Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Writing a Short Essay

About a week ago I received an email from Andrew Voon. He is the organiser of the Borneo International Marathon, and also an occasional running buddy of mine at the Likas jogging track. In his email, which he sent out to some of us frequent runners, he sought our contributions in terms of short essays meant for an article to be published in the local papers in a couple of weeks' time.

He suggested an essay of 100 - 150 words max, on why we run marathons, half marathons and 10km etc. He went on to suggest some guidelines such as why we started running; what motivates us; how long and how frequently we run etc.

When I read Andrew's email, I thought that's a brilliant idea, and I would not hesitate to write something up for the sake of attracting more people to take up running. After all, running is a healthy hobby and doesn't really depend so much on others to perform. One can run almost anywhere and anytime.

And so I embarked on writing my essay...

And then, to my horror, I found that I had to struggle to keep my essay within the 150-word limit!

I remember when I was still in school about a hundred years ago, I absolutely hated writing English essays. I had to spend something like the entire day to write a single paragraph, let alone 150 words!

It's quite funny that these days it's quite the opposite! Whenever I write—especially when it involves sharing my opinions with my readers—I can very easily become long-winded. It is very rare that I have nothing to say! Quite on the contrary, I have to suppress my inclinations in order to limit the length of my essays.

A friend who's been a regular reader of this blog wrote to me and expressed her admiration for my regular postings, and then asked me where I got my ideas from. I told her quite truthfully that I don't really plan very much beforehand what to write, and how to write. I just keep stumbling upon interesting issues every now and then; and then I just put my fingers to the keyboard, and the rest just happens almost automatically.

Anyway, coming back to the short essay on running, I'm glad to say that I finally sent Andrew something yesterday. But I'm afraid I wasn't very successful in keeping within the 150-word limit, though I have at least tried my best to get very close. I hope the editor has the staying power to read my article to the finish.

This evening, I bumped into Dr Peter, Dr Liaw and Dr Felice at the jogging track. At the end of the run, we got to talk about the essay. And I said to them that I had to struggle to keep my essay short. And then Peter said something amusing—he said maybe I'm getting long-winded. I responded in the affirmative, and then added that I must be getting old.

1 comment:

teo said...

Hi Corny,

Mine burst the max 150 limit lah...ended with 400+. Sure kena disqualified or edit. Yeah, I guess the older we are, the more we can talk / write. Lets hope the things we talk / write is not nonsence haha