The Art of Writing

I’m in the middle of tearing my hair out trying to put the completing touch on the first draft of my novel.

Hence, I went through some window shopping on Amazon to see if any title attracted my attention. I found several free books and guessed, why not. I’m listing them below just in case anyone wanted them as well.

Writing a Page Turner: Five Editing Maxims to Make Your Book Irresistible by Mark Dawson.

How to Work with an Editor: A Guide for (Nervous) Authors also by Mark Dawson.

Mark is famed as a thriller writer and his Facebook Ads course. He’s also part of the Self Publishing Formula podcast, and I’m guessing these are his funnels leading to his courses. I only selected these 2 out of the series of list cause I’m interested to have a more thrilling approach in my writing and I’m also working with an editor now. There’s a whole lot others in part of his self publishing series.

How to Write a Novel in 30 Days in Perrin Briar

A novel. 30 days? And it’s free? Sure, why not have a look at it.

Art & Craft of Writing: Secret Advice for Writers

Also part of a series. At this point, my library is a bit bloated with craft books, but secret advice, I’ll still take it.

Potato Diet for Weight Loss

Eating potatoes can solve all your problems… really!

Alright, that’s an exaggeration but I came across this post by Rusty Moore a couple of months ago and was intrigued.

Potato Hack for Rapid Fat Loss

So, the key idea here is just to have potatoes. Nothing else but potatoes for three days straight to lose weight.

You can have all the food you want, but it has to be boiled potatoes. With nothing else, perhaps a little salt to push the potato down the throat. Boiled a whole batch of potatoes the night before and put them into the fridge. Then, when the diet starts, as long as you are hungry, you can eat the potatoes.

Why potatoes? Well, it boils down to a research that claimed that potatoes are one of the most satiating food around. For the same amount of calories/nutrients, potatoes are much more satiating than other type of food. Your stomach can feel full even though it didn’t consume as much when compared to eating other type of foods.

It’s one of the main idea in limiting the calories intake without causing the hunger discomfort that often comes with dieting. Another factor is also because of the existence of resistant starch. For potatoes, if you cooked and then cooled the potatoes, the amount of resistant starch increase with each process of heating and cooling. So, the starch passed through the gut without being digested.

I went online for reviews. It looked like majority of people lost some weight on it. Even, Ireland went through a long period of just eating on potatoes alone and they survived. So, any nutritional imbalance wouldn’t be that bad since I’m going on it for just 3 days.

Here’s what I thought when I went through it. I pressure cooked a whole batch of potatoes.

Do I hate it? Yes, very much, especially by Day 2 of just eating plain boiled potatoes. I mean, I’m relatively fit, and by no means, requires dieting or anything. Why did I push myself to go through this when I could gouge on delicious meat (yeah, I was having food cravings since Day 1). I feel like I’m torturing myself with it, before I relented to using salt on the potatoes. Buy a large bag of potatoes. I under estimated how much potatoes I could consume and had to end this early because I ran out of potatoes the first time around.

Will I try it again? Possibly. It works. I lost some weight, and had one of the easiest experience in the toilet. With the amount of potatoes I ate, I had a lot of roughage in my system and it just make the stool pass faster. Yeah, I’ll try it again in the future since I have a wedding celebration to attend to in a couple more months. I want to be leaner by then.

Will I recommend it to others? Possibly. Do you want a mostly painless way of losing weight within just 3 days. If yes, try it out. After all, I survived it.

Curated: Being a Go Getter is No Fun

I shared all the interesting posts and articles I found on FB. It’s sort of like a placeholder for me, where I can look back and reread some of the articles. It’s not the same system, often bogged down by the sheer amount of clutter there but it’s what I’d been doing.

There’s one article that resonated so much with me that I printed it out, and pinned to my cubicle walls for casual reading. Below are some excepts from it.

“People ask high self-control people to do more for perfectly logical reasons—because they think that those who successfully demonstrate high (vs. low) self-control will perform better and accomplish more. So it is a reasonable thing to do, from the perspective of the partner, the manager, the coworker,” says Christy Zhou Koval, a Ph.D student at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and lead author of the study.“But for the actor, it can feel like a burden. Why should you do more work for the same reward, while your less capable coworker coasts along with lower expectations and work?”

A separate experiment found that participants not only assigned more tasks to the go-getters—but underestimated how much work it would take to get the job done. “What looks easy from the outside may not feel that easy on the inside,” says Gráinne Fitzsimons, one of the co-authors of the study.

high performers were not only aware that they were giving more at work—they rightly assumed that their managers and co-workers didn’t understand how hard it was for them, and thus felt unhappy about being given more tasks.

“In the workplace, managers should be careful to give the highest quality work and best opportunities to the most capable employees, and give the lower quality but time consuming work to less capable employees,” says Koval. “If someone is doing more than his fair share, compensate him for it. If not, he may ultimately leave and seek recognition elsewhere.

In short, the only reward for hard work is more work.

Makes one ponder, will it be worth it in the end.

Slow Updates

I haven’t been coming here much lately.

The scar is still there. Now, I’m known as “that guy” among the trainers in the gym.

I’d changed my role recently – more visibility in the office as my reporting manager would be closer, Singapore instead of China. A very tiring role. I haven’t thought of experiencing falling asleep on the chair just a month into the new role. It’s that exhausting. Adapting to the craziness still takes some getting use to.

I’d been getting pulled into a number of projects at work and that’s sapping almost all my energy. Did I mentioned my visibility in office is high? Almost too high for my comfort.

I also have to move because my prior landlord wanted to  retake and renovate the apartment. I have to find a new place. 60% spike in the rent charges compared to my prior place with not much difference in space.That’s going to hurt my wallet.

Momentary Lapse in Concentration

I was doing some bench press today when I encountered a mishap. What happened was that I was finished with my exercise and was placing the bar back to the placeholder. I thought I’d secured it but alas, one side was not. 70 kg worth of weight (half of it since 1 half was secured came crashing down on my head. The area to my left eyes was lacerated and I had a deep flesh wound.

I’d went to the clinic and had 5 stitches to tie the wound up. I’d definitely shocked my colleagues with my bloodied face. I feel like Zuko of the Avatar series now.

I’m also aware that I’d started and stopped a lot of projects in the middle mainly because I got busy during work and then got distracted in something else. This is something I’m constantly aware of and has been a thorn in my side for so long.

Happy Lunar New Year 2015

I haven’t been updating much at all since last.

Since I’m back home and have a break for the Lunar New Year celebration (My holidays was supposed to start last Monday, but I’d still been working … ), I finally figured that I have time to rearrange my life around, think up on resolutions and all the good stuff.

My New Year (end Dec – Jan period) was a hectic mess that drags on till this month with new deadlines, sudden changes and everything that took us by storm.

IBM Reorg

I’m still reeling from this and things aren’t looking to settle down any time soon.

Anyway, Happy Lunar New Year everyone. Wish you all wealth, prosperity and all the usual greetings in this coming year.

2014: Year in Review

It’s been so long since I’d updated that I didn’t realized a year had passed since.

The year just passed by so fast. 2014 was rather uneventful, and in many ways, marked a year with not much progression in my life.

In terms of career, this year really took a backseat. Although there’s a role change and several intense period of allnighter,  this was probably the most relaxed year I’d so far. So much that I’d gotten considerably lax and lost a lot of that fire burning inside. The company performance had been bad, very bad. And compensation took a nosedive, to nill. My awaited increment was postponed till financials were better.

Work was fun, but not challenging enough. Maybe it’s because I’d endured so much the previous two years that everything looked relatively simple by now.  I might be looking for a bit more challenge in my next role, or I’ll ended up coasting along. I’ll certainly hope to do it soon though, early next year I’m expecting several business model changes coming in, that are frankly a tiresome nuisance. I’m not sure whether I want to spend my energy in tackling that.

The working environment mellowed as well. Colleagues whom I’d entered the company together at the same time resigned one by one. Those who I thought would continued working tendered their resignations. At this rate, I’ll be the last of my intake. It kinda put into perspective how long I’d been on this. Also, the colleagues in my team are moving out one by one. I’d been through this a few times, but this time, I felt the loneliness at bit more, maybe cause I’d opened my heart a bit more for them. I’d saw them came into the company, taught a number of them and even had great memories with them. Seems like what one of them said was true. The curse of high performance was that no manager will willingly let you go. Case in point.

In terms of personal, I didn’t have much changes as well. My relationships are as they were in the beginning of the year. Those around me are falling in love. Classmates I knew are getting married. I wondered if everyone else is just speeding in life ahead of me. The only big thing I’d done this year was to make going to the gym a habit. I’d gotten stronger, and my physique was corresponding to the changes. I’m still a glutton when it comes to food though.

I’d been reading a lot recently, so that was well for me but that had gotten me an earful or two because I would be so engrossed that I tend to be reading the whole night till the next morning when my eyes are bloodshot and I’ll fall asleep on the bed. That’s how most of my weekends are spent nowadays.

Finances took a deep plunge. I’d been saving up my money in the stock market for better performance since I’m young but the market had been going down due to the oil price dropped, and my net worth went down with it. Let just say that my net worth at the end of this year is equivalent to the beginning of the year although I’d thrown almost all that I’d earned throughout the year excluding living expenses into the index. That was a bitter pain, though I wasn’t planning to save a big purchase anyway.

Here’s to hoping that 2015 would be a better year, and that I will be more productive. Maybe I should be more vigilant about posting here instead of just remembering about this place once a year.

When Common Sense Thrumps Analytics

Had been coping with a lot of work since the last few months. Expecting more in incoming months since my bosses has graciously forced volunteer myself to be involved in more projects. In one way, I’m grateful for their intention and desire for me to take on more stuff. On the other, I know when my plate is full, but can’t reject them.

I hate it when business become just a number. It should be used to help explain how the business is performing and motivate the sales team to get there, but shouldn’t be the sole important thing to base on. Recently, I was involved in splitting budget and target number for next year business. Previously, the approach was for WW to give out a target and seek the FA to think on how to appropriate the amount – to which countries, and which brand should be the main driver etc. However, recent changes had WW sending the targets directly for each large accounts.

Despite escalations that the numbers given are unreasonable – whether from a finance view or the local business view, our cries are disregarded as WW want to maintain the number so things look fine when presenting to their own bosses. The top down approach was seemed as more analytical since those operating on a global scale has a more holistic view on which area can drive growth. But should this approach be continued when local business insights are giving feedback that the top down numbers are unreasonable and almost impossible to achieve?

At least, I know they won’t responsible when asked to explain how the local business cannot drive growth to meet the target given.