Posts by writenlive

I am an avid reader and an aspiring writer. For me, writing is a way of self expression as with my other creative pursuits like cooking and DIY projects. I am an armchair traveller most of the time and I love to go for walks in the hills. I find contentment in life through gratitude.

Break Free the Leader Within by Ravish Mani: Book Review

Title: Break Free the Leader Within

Author: Ravish Mani

Genre: Self Help, Inspirational

Medium: Audiobook

Break Free the Leader Within is a clear and accessible approach to the qualities of leadership.

Review

The book uses the true incident of Shweta Singh, a Mumbai mother and her experiences while trying to address the needs of her left handed child. Wanting to procure pencil sharpeners that her child could use with ease, she got an early and responsible response from the leading stationery manufacturer of India, Hindustan Pencils Ltd.

The book talks about the qualities of effective leadership in the light of this incident, making it an easy and relatable listening experience.

The most important takeaway for me from this book is that everyone can be a leader and in any space and capability. Leaders are characterised by the way they think differently from others, from their intent, from being clear about their why and by being selfless and visionaries.

What works Well

The quality of the audio is very good. The voice is clear, pleasing and the narration seamless. At no point did I have to strain to hear what was being said, except at the beginning when the Indian names were pronounced with a definite anglicised accent. However, after a couple of mentions, I was good to go.

Also, this is a short audio book. In less than 20 minutes, you get a strong idea of the qualities of leaders and how they do things that separate them from the crowd. It’s a thought provoking book that you can listen to while on a walk or driving.

Listening to this audiobook was a wonderful start to my day. This is the first audiobook I have listened to (don’t look at me; I know I live under a rock) and the quality and the experience would definitely encourage me to go in for this medium to upgrade my knowledge. Personally, I am sold on the sheer convenience and the usefulness of audiobooks.

Verdict

Break Free the Leader Within has good, useful content and is a pleasing auditory experience.

Highly recommended.

About the Author

Ravish Mani is well-known in the blogosphere for his philosophical personality. His writings are inspirational and food for thought. He can be contacted through his website.

The Audiobook is available for download at the Blogchatter website.

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The Unglamorous half of Writing

If you are on a break from writing,
consider this-

You can don your best peaked hat in dark, brooding colours that makes you look intimidating and on the front, embroidered in purple thread is the word, ‘Editor’.

Don’t feel like writing? Never mind. You can always edit your work. Rummage through your drawers for those manuscripts shoved there weeks or months back. Straighten out the pages, flip through them.

You would be surprised at the quality of work. You might of course pull your hair in frustration at the lack of clarity or be glowing in the reflected glory of a well written piece.

But stop, don’t tell yourself that the words are yours. Till the time you are wearing that cap, don’t identify yourself with the story or the narrative. Better still, think it is some low life scum who wrote that and now is the time for you to teach him a lesson.

Take out the highlighters and the coloured pens that you keep stashed away. Use them with abandon. Strike out what is even a tad bad. You are free to use cuss words to tell the writer what’s really wrong with that writing. Laugh at the plot holes. Snicker st the pacing. Write all that you feel is wrong with the manuscript.

There, you are having so much fun. Editing is the other half, the hidden half, the unglamourous half of writing and even though you did not write any words today, you were still writing.

Feeling good, eh?

Interrobang?!

Interrobang?!

Two punctuation marks used together are called the interrobang. The question mark and the exclamation mark. Really?!

But why together? For a greater impact!

They sound like friends walking hand in hand.

Also known as Interabang.(Just girlfriends maybe)

Interrobang is the combination of the interrogation mark and bang, which is the common name for the exclamation mark.

What is their correct placement? Who comes first? Should that ever be asked among friends? In friendship, all are equal.

In tune with that sentiment, I have encountered the interrobang both ways. The question mark precedes the exclamation mark or vice versa. Possibly the former is more common, as is agreed by the internet community.

How does it make me feel?

Friends. Complicit. Complimentary.

Alone they are good and effective but together their impact is so much more.
A question mark is well, questioning, curious, incredulous.
An exclamation mark is, amazement and excitement, going overboard.
Together they rock!

Technically, they are fused together, the two symbols, to show even greater solidarity. It is called the Glyph.

They can even be used as strings?!?!?!

***

(There, I just used a Dinkus)

Interrobang is also a very useful chess notation.

In Chess, the combinations “!?” and “?!” are used to express judgements of particular chess moves. “!?” denotes an “interesting” move, while “?!” denotes a “dubious” move.

Interrobang has been around for quite some time, though still not accepted for formal communication. I have seen it used in Asterix comics. And yes, Tintin too.

Interrobang is informal and fun!

Do you like the interrobang much? How do you use it? Which symbol first?

Small Stone: Clothesline

sagging clothesline
clothes flutter in the breeze
breath of life

What are small stones?

A small stone is a short piece of writing (any style) that precisely captures a fully-engaged moment for you. The process of discovering small stones is as significant as the finished creation. Searching for small stones encourages you to keep your senses on the “alive and alert” status. Involve yourself with a new set of eyes, ears, nose, mouth, fingers, feelings and mind. This is Mindful Writing at its best.

Finding my Writing Pace

My favourite grudge is over the writing advice I see plastered all over the place. Everyone has an opinion (and here I am airing mine). When to write, where to write, how much to write every single day. It all seems to boil down to discipline. Write every day. Write consciously. Write beyond your comfort zone.

I am not an adept writer. I should have put this disclaimer at the beginning. I am not published, I don’t get paid for what I write and I don’t have to manage rejection. I call myself a writer because this is something I am passionate about. I am besotted with words, etymology, nuances. I feel that words can move mountains or be the refreshing founts of peace.

But the very helpful advice that I encounter somehow makes me feel off my pace.

Write everyday. I try. But there is life. There are moods. And if I do not crank out a few hundred words at the end of a session i feel like a failure. Which makes me shrink back from the entire thing. Am I trying out others expectations as my size and disappointed that they do not fit?

Find a space that you can reclaim again and again as your writing nook. I have one of those. It doesn’t work everytime. I only need solitude. I can write on the bed, couch, floor, on the window stoop, in a crowded temple with blaring hyms. The only thing I need is solitude or a disconnection from the world around me and a connection with my own self.

Write at the same time everyday. I find that constricting. I need the expansiveness of space and time to be able to write. I want a flow and to get that I want to be unhurried, to be away from deadlines such as the one, ‘write for the next one hour and try to get down a thousand words.’

Am I creating art? With these rigid deadlines and guidelines, I am not. Do artists/writers need angst? Or do they need to sit down everyday with discipline and determination and write words?

I need discipline to grow but I also need a teeny bit of angst so that I don’t forget that writing is also a calling. With that, I find my own pace.

Which is the writing advice that you love to hate?

Introducing Dinkus

DINKUS

Is that a word? Or a sound?

It seems that there are many symbols used in the printing of a book that indicate the closure of a section.
***
Like these.

It’s not something that has been beeped out or censored because it is offensive. Yes, that too, but in a word. Like, f***ing.

But, stand alone.

Three asterisks in a row *** are the typographical symbols used to indicate a section break in writing.

I never knew they had a name!

DINKUS also feels like a sound.

I hear DINKUS in my mind as a ding that signifies the finish of something and the beginning of yet another beautiful thing.

Looking at the odd word, at the different sounding word, I feel a sense of newness. I can say it slow, savouring it, rolling the letters but it comes out quick, like the joy of a little child that is spontaneous and knows no bounds.

It tastes like sweet, sticky jelly of my childhood that was not even set properly but we still scooped it up and ate the semi liquid, smearing our faces with it.

I can smell the word, sweet and pungent at once, like cinnamon.

I can feel it slithering sinuously, leaving a trail in my mind.

I always want to use all caps, because it conveys so much joy.

The plural is DINKUSES!!

If I close my eyes, I can see a series of little pixies, marching on, in a single file. How cute they look!

***

Being a DINKUS means being idiotic, as per the online dictionary that I consult. Which is quite true of this post.

That’s how some words evoke a lot for feeling in us. Its more about their sound and feel than their meaning. Which word is it for you?