s for now, for this community, that I resolved to move my blog from a full installation under Altervista to a free blog inside WordPress.com, notwithstanding some technical  limitations. Yesterday I also decided to invest some euros in connecting this blog to my domain, so this is the first post under en.marcocastellani.me (admittedly, in Blogger I can do it for free, but…). I plan to spend at least some months here, to see if this is really what I like. Meanwhile, to understand a bit more about WordPress, I also bought the book The Year without pants from O’ Reilly (not too enthusiastic for the title, but ok)

All may happens, as usually. But, if I must judge from my first impressions, I think that I’ll stay.

If you’re here to improve your English, too, or if you would like to give your advice on how using WordPress for this task, I’d like to have your feelings in the comments section! Come in and drop a line! 

Book problems….

I stumbled upon this nice video, which in a few minutes shows you a couple of (very good) reasons to switch to digital also in reading books – in the case you’ve not already done it. Yes, “the smell of paper” can’t be reproduced by a common e-reader (at least, not yet) but it’s not all so amusing with books: sometimes you’d prefer to have a Kindle instead 🙂

See why….

Google Wave Drips With Ambition….

Sometimes, it’s interesting to dig a bit deeper in the Net to understand that things did not go the way we all supposed… I’m still missing Wave, it has been a revolution aborted in the initial stage. But it had all the potentiality to truly innovate the super-old email standard. I’m still disappointed about its premature disappear.

No pain, no gain

Yes, I think that it’s the way things are: you must work hard to obtain results.

This is true in a variety of situation. More or less, it’s true basically everywhere.

Take the case of art, for instance.

This is a field in which misunderstanding is quite common, on this topic. People are used to think that great artists are people who let flow art naturally from their hands. Naturally, i.e., without (too much) effort. 

Problem is, things are different. Artists are ordinary people which a strong urge to make art: following this sort of calling they are simply determined to work hard till they obtain the desired results (avoiding the traps of perfectionism).

Of course, talent matter.

But, talent isn’t all. Work and regular practice is even more important.

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I can speak only for myself, of corse. I cannot say how much talent I have in writing. But I can assure you that my best results have come in that cases where I convinced myself to spend a good amount of time on a given project. Making myself available also to write and re-write till I was not satisfied. 

To listen to suggestions. Even to change the plot, in some crucial points.

I worked on each chapter of my novel Il ritorno (in italian) for a lot of time. Plenty of time, actually. One thing I can tell you, that all that works succeeded in improving considerably the manuscript.

First draft is always frightening, even if – it can contain some gems inside.

Working till the light of the gems comes out, it’s the hard part. But it’s necessary.

And, after all, it’s what each person who love writing, is willing to do. Because he know that he has no change, nothing different than take his art seriously.

And it pays. Always.

Why I love DayOne…

To me, journaling is essential to remembering when important events took place in my life. I don’t put a lot of faith in my own brain to keep an accurate record, so journaling helps add reliability to my memories (from  Ross Lockwood’s post)

I completey agree with this statement. This is why I started journaling more frequently, since 2011. My first post in DayOne is on March, 5, and it’s a simple statement to test the new diary (in Italian, my primary language). After some hesitations, I started to write more constantly, since the summer of that year.

Keeping a journal it’s not too different, in some way, to keep making photos concerning your daily life. It’s something that can help the mind to recall, to extract that file, to retrieve from the archive all the sensations and the emotions of those specific days. For this reason, it’s of invaluable help.

It’s not important that you write always in excellent style. You are not requested to create masterpiece. That’s the good part of a diary, after all. It’s completely your business. This time, you’re not called to satisfy any requirement, to fulfill any expectation. It’s your place, it’s a place entirely for you. In my diary, I have very short  as well as very long posts, depending on my mood and on my desire to write.

And they are both fine.

They do perfectly their work, which is, to fix a given moment, an impression, an intuition. Making possible to come back to it, anytime.

Trust me: you could be surprised, as much you can still learn from yourself, just by reading your old posts.

DayOne is a very comfortable place to write, since I can reach it anytime, anywhere. From my MacBook, from iPad, or from my iPhone 5. I have my whole archive always with me, thanks to iCloud synchronization.

In time, I’ve seen DayOne growing with features, some of these I largely appreciated. The two I liked most was, in time order, the introduction of tags, and the possibility to publish single entries.

The first feature is of invaluable help in organizing your entry, as you may guess.

The second feature is expecially intriguing, to me. I see it as a sort of bridge between in and out, between my inner private world and the external environment (the rest of the world). Sometimes – after having written a post – I realize that I’d like to share it with others. In the past I elaborated a blog post on it (sometimes I still love to act in this way, since a personal diary is a great tool for raw material to process and publish at a later time), now I have also another possibility: I can simply hit “publish” and DayOne do create for me a nicely and clean webpage with my post content. I cannot ask more – except, maybe, a link to a list of all my published post.

There are a lot of other interesting feature in DayOne. But the best think, for me, is that it makes writing easy and attractive.

This time, I really cannot ask more.

My new book

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In case you didn’t know, here is my new book of poetry (in Italian). The name of the book comes from a song of Victor Heredìa, “Ojos de Cielo”. I was inspired by this passage 

Eyes of heaven, eyes of heaven, don’t abandon me in full flight

(In pieno volo it’s the italian way to say in full flight)

I can interpret the song in many different ways. What is the full flight? It’s the adventure of life, basically. Is the unique adventure of my ilfe. It’s also my spiritual voyage, needed to understand that life has a deep meaning – and it’s worth living each day. Not least, it’s the marvellous adventure of writing, it’s a recognition that writing is an important part in my life. A part that I’m called to defend and develope, since it’s needed for my full flight.

This small book is an important milestone for me. It’s a message I sent to myself, always believe to your dream. 

I’m pretty sure you can do the same to you, for your dream. I’m still certain that if we allow ourselfes to take care of our dreams, the world can turn in a much better place. Let’s do it!