Writing Lessons

The first thing I learned was that it was a proper decision to blog in English – which is not my native language. I did this after a period of blogging in two languages. I remember very well how I discussed this possibility with Joanna Young who gave me the advice to just try it out. I tried it out and, after a few blog posts, decided to change from Blogger to WordPress and to write in English. That was my first writing lesson: Writing is tightly tied to culture, and just translating a German blogpost into the English version simply won’t do it. I had to write in a completely different way.

The second thing I learned was that my English was accepted. I posted a lot of photos, and the writing that went with them was quite short. So the number of mistakes was limited by the number of words written. Still I was afraid of not being able to deliver. ‘The people coming to my blog encouraged me to continue with my blog posts, telling me not to bother about my language capacities.

The third thing I learned was that presenting my photos was a part of my blogging. I published a poem (in a sudden attack of audacity) and two very, very short stories. Again I got encouraging feedback and support. I published some pastel drawing which I had done a few years ago. Again I was afraid – would my “products” be good enough for the public? And again I got reactions which made me blush.

And that’s the last and most important thing I learned: To try out new things, to overcome my fear. The steps I had to do myself, but I needed and still need my various blogging friends in order to evaluate my steps, to get an orientation for the paths I will take. So: A big Thank you to Joanna Young, Robert Hruzek , Brad Shorr, Karen Swim, Rosa Say and Janice Cartier!

This is a contribution to Joanna Young’s group writing project: Writing Lessons

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About Ulla Hennig

I live and work in Berlin. Taking photos is one of my hobbies, and writing is one of my hobbies, too. So I decided not only to show some of my pictures here but also present some of the thought which came wth the pictures.

15 responses to “Writing Lessons”

  1. Joanna Young says :

    Ulla, I am so moved by this post. It is a real tribute to the power of community to motivate and support, but also demonstrates how much you have grown and developed by constantly taking those leaps into the unknown.

    It’s been wonderful being part of that journey with you so far, and I can’t wait to see where it takes you next.

  2. Brad Shorr says :

    Ulla, Your photos and your words are things I look forward to every week. I’m so glad you decided to blog in English. Looking forward to continuing our blogging journey together in 2009!

  3. Janice Cartier says :

    Ulla,
    Coming over to see what Ulla has been up to is a pleasure. It’s like my favorite story of yours, the one of those little furry creatures that come nibbling, exploring in your city. There is always something truly delightful when I come nibbling over here.
    Now I have an image of us all in a Berlin Park, one of Ulla’s making.
    That makes me smile. Can’t wait to play some more. Thank you.

  4. Wendee says :

    Hi Ulla –
    This post is so very lovely, thoughtful and clear. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and words and art! You inspire me to read more of your blog archives and to get back to writing mine. It’s been so great to get to know you!

  5. peacefulwmn9 says :

    I have been meandering through your blog. It is a pure delight!

    Karen Chaffee

  6. Sherrie Sisk says :

    What a great post, Ulla! I’m new to your blog, from the Confident Writing blog (yay Joanna! You make great recommendations!).

    Interestingly, I read this:

    I published a poem (in a sudden attack of audacity) and two very, very short stories.

    … as this:

    I published a poem (in a sudden attack of authenticity) and two very, very short stories.

    Hmm… it works! Authenticity requires audacity!

  7. Rosa Say says :

    We may be more similar than you realize Ulla, for though I write in English, and English is my native tongue, I will think in Hawaiian kaona first, especially when I write about my management and leadership topics rooted in the Managing with Aloha philosophy. I imagine we have the same challenge at times (many, many times!) where the languages don’t really translate that well in conveying certain concepts.

    Hawai‘i is a bit peculiar in that conversational Hawaiian is so rare here, but our sense of place and ‘cultural persuasion’ is so strong it can often trump the spoken word. We’ve all grown up accepting it’s simply the way it is – it’s perfectly okay to not be completely understood sometimes. Conversely, I think it has taught us to ask more questions when we are not sure, and assume or pre-judge much less, so that’s a good thing!

    • Ulla Hennig says :

      Rosa,
      thanks for sharing – I didn’t have a glue that Haiwai’i is still such a strong language.
      For me, English and German stand for slightly different cultures – German written language tends to be rather formal and stiff compared to the English written language I know. It is more similar to talked English – whereas talked German and written German differ a lot. The English speaking people I know are a lot more easygoing, welcoming, friendly, openhearted than the German people (my German friends of course excluded).

  8. Terro says :

    Ulla, what courage you have! We all enjoy the wonderful result of your daring and talent.

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