Posts tagged ‘Writing’


Third Anniversary


Loki on her last day

It is hard to believe but I have reached the third anniversary for this blog. Writing-wise, this past year hasn’t exactly been prolific. In fact, I only wrote two posts and shared a former colleague’s post.

I wish I could say that I didn’t have anything to write about however life gave me too many things to write about. It was quite an overwhelming year. There were many good things, such as I got perfect on the driving test for my full motorcycle license and more importantly the woman I love proved time and again just how lucky I am to have her in my life. Three events stand out, the death of my cat, my mom’s diagnosis with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and the death of my father.

Now you are probably wondering how I can rank the death of my cat with the terminal illness of my parents so let me explain. I got Loki, aptly named after the Norse god of mischief and evil, when she was a kitten while I was living in Vancouver with my future ex-wife. She moved with me 7 times in as many years, from Vancouver to the Toronto area and to The Netherlands and back. She was there for the birth of my two children and was the only thing I insisted on during my divorce (in retrospect, there were other things I should have insisted on). But ultimately, because my father was ill, I was mourning him as much as Loki when I had to put her down. Even though my father had’t passed, the signs were there that it wouldn’t be that much longer.

I am going to post my thoughts about my fathers death and I will do the same when my mother dies. After that difficult start to 2014, I plan on creating some upbeat posts. I could be bitter and sad about the way life has been going but that would be a waste of energy. Enjoy life just in case it is the only one we get.


Second Anniversary

ContemplationSo I’ve been blogging for about two years, my first real post was February 2. In that time I have posted 35 times and I was wondering what my theme is. My most popular topics are around understanding, faith, passion and doing. My top three posts for the year were Faith, A Lesson Remembered, and Doing more by doing less. If I look at my two-year statistics, my most popular post was Causality followed by The Importance of Dialogue and Faith a close third. How odd. That is not what I thought this would be about.

My original intention was to use this blog to get input from others on things that would help me help those I worked with and develop my skills as a leader. I thought this would be a blog focused on technical matters and agile methodologies and practices. Within a few months it was less of that, more of what simply made me think. Sometimes it was work related and more often it was not and I am happy with this direction.

I think the following quote captures my thoughts well:

Each of us is it in the world for no very long time, and within the few years of his life has to acquire what ever he is to know of this strange planet and its place in the universe. To ignore our opportunities for knowledge, imperfect as they are, is like going to the theater and not listening to the play. The world is full of things that are tragic or comic, heroic or bizarre or surprising, and those who fail to be interested in the spectacle that it offers are foregoing that one of the privileges that life has to offer.

Bertrand RussellThe Conquest of Happiness.

Work is a great source of inspiration and happiness and the world holds so much more. I will continue to blog about what I am privileged in this life to see, whether it is work or some thing else.  Whether it is joy, tragedy or comic, I hope we all learn something about ourselves and the spectacle that is life. Cheers.


New set of Posts

I am starting a new set of posts on my blog. In the past, when I found a blog post or article that I found interesting I would email it various colleagues. When I am catching up on my feeds this could result in three or four emails in an hour or so. Not everyone appreciated the ‘blast’ of emails.

It was suggested to me by a forthright and respected colleague that I should accumulate these and send a single email, once a week. She does this Friday mornings. Great idea! So I started a new ‘book’ on Springpad called “Things to share”. The problem is I haven’t shared any of those clippings.

Talking with my esteemed colleague recently as she started setting up her blog, she suggested that I use my blog to share the articles that I found interesting. Another great idea! This will particularly help with establishing a rhythm to my posts and give me the necessary practice in writing so that you get to see quality material.

Please stay tuned as the first post will be up shortly.



Apparently I am not yet disciplined enough to write when the weather outside is sunny and hot. Which is odd because I have always considered myself more of a winter person. I must start thinking of my self as multi-seasonal for each season has its own pleasures.

I recently connected with author Scott Berkun on twitter (@berkun) and after checking me out Scott said he would be interested in reading a blog post comparing the crafts of carpentry and programming. Craft was Scott’s choice of wording not mine. I am still on the fence about software craftmanship due to the fact that I see software more like literature than like carpentry or other ‘crafts’. I have to agree that this is a worthy subject to explore though it might have extend to 2 or 3 posts as carpentry is only part of what I was when I started programming. Being an electrician taught me that you should know the rules, and not follow the rules at your own peril (I still own the side cutters with three deep notches). As an industrial mechanic I learned the importance of a clean workspace to keep the job going smoothly, and, as a chef, that every day is different and you need to allow for that.

So I hope to have something for you in the next few weeks. Keep checking that RSS feed.


Becoming a Writer

Is it just me, or do things regularly converge in ways that are unexpected? Perhaps they shouldn’t be unexpected as it is our focus that draws them together but some things are random events that just seem to be timed too perfectly. So what am I going on about? I just read “Made to Stick” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, my brother published his first full length ebook on Amazon, and at work we needed someone edit a document on managerial core competencies.

So I recently read “Made to Stick” which is a book about why some ideas ‘stick’ or resonate with an audience. It is a very thought provoking book covering such topics as newspaper articles, campaign strategies and slogans, and corporate mission statements. The premise is that there are six principles that make ideas stick. If what you are communicating hits enough of these six principles then your idea ‘sticks’ with the audience. As I read through the book it got me thinking about the construction of my blog posts, among other things. How could I apply what I learned from the book to improve the quality of my blog posts?

In the middle of May my brother announced that his first full length ebook had been published in the Kindle store on Amazon. This is an achievement for my brother some six (I think) years in the making. He gave up his successful business and house here in Canada and moved to Europe to dedicate himself to writing. And he stuck with it resulting in the aforementioned book. Now, as his brother you would expect me to heap praise on his book just because he is my brother but that wouldn’t be me. To be honest, I was dreaded starting it because I expected it to be a slog. The night I started it, I picked it up about 11 PM, and didn’t look at the clock until 1:30 AM. It was excellent and I rushed through it looking forward to discovering how it would end. Through dedication and hard work my brother had transformed himself into a writer of books that I was interested in reading. Could I do the same with myself and create blog posts that would attract readers?

At work we have been working on creating core competency documents for all the staff in our research and development organization. We had previously created a document for all the non-managerial positions, a process with I shepherded. We are now working on the same document for the managerial positions and I am once again the chief editor and shepherd. I didn’t write the initial draft, that was done by another director. My job is to rewrite the document based on the initial feedback of all the directors. This document isn’t just a bunch of job descriptions, the what you are suppose to do but rather the principles that each level should be following to accomplish their job. This ties very much into “Made to Stick”. A good corporate mission statement can help every employee choose the right path for the company by informing them as to the best action. That is what this document is suppose to do for managers, provide them with the yard stick against which to measure their actions. If the managers follow the core competency document then they will have guidance on each tactical decision they make.

So all three of this things came together in a very short period of time which lead to this blog post. I had to ask myself if I wanted to become a writer. Did I really enjoy writing? Writing isn’t something I have done extensively since I graduated from university.

Can I write a blog, or a corporate document, that people want to read, that communicates clearly what I am trying to say? Will it cause people to think about what I said? Only time will tell, and perhaps the fact that you read this far.

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