As I close this round of posts for Blogchatter Half Marathon on reading, I realised that I haven’t talked about writing much. I believe that reading and writing are part of the same experience, just different ways of expression.
Here are some of the ways I ensure that I am on track where my writing is concerned.
1. Create time and space
This is a pet topic and a pet peeve with me. All I want is unlimited time to write, where I can brew ideas in my mind, let them mature and when they are ready, put them on paper. I also need a quiet space, in fact lots of quiet spaces where I can move through them, deepening the solitude so that the best words come pouring out.
This however, is very difficult to achieve in our busy lives. And if I keep waiting for the right time, I may never write.
I have a few workarounds for this. I subscribe to the concept of deep work. If I can take out 2-3 hours of uninterrupted, unhurried time when all is quiet, I am good. I also keep taking notes through the day, mining ideas in a way, so that I can get back to them at leisure.
2. Leverage the power of internet
Internet is indispensable when it comes to researching. It’s also very distracting when it comes to the actual writing. Rather than hate the internet, I just switch it off at certain times. I also see it as a friend. In these times, when internet has been the only place we could venture out to and the only place that had a stimulating environment, I noted down all the inspiring and motivating thoughts I got while browsing. I actually have a collection of screenshots, web urls, voice notes, images all in a day.
3. The perfect place to write
I like the lawn, near the bushes, underneath the trees, when I write. This place also has a helluva lot of mosquitoes. So I swap it for indoors. On the couch, or the easy chair. After a few minutes it doesn’t really matter. Once you are in the groove, you don’t notice anything around you. I once sat on the window sill in the kitchen for a few hours and wrote the best scene I had ever written. It was so far back in the recesses of my imagination that the cold marble didn’t matter. I wouldn’t mind a cabin tucked away in the mountains for a few weeks but I have lived in the metaphorical cabin and it makes a difference to your mindset, yes, but very little. The difference is as much as you allow your mind to feel.
4. Keep at it
Push yourself to write more often, even if you are sure it’s crap. It builds your writing muscle. I have had many doubts around this and I still baulk at putting out substandard stuff out there but writing more helps you to ease back to writing even after long breaks.
There would always be setbacks, rejections, disappointments. Life would suddenly get busy and your time to write might shrink. Keep at it anyway.
5. Don’t take yourself seriously
Writing may be more than your vocation. I sometimes feel writing is the way to live fully; it’s the perfect opportunity to live sincerely and search out the truth. When you write from the heart, about things that are true and right and fair, it’s shining light on a part of you that would have remained unexplored.
And yet, to go forward, take writing as something you are experimenting with. Change things around, whether it’s your writing routine, your writing voice, the format – change from long to short, from essays to poetry. You are given the gift of the word, not just a genre and a way of writing. There are more things you are capable of. Find joy in the process of writing rather than saying I Must.
I would love to hear about your experiences. What’s your best tip to a writer out there?
This post is part of Blogchatter Half Marathon.