[2022/12/17] writing about writing

I spent the whole day writing one of two final essays for the History course. We had to write from 1,800 to 2,000 words. The topic I chose was comparing and contrasting imperialism of the industrial nations in Egypt, India, and China. It was not at all an easy task. I struggled so much to get started and had even more challenges coming up with the right outline. Also, today I wasn’t as productive as yesterday because I completely failed in using the Pomodoro technique. I sometimes had writer’s block and would spend the whole 25-minute focus time watching Youtube videos or I would have so many ideas that I used up the 30-minute break without even trying. Hmm… maybe this technique is not very applicable to my writing style? Anyway, I didn’t finish until like midnight!

On the topic of writing, I want to mention Act One of episode “The Ghost in the Machine” by This American Life podcast that I listened to while I was at work on 12/21, which is 4 days later. The storyteller Vauhini Vara lost her sister when she was in college. Even though Vauhini’s a writer now, she’d never really been able to write about her sister. It’s hard to figure out what to say about something like that. Somehow, it was an AI program (GPT 3) that helped her find the words. In the end, Vauhini did end up rewriting things by herself, sometimes from her own experiences, other times from the suggestion of the machine. I thought the story was super powerful because it shows how sophisticated technology has advanced, but also how irreplaceable humans are in terms of emotions. Like I don’t think machines can ever surpass people when it comes to feelings and sensibility, but they can help people convey theirs in a more accurate and clear way. Maybe I will try using this for my future posts!

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