I’ve never been much of a writer. I mean, I can write like I’m talking, but even composing a proper blog entry takes a humongous amount of effort and time. Evidence: …what’s the date of my last blog entry again? Even then, a large amount of my entries consist of just photos. It’s kind of cheating in a way. I can do small amounts of writing though. Facebook statuses, for instance, are no problem.
So obviously I’m more of a visual person, but I actually am a bad “drawer”, too. To this day I struggle to draw from my head. Drawing with references (like drawing portraits) is different; it uses the left brain instead of the right. (Or so I read. Somewhere. Ages ago. Don’t quote me on this.) My point is, I’ve never really found any form of communication that worked, to spread my own ideas and represent the jumble of stuff coming from and into my head. Sure I haven’t really tried that hard , hence online, I’ve mostly been playing the role of a “sharer”, of quotes and articles and videos and other people’ statuses, etc.
Until about a month ago when I attended the ProductiveMuslim seminar in UIA/IIUM. I think most people get to (and make an effort to) attend various religious/motivational/professional sort of talks and programmes throughout their lives, though mostly during school/university. And most people would wish to convey what they’ve gained in those sessions to everybody else too. It reminds me of the Twins of Faith conference in PICC sometime ago. (It was a significant event for me, I loved so many of the talks, but once I got home, after the head-absolutely-brimming-with-new-thoughts phase has ended, I ended up not able to share that much at all. Obviously because I did not take notes during the event. I thought I would YouTube the talks again so I could extract the brilliant ideas that I’ve forgotten, but looks like I haven’t even done that. ) The Twins of Faith are knowledge (ilmu) and action (amal). This is partly why I think spreading knowledge is so important — in certain things, you are not able to beramal with the knowledge you come across (yet), but perhaps if you share the knowledge with others, it might touch them in a different way, or they might have more power in other areas, and they would be able to take action. And inshaAllah the reward comes to you too, for playing a part in the process.
Hoi panjangnye muqaddimah.
I already planned to take notes for the ProductiveMuslim talk. Partly because Saffa posted a photo of the notes she took during the earlier ProductiveMuslim workshop, but could not make it to the two-day seminar. Some other friends could not come as well. So yes, must take notes. I even compiled some old A4 papers from a sketchbook to bind (read: staple) into a notebook. (Most notebooks I already had, had lines on the pages. Lines are evil and limiting. )
When the day came, I found out that the organisers already provided slide handouts for every participant. But they were PowerPoint slide handouts with lines (!!!) beside each slide for you to write notes on. And afterwards, Abu Productive told us that he edited the PowerPoint slides since they printed them, so the ones he will be presenting are not exactly the same as our notes. So no more hesitating, must write notes. in my notebook.
(I’m not sure why the decision to write notes vs. just listening was such a big deal for me. Maybe I always thought that I had to look at the speaker while s/he is speaking in order to fully absorb what s/he is saying. But I think, with practice, I could manage just fine with my ears perked, my eyes looking at the book, and my hand furiously doodling.)
Yes, doodling. Because this is what the notes turned out like (after some Photoshopping ):
After several pages were up on Facebook (because it took me in total, two weeks to finish the 20 pages ), it kinda … went viral. To my surprise, not only did my friends share it, but strangers shared it! Abu Productive shared it! The organisers shared it! MashaAllah. Kak Dina also told me that it was spreading on Twitter! (Twitter remains foreign to me and I hope I will never be sucked into it. Haha.)
It was incredibly flattering but also encouraging. It was so heart-warming, what they wrote, the friend-requests and messages I was getting. SubhanaAllah. I know I might be making yet another big deal out of something small, but I was truly overwhelmed. I even whined to my mum about this pressure I felt, like people were expecting more out of me, despite the fact that this was all unintended, unasked for, even accidental. And then my mum told me, such wise words, the kind of words that only come out of the mouth of mums (paraphrased though, because my memory is terrible that way):
Aneesah, other people out there take great effort in finding their niche. Trying to find a place where they can contribute and do good. You are lucky to stumble upon this with your talent. It takes only a little effort from you, but with greater impact to others.
And so, I tried again. A friend of mine had a project to do, where I’m meant to answer questions and give advice to the “younger generation” regarding study tips and stuff like that. I drew out my points instead of racking my brains while attempting to arrange some words into coherent sentences (my Malay writing is no better than my English writing, FYI ).
And the latest series I have for now are some “posters” promoting Good Manners. No joke.
My style seems to have that handwritten doodly effect to it, but I am also researching infographics since they seem to go along the lines of what the notes are trying to achieve.
Till next time. Salaams & bye!