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I made several blog entries before about the Opinion column on the Japan Times.  It has been on over a year and a half and I am extremely fortunate to be given this opportunity. And yet, it is quite a challenge to select the topic, crystallize my message (clear view) and develop a story to fit the season or recent events related to Japan.  Deadline for my column is the first Monday of the month, and most of the time, I struggle to draft the column.  I make it a rule not to miss the deadline, so I send my draft to the editor on Monday.   While I wait for his comments, I am so nervous and anxious.  It never happens that my draft will go through directly to line-editing.  I receive comments such as “clarify this part” “source of two sets of data same or different?”, which is easier to handle.  The ones that are more difficult and  require almost the complete restructure and some cases complete overhaul are when editor comes back with comments such as “the story line is not clear, does not flow” “what is the message?! (This is the killer!)   I receive these comments few days after I send draft and I set out to work on them.  For the difficult ones, I need to spend several hours or more to review and revise.

I t appears those who have little experience of writing column and/or paper assume that the draft will go through without too many revisions.  I explained the process during the get-together after the seminar over the weekend, and the people seemed to be surprised, as they may not have known that the process is iterative and takes time.

Despite the anxiety and headache, this is such a great opportunity for learning.  In fact, I have found that the draft I write when I am rather emotional, whether that is anger or frustration, is not organized well or convincing.  It is as if I have to hash my anger or frustration out and it so happens that is expressed in my draft.

This may be applicable to the social media or notes we send to others.  When you are mad at something/somebody and/or frustrated by some systems or processes, it is better for you to take time, preferably leave it overnight before you send note or write on social media.  If you wait before you write and send out, your emotion will subside and the clear thinking will usually come back.

Social media has many benefits, but they may drive you to take some actions which you regret later on.

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