Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Writer Needs Courage

People who write have one thing in them. They are ready to face the world, whether in a good way or bad. They are ready to take criticism for what they write. Anyone who is afraid cannot be a writer.

One needs to become responsible for what one writes. Just because one has courage and is unafraid, doesn't mean that the writer can write whatever she wants. Because the written word is so powerful, because people take it seriously, the writer has to be careful about things she expresses.

Writing for the public is not a personal diary, where one can spill out whatever is on her mind. The public needs to be spared the chaos in an individuals' mind. Otherwise, that chaos would spill into the public arena, which would cause more confusion.

Since the written page is taken so seriously by readers, it comes with a lot of responsibility to the writer. It is a record for posterity, and everything isn't grist for the mill in a future world. Now, with the media explosion because of the internet and social media, people's attention spans have shortened. The writer needs to keep that in mind.

With so much information floating around, in the future, when it would be time for the society to look back, it would be selective, and look at the useful, what would be useful to itself, and discard those that are of no importance.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Morning Pages for the Writer

If one thing is vital to a writer's day, it is the morning pages. It helps absolutely. Whether you call it Morning Pages, or Novel Diary, it jump starts a writer's day. In the morning when you haven't primed yourself up yet, and you are groggy from sleep, you need this.

I've been practicing writing the Morning Pages, and it has worked wonders. I get more easily and quickly attuned to a writer's mindset. I get focused in what I need to do during the day. I can make a link with the previous day's work, and then continue from there.

Just as a journal can be useful to any person, these pages are useful to a writer. I am a living proof. They are even more needed after a weekend, when I don't write, to go back to the working mode. I forget my work during the weekend, which I devote to my family. So, getting back to work on Monday is a bit tough.

I have to orient myself to the stream of thought. I have to pick up from where I'd left. The novel's complexity comes back when I delve deep into myself, and that I can do when I write my pages.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Walking and Writing

I have solid proof that walking helps writing. The two topics may seem completely unrelated, but they are not.

Whenever I am stuck while writing a scene or chapter, I just need to get out of the chair and walk about the house. Walking out in the open is even better. Just stand up and work your legs. Walk. Continue.

The results will show immediately. Ideas would flow and you'd have to go back to the table to jot them down, so you won't lose them. That's the way it works. When the blood travels away from the head to the feet, it works wonders.

These are nitty-gritties of the writing life that are so significant that they're not noticed until ideas stop flowing. Outdoor life, without losing focus, can be a great inspiration. A walk in the neighborhood park is beneficial. So is a little outing on your bicycle, when you let the breeze touch you as well as your inner self.

Writing is a constant balancing of energies and thoughts, and that can be achieved with a minute eye for one's body and mind.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

God in Writing

Many of you are surprised to read the above headline. Am I talking about religious writing? One can interpret it in many ways. No, I'm not talking about theological pieces, or anything to do with religious philosophy.

What I mean here is about the underlying force in writing. One need not be a church or temple goer, or even believe in any religion. By 'God in Writing', I mean the presence of a power you believe in, during the entire process of writing, from conception of an idea or ideas, to planning and execution.
Which by themselves are often incomprehensible, or unwieldy, or confusing.

When you seek to do everything by yourself, then any work will assume gigantic proportions. Small things will appear big and difficult. But when we place our faith in someone, or something, it becomes easily manageable. It's like having a companion or friend in your time of need.

Writing is a time when you need strength. It may be physical strength to withstand long hours of work, or emotional strength to see you through times when you are slogging away alone at your desk, away from the society to finish that last few pages. However much you want to be partying or be somewhere else other than your desk, you need some kind of strength to carry you through these tough pockets of time. That is when 'God' helps you, and gives you the strength, to carry on, in spite of everything.

In times of 'Writer's Block', you need 'God' the most. a writer's block comes in the first place, I believe, when your ego takes over. While you are creating some good pieces and one very good days, your pride makes you think that it is you who has produced that work. That is a dangerous process. If you think you're too good, then the pride halts you in your steps.

Your expectation from yourself becomes so high that you want everything from you to be the highest in quality and quantity. The ego asks and you deliver. Then a time comes when you cannot produce anything. You don't have anything to show. That is the effect of ego on creativity and writing.

Minimizing you ego means believing in 'God' or the power that feeds your creativity. When we think that all our creations come from God, it means we're subjugating our ego an raisin our work higher than the ego.

Creating any piece of writing, or art, needs some amount of 'ego' so that the creator's signature is seen in the outcome But too much ego isn't good. It will block you and you will stagnate. Just ask the Universe, the Power, the God to be with you. Then you're not alone. And you'll be able to create you best work.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Regularity: Sticking to it all the way

Over the years, I've realized that if you have the talent to write, if you know how to compose a piece of work, whether prose or poetry, short story or novel, the next important thing is carrying power.

How long can you persevere at it? Writing is not for those with a faint heart. It demands total dedication and long hours of work. Merely writing words on paper (or the computer) isn't called writing. It has to be readable and comprehensible. Someone should be able to read and understand it.

Even basic types of writing like diary keeping has one condition attached to it. That's called regularity. One has to be regularly writing to accomplish one's goal. Keeping a diary is not as complicated as writing a book, which needs more dedication, because one has to figure out the content, as well as shape that content into a coherent whole spanning several hundred pages.

When I talk about a few hundred pages, immediately it feels as if I am talking of a daunting task. To fill pages and pages with interesting and readable material is not for the flimsy or flaky minded. One has to apply one's various faculties to and stand one's ground, for long hours, weeks and months, even years.

There are also some who are adept at making great starting. There is a lot of enthusiasm in the beginning, until they get stuck in a rut, for various reasons, which has one name in the writer's dictionary. Block. I don't believe in the kind of writer's block that I hear people talking about. There cannot be a block when one write's regularly and approaches writing as serious work, like any other day job.

The general belief is to think of writing as a hobby or a lighter activity. Our society doesn't give that importance or legitimacy to someone's work unless it is an award winner or a blockbuster, earning loads of money. But writing is not any whimsical activity that one can pick up and drop off any time. One a writer, always a writer. As they say, You are a writer before as well after publishing.

Many people would find it difficult to believe that it requires months, and sometimes years of work, to get that book in hand ready in print. And now, with the surfeit of information because of the internet in our lives, that little, or big volume, requires a writer to be more dedicated to her work. She has to keep all distractions at bay and write every day, even if it is less than what she set as her daily goal.

Being able to sit at one's desk and producing those words that would eventually become your book, and doing it regularly, is the secret to a writer's success. By success, I mean getting a good quality book in print and ready for the reader.

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Writer in Me: The Mind Body Connection

I grew up as a child spending lot of time with books. What outcome could you expect in such a scenario? Someone who wants to write. And hence my life is now long years of reading, writing, and more writing. And the best place to visit all time has been the library wherever I lived.

It isn't surprising, is it? My earliest clear memory is of going to the District Library in Jorhat, a small town in Assam, India, where I spent most of my school years. That was the formative period of my life.

For some reason, I wasn't much into games and sports. I wasn't a weak girl. Somehow, that aspect of life never interested me. Later, after passing out from school, I became a yoga enthusiast. and right now, I regularly go to the gym and walk in the park, also bike sometimes. Haven't reached the half-marathon level. But this isn't that bad. It isn't about all head and body care. I do try to live a holistic life, taking care of my physical as well mental well being.

One thing I've learnt over the years is that, one cannot live just the way one likes, especially when it comes to the body, mind and spirit. Eating and drinking anything, at any time, or inputting anything into the mind, sleeping at any hour, no control in life... One cannot abuse any part of it. There is a clear connection between all these aspects.

Life continues because of balance. It's so important to take care of the body if one wants to use the mind. Writing is nothing else but using the mind to produce words from ideas. Dynamic ideas are born in an active energetic body. Just like an oiled machine works efficiently, similarly, a well maintained body (not just aesthetically, it's about health) works better than when it hasn't been cared for.

Health is wealth. I don't know who said this or from where it has come. The older I am getting, I realize the significance of good health more seriously. Everything in life is connected to health. As long as one is alive, health affects that person. It could be good health or bad health. When we talk of bad health, it brings up the image of a sick person, who cannot walk straight and tall, or someone in a hospital bed with pipes everywhere, or coughing an eyes watering.

These are just a few images that I get when I talk about bad health. a person who is in bad health is not in normal condition, is unable to perform optimally, and is a drag to herself and others surrounding her. The opposite scenario applies to a healthy person. She is full of energy and can apply herself to the task at hand with full focus.

Not that good health guarantees the best writing. Many other attributes also go into making a great writer, like life experiences, perception and empathy, power of observation, ability to interpret incidents in a writerly way, etc. etc.

But a writer in good health, and with better than average abilities is a boon to everyone. A society needs writers who write well.

Friday, September 12, 2014

There's Something about Writing

I have been writing since a young age. A few years I spent in the newspaper and editing industry on day jobs. But all throughout, writing has never left me.

And the outcome is here in the form of a full-fledged novel titled Silk. There are also various other projects in different stages of completion. I have a lot of stories inside me, and the time is not not enough.

A day has only twenty-four hours, out of which eight hours are designated to sleep. Much goes into eating and cleaning and for the family too. How much time do I have, to write? Not much.

But there's something about writing that keeps me at it.