4 Surprising Tips for Self Editing your Writing 

Image courtesy: http://www.gsc.upenn.edu/navdiss/

To write is human, to edit is divine 

– Stephen King

1. Create distance 

Before tackling the difficult task of editing your work, create some distance first – between yourself and your important manuscript. Give it the gift of of time. Step away for a pre designated time from your work. It could be sleeping over your article or putting it aside for a week. For a longer piece of work, a few weeks might be required for you to look at the work with fresh eyes. 

Metaphorically, create a distance by working on another project or piece of writing. Periodically, take a look at your resting manuscript. When you are surprised by what you have written, by the style or the pace or the narration, it is time to take out the editing pens. 

2. Listen to your instincts 

Once you start reading your work and are getting ready to cut out sentences and passages or to rewrite, focus on what you feel is right and how some things do not sound right. It could be a character that you have spent days crafting meticulously but she still does not sound authentic. Some scenes might seem forced and certain parts may feel too drawn out and boring. Make a note of whatever it is that you feel instinctively to be in need of improvement. 

Technically, or going by the book, you might have done well in creating a conflict in the story and in resolving it towards the end. Yet, if it sounds false to your ears, it is time to take a second and a closer look. 

3. Identify the Story 

The story or the underlying premise of your article is the reason you are writing. For a piece of fiction, it is the story that is paramount. The themes, the recurring motifs, the setting, are all secondary to what you have set out to tell. Even if it is a slice of life or a stream of consciousness kind of work, pare it down to its bare bones, strip away the meat and find out if the barest version makes any sense. 

Remember that the first draft is usually telling yourself the story and it is only for you, the writer and the creator. At the next part of editing and rewriting, the ‘other’ or the reader comes in. This is where you examine the story to see if there is coherence underneath the words and the imagery and the setting and the action. 

4. Keep the Joy 

It is easy to get disheartened when you come back to your supposed literary masterpiece after a while. It could look insipid or an uninspired piece of writing and there would be many many things that you can see are wrong. The basic plot may be disjointed, the storyline unoriginal. The characters may seem to be mere caricatures and the pace may be in jerks and starts. This is the time when you can easily get disheartened and abandon your work, thinking that no amount of rewriting can improve it. And yet, it is never a good idea to let go of any writing just because it does not seem imaginative enough or technically sound at that point of time. 

Take a deep breath and think back of the joy that you experienced while creating the first draft. Think of the sense of potential and the plethora of possibilities that you felt while putting down on paper your wildest thoughts and deepest emotions. Will back the joy and you would get your sense of purpose back. 

What things do you keep in mind when you are editing your own work? Please share your tips and tricks. 

This listicle is part of Friday Listicles, a weekly feature that professes our love for anything that is presented in a numbered or bulleted form, paving the way for a happy weekend. 

4 Ways to Tell if You are a Writer 

Image courtsey: The Odyssey Online

Disclaimer: This post is aimed at and addressed to you, the reader. However, whenever I say ‘you’ for the reader, it can also be construed as ‘me’, the writer, because this is why the post is written: to reassure myself that I am doing alright. 
It can take (us) writers a long time to be marginally readable. There are a few who are like Gods on Earth, the ones who seem to write without effort, sitting down at their gleaming writing desks each morning, hammering out hundreds of words with scarce a pause in between and a smile on their lips. These demi Gods are a paragon of clarity and eloquence and everything that they write is lapped up by the masses and the adulating crowds… anyway, you get my point.

Then there are the mere mortals, the ordinary writers who find the writing hard, fearful and terrible. Most of what they write is through a convoluted process of agonising over the what and the how. They (Us) struggle to get the words right, the adverbs out of sight, weeding out the cliched similes and mataphors so that the masses of words are pruned into the semblance of a manicured beauty.

To add to the agony of making the writing clear is the fear of not doing it well enough. There is the issue of acceptability, both of what is being written about and the language employed. Say in a memoir, how much about something can one write? What are the things that absolutely should not be left out so as to stay relatable, even though it may mean being estranged from your aunt, the one who tattled about the family secrets in the first place.

Then, there is the problem of excrutiatingly bad ideas that somehow refuse to turn into the swans from the ugly ducklings of the first drafts. The bad first drafts just morph into bad second drafts and the rewriting seems to have little effect on the final version. Is it ever going to get any better, is what you (I) despair of. Months go by and then of course, years and the way we live our days, in desperation and trepidation seems to be the way we are going to live our lives. The mere mortals seem to lose all hopes of even sitting at the feet of the demi Gods.

In between the struggle to be the writers we (there, the ‘we’ had to come out) want to be, spewing breathtaking beauty and truths of life that have hitherto been undiscovered or let us say, not been expressed in our inimitable ways and the awareness of the clock ticking away, perhaps of our creativity and the resilience to write, there lies the little window of hope and of getting there against all odds. 

In spite of the doubts, here are a few ways to tell when you (yes, we) are a writer.

1. Daydreaming

You daydream a lot. Yes, me too. Daydreaming is built into your system and no matter what others think, it is a valid activity, to be indulged into on a daily basis. Dreaming is not a waste of time, you feel, but a way to be more creative and a way to delve into your intuitive powers. 

You would always have stories running through your head. They may be populated by wild characters or ones that do unimaginably creative things. The stories are varicolored, sensory extravaganzas that stream fast through your mind even when your are deep in other things.

You have imaginary conversations. The talk could be the people in your head or the people who are real and you rehearse the words and your reactions and their delight and how those conversations are then going to be the turning point in their lives.

The day dreams are also about you, writing away to literary abandon. There could be no greater pursuit or joy than in writing.  

2. The Written Word

It is God. Period. Anything that is ink or black scratchings on white paper or any coloured scratchings even on yellowing parchment, it can be put on a pedestal. This applies equally to cheesy love letters and drab instructions for fixing a machine.

As for you, in the presence of the written word, you are dumbstruck and you can be content in being a wallflower for the rest of your life but you want part of the glory of the word and you itch to write yourself. 

It is not about being published or about the accolades or the hallowed doors that open to a person of immense talent. It is about the joy of relentless writing, only for the sake of it. 

3. Writing on your mind

Reading and Writing are always on your mind. Indulging in one makes you want to indulge in the other. They are the yin and the yang. You swing like a pendulum between the two. There are stories that you read, that you like and they lead your mind to narratives that run around in your head. There are snippets of conversations that you hold onto for  a years because you can weave an entire tapestry of emotions around them. 

4. You hate your work

You excel at self criticism. Your Inner Critic (IC) is alive and kicking. Everything that you write is robustly rejected as being  terrible in every aspect. Your IC can mostly be found perched on your shoulder as you practice your craft. For every few sentences, the IC can be seen shaking his (or her, depending on your own gender and on the complex you have, either Oedipus or Electra) head, his expression a mask of disdain. The words you employ are met with a snigger from the IC, the flow of ideas with a grimace. Nothing you write meets the approval of the IC, even when others like what you publish.

A strong IC also means that you, the writer have a strong urge to improve your craft. 

Writers are writers, because they write. Even when no one reads them. Even when the words are not precise and the sentences are convoluted. Even when the writers digress from the story they are telling to another thread that unravels inspite of themselves, sometimes creating themes and motifs and at other times, creating a mess.

This listicle is part of Friday Listicles, a weekly feature that professes our love for anything that is presented in a numbered or bulleted form, paving the way for a happy weekend. 

9 Quotes on Writing by Writers 

1. There’s no such thing as perfect writing, just like there’s no such thing as perfect despair.

Haruki Murakami 

2. Writing every book is like a purge; at the end of it one is empty … like a dry shell on the beach, waiting for the tide to come in again.

Daphne du Maurier 

3. All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.

Leo Tolstoy 

4. An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself.

Charles Dickens 

5. The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart. 

Maya Angelou 

6. So usually even if you like a sentence or a story or something, it won’t come out that way – it’ll come out years later, and in a different way, and you don’t really control that.

Keren Ann 

7. Writing down thoughts is like making marks in the wind. The wind in turn makes kites fly even as we cannot see the strings. 

Nicoletta Baumeister 

8. To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the music the words make. 

Truman Capote 

9. There are two kinds of truth: the truth that lights the way and the truth that warms the heart. The first of these is science, and the second is art. 

Raymond Chandler

This listicle is part of ‘Friday Listicles‘, a weekly feature that professes our love for anything that is presented in a numbered or bulleted form, paving the way for a happy weekend. 

5 Inspirational Quotes on Writing 

1. “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open. Your stuff starts out being just for you, in other words, but then it goes out. Once you know what the story is and get it right—as right as you can, any-way—it belongs to anyone who wants to read it.”

-Stephen King in ‘On Writing’

I find this quote very inspiring, especially when I struggle to revise and edit, wondering what to keep and what to cross out. I understand my responsibility for my writing to be meaningful because when I share it, it is no longer mine alone. 

2. “Rereading old books that I love. I think the writing energizes and inspires me as much as it did the first time. I also watch a lot of TV. Immersing myself in other people’s stories really helps me.”

—Brandy Colbert, author of Pointe on how to defeat the writer’s block. 

There are so many times I hit it, the writer’s block. The books I love always tell me the what and how and I come back brimming with ideas, wanting to recreate the magic. 

3. “Originality is partly a matter of having your own influences: read evolutionary biology textbooks or the Old Testament, find your metaphors where no one’s looking, don’t belong. Or belong to the other world that is not quite this one, the world from which you send back your messages.”

– Rebecca Solnit, writer

I find this advice beautiful… Of belonging to another world because that is what I feel, when I spend too much time in my head. 

4. “Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.” 

– Charles Bukowski, poet. 

This relates to life and to disappointments and to the misery we feel occasionally. I may feel that when I am trying to write something ambitious but I always remember that I have been able to finish and that it turned out alright. 

5. “We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” 

– Toni Morrison, in her Nobel lecture, 1993.

This is the only true reason that I am inspired to write. To create a measure for my life. 


Do share the writers quotes that inspire you and make you want to take up that pen right now… 

This is the third in the series of ‘Friday Listicles‘, a weekly feature that professes our love for anything that is presented in a numbered or bulleted form, paving the way for a happy weekend. 

Conquering the Writer’s Block

Most of us think that writing effectively and clearly is an inborn talent. It is not considered a skill that could be learnt or improved upon much. Either you have the flair for writing or you don’t have it. 

While it is true that most people have a natural inclination for certain types of skills, yet writing well is not something that cannot be learnt. For people to whom it comes naturally, there is a certain joy and they pursue that joy. They do it again and again and they get better due to the sheer persistence and through the learning they get along the way. It is true of writing just as it is true of every other skill. 

But even for long timers, a very real deterrent comes in the form of a feeling of being stuck after a while or being in a rut. It is referred to as the dreaded Writer’s Block. 

When can the Writer’s Block strike? It can strike anytime. It can happen when you have taken a longer than usual break from the writing. And it can happen even in the aftermath of a writing marathon, when the going is so good that you feel like God, the creator of your story, the hand that controls what happens to the characters and who gets born and who does what. It might take only a day to come down from the pinnacle of that writing and go deep in the dumps. 

Feeling stressed about writing or not writing is also a cause for the block to get heavier. 

And a very real reason are the expectations… others expectations from your work and your own. You might want to reach the pinnacle of your writing again and again but it might not be possible to produce everything of the sane quality all the time. 

Whatever may be the reason for the Writer’s Block, it really can strike anytime and it is best to be prepared rather than go deeper into despair and taking a long time to surface. 

Writer’s Block typically manifests itself into ‘what to write’. 

To counter the dearth of topics when you don’t know what to write is to have a list ready… of the things, situations that talk to you, that get you so excited that you cannot wait to sit down and wax forth on it. 

Make the list of the things you are passionate about, make a list of the things that jump out at you, as you go about your life. Know what you like to do, like skating or gardening or sculpting or knitting , things of which you could talk intelligently and possibly can teach others something as well. Think of your favourite foods and make a list. You could probably tell others how it could be done and how to improve upon it. Think of the books you have always liked and you can tell others why and what you liked about them in the first place. You could think of the restaurants you like and why and the places you have traveled to and how they enriched your life. Take them all together and make a long, long list or write them on little slips of paper that can act as mystery subjects that you can pick and treat as your prompt. 

Your very own prompt list is ready and you would not be able to say that you do not know what to write about. 

The next thing is the inability to write well, coherently, cohesively. You may have a certain style that you are very comfortable with. In dire circumstances, which are the times when the block is sitting heavily on you, step out of the comfort zone. The writing that you are doing is terrible already and there is nothing to lose by being even more terrible, so change that style. Go for longer pieces if you normally write shorter pieces. Explore different voices, from serious to a little funny to tongue in cheek to slap stick. Write poignantly or at least attempt to, if you write only funny pieces. 

We all have these elements in mind, the entire gamut of human experiences and we let out only a few sides of ourselves. Write poetry if you abhor it. Write a journalistic piece if you hate news items. Go analytical in your pieces if you like to talk of only feelings and emotions. Be a reporter if you have never been. Write a memoir if you are scared of writing about yourself. 

Another thing is to not care about being judged. It is one of the main causes of the block being there in the first place. You write well and then you get a lot of appreciation and support and suddenly you cannot reckon how on earth could you live up to those expectations. It seems that everything you write is under scrutiny. One sure way to counter this is to tell yourself or to fool yourself into thinking that you are only writing in your private journal and that no one would be reading it. If necessary, think of the pesonal journal having a padlock with the key secure in a good place. Then, write. Some say, bleed. Write whatever is in your mind, is in your heart, makes up your fears and disappointments and fantasies and joys. Later, when you are out of that scary place and in the warm glow of the fireside and feeling cozy and comfortable, you can take out the personal journal, unlock it and read it back to yourself and decide what it is that you want to share with the world. If there is nothing that you would rather share, you are still lighter by a few tons of emotions and thoughts that were a recurring pattern in your mind. 

The best advice I myself have ever received about overcoming the Writer’s Block and I am sure every writer has had it too, is the ‘butt in chair’ trick. In other words, just write. It does not matter what and it really does not matter how and remember there are no devils or witnesses perched on your shoulder as you lurch from one disastrous paragraph to another. Just write and by and by, you would get the flow and voila, your voice too. 

What are your tips and tricks to get the better of the Writer’s Block? 

The Virtual Coffee Date

If we were having coffee right now… I would tell you how writing is on my mind these days. I would tell you of that November long gone by when I did nothing but write in the days and late into the nights and how that outpouring was one of the most fulfilling experiences I had. 

I would tell you how much I had cherished that sense of fulfillment and how that ultimately led to my attempting to write again with abandon. 

If we were having coffee right now… I would tell you how sometimes the days look bleak and the weather hostile. I would tell you how the very hot days have mellowed into an autumnal coolness, the days stepping shyly into winter. I would tell you of the crunch of leaves under my feet as I walk along the tree lined roads. I would tell you how the trees shedding their leaves are making me think of bare branches and harsh silhouettes. 

If we were having coffee right now… I would tell you of my quest for the perfectly brewed cup. I would tell you how I step into coffee shops only for the aroma of the freshly roasted coffee beans and bread. I would tell you how much I like fresh baked bread. 

I would tell you how I dream of bread loaves, unleavened which I can cut into thick slices and serve with a strong cheese. 

If we were having coffee right now… I would tell you about the power of a paradigm shift. I would tell you of the little moments when I experienced that shift and the big changes they brought about. 

If we were having coffee right now… I would tell you how loss in our lives catches us unawares. I would tell you that at times it feels that the pain would never go away but it dulls with time and the hurt turns to bitter sweet feelings as regrets mingle with memories. 

If we were having coffee right now… I would talk of the books I have been reading these days. I would tell you of the different worlds that I am exploring in the pages and the myriad emotions there that leave an indelible mark. I would tell you of my disappointment of not holding the books in my hands when I read from the screen and unable to smell them and I would tell you of the wonder of books that enthrall so much that I forget about the sensory pleasure of holding a book in my hands. 

If we were having coffee right now… I would tell you of my delight at having discovered mindful moments in my day to day life. I would tell you how these perfect moments seem frozen in time and memories and how writing about them is akin to writing poetry. 

If we were having coffee right now… I would tell you how connecting with long lost friends makes time stop. I would tell you of how the past and the present come together to coalesce when you are with the person who knows you inside out and for ages. 

If we were having coffee right now… I would tell you how much I like these virtual coffee dates where I feel like I am talking to a lot of my former and future selves. 

A Monster on my Hands-NaNoWriMo 2016

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times… It was maddening and it was sobering… 

When I decided to do the NaNoWriMo this year, it was chasing a dream. The dream of writing on and on, pushing back the boundaries of what could not be done till now and discovering what my strengths and weaknesses were. In chasing my dream, what I got was a monster of a story on my hands. 

In writing everyday, in being prolific, in trying to create a story out of my own head I found gems in snippets. In looking for beauty and writing it in words, and in expressing emotions that had been buried and freshly felt, it has been an incredible journey. 

It was maddening at times, because now I knew my limitations while pushing myself to write more and create more. I understood finally what I could or could not do to plots and sub plots, for character development and for pacing. It was also sobering because there were so many things that I did not know about the writing process and also because I knew that the journey is long. I did not really think of the ways I was going to be challenged and I wished someone had told me. 

At the same time, it was a very liberating experience because it was an exercise in writing with ‘literary abandon’. Till now, I would be very careful about the flow of the pieces I wrote. I would get the voice right and I would check the tone of the piece. But this was just putting down the story on paper or screen, in bits and pieces and in fragments as they came to mind. There were slices from life and there were pedantic passages and the good thing was that they all seemed to fit in. At least, in the larger scheme of things. 

Writing the month through for NaNoWriMo was exhilarating even because of the imperfection I could embrace. Finally, I could let the typos be. Finally I could keep the contradictions in the story, till the time I completed the story. Every little detail set the mind off on a journey of thoughts and permutations and possibilities. I did not need to remember the last setting or the last dialogue because I could always go back and stitch it up together neatly, discarding some bits and polishing the others so that the quilt of words was beautiful. In all that time, best was not the enemy of good or good enough and the imperfection turned out to be quite nonsensical as well. 

It has been quite cathartic because in writing so much I was forced to reach into the recesses of my consciousness and pull those demons out. I wrote the story in that order. I wrote the emotional scenes first because I was going through a lot of upheaval in my life. I turned to love next but keep coming back to the pain and the shock. It was when I reached the middle point in the targeted word count that I told myself to write a linear narrative. By that time, all the overwhelming feelings had been described and lived through and I was ready to move on… Both in the story and in my life. 

I plodded along and the story gained momentum. In a few days, it was a monster on the run. 

The pile of words that I had collected till now became larger. It had fragments, emotions, characters and the hint of a story. 

The words and the characters and the bare skeleton of a story took on its own form, acquired flesh and blood, fattened up on my imagination and became a roaring unstoppable monster, hard to control and marching on and on. I tried to run after it, tried to keep pace, wondering where it would go next. Towards the end, it roared and snapped a few obstacles in its way to reach its destination. 

In the month of November, my word pile grew 50 k high; likely to grow further and I am proud of it. 

What has been your NaNoWriMo experience been like? 

Ink and Misery 

Like many writers I feel tempted to dabble in ink and taste the misery of writing at the same time. 

Some writing projects are so visceral that they bring forth thoughts and emotions that have been kept under wraps for years or decades. There is no way to turn back once you have committed. The only way is forward , going deeper into the recesses of the mind, being relentless with the memories and the impressions .

NaNoWriMo is one such project and after just a week of writing crazily, I am amazed at what it entails. The first few thousand words flow easily ; they tumble out quick and fast and there is a feeling that it is the precursor to a flood of words. 

With the month long writing, I am trying to deal with my fears. It is not the fear of failure; of not being able to reach 50,000 words or even the fear of succeeding but the fear of knowing finally that I cannot write. I have held the idea that there are infinite words bottled up inside me and all I need is the time and the inclination to write them. For this month I give myself the luxury of time and the resolve of following through to thousands of words, much more than what I could comfortably write till now. At the end of it all, or maybe even before that I might discover that I. Cannot. Write. More. 

There is also the fear of putting out all of my impressions into words, the impressions that have been accumulated till now. After I let go of them all, would I be empty inside? Would I be able to dredge up even a single word more? Would I be able to look at the world through new eyes again? Would I ever be able to hoard up more emotions that I could express? 

I also want the exhilaration of knowledge . Of knowing how I can write. Whether I can write in sprints or in longer stretches; what times are the best for my writing, what really inspires me- grief, pain, love, longing, joy, achievement? What would it take to push me out of my comfort zone and once out there what I am capable of ?

I am writing and discovering… 

NaNoWriMo: A Method to the Madness

NaNoWriMo or the National Novel Writing Month sounded a utopian concept when I first encountered it. Every year, in the month of November, thousands of writers, aspiring and already published, sign up for an exceedingly exciting and nerve wracking month of writing away and producing a novel at the end of 30 days. How cool is that! 

A Writers‘ Paradise 

If this isn’t the stuff of what a writer’s dreams are made of, then what is? Writing with abandon, on and on. 

Oneparticipating in NaNoWriMo is that you become a writer and writing is what you ‘do’, just as in an office job with a fancy title. The seriousness of being a writer which is a profession of creative pursuit is always an enchanting idea. 

Two, the license and the intent to write endlessly and knowing that thousands around the globe are doing the same is boosting to the morale. 

The two things combined are the real life version of a lone cottage tucked away in the hills with pine scented air and absolute silence except for the crunch of leaves underneath your foot as you walk and think of the great literary masterpiece that you are creating. 

And, at the end of it all, you have a real manuscript in your hand or in your hard drive. 

The Background 

I got to know of this wickedly sinful tempting treat of a lifetime, nay an annual one, two Novembers back. A part of me went into a dream overdrive thinking how good this paradisical apparition must be. The other realistic part of me knew I could not type fast enough or long enough for the writing marathon. I was doing a lot of my writing on the paper. I was not really dealing in quantity and quality was paramount to me as I completed a paragraph. The first challenge was to think and write in terms of screens and word documents. 

Another reason was a time constraint. I did not know then that time never stops anyone for following one’s passion. 

I would have loved to write at that time but did not know what to write about. 

So I settled for the next best thing that November. It was to sign up for NaNoWriMo’s cousin, the NaBloPoMo, which meant that I committed to posting everyday on my fledgeling blog. It worked quite well and I came away with a renewed vigour. The next year, I decided, I would do the novel thing. 

Fast forward, next November. I had the time, the resources and the idea for a full length novel. It was to be a memoir. There were reams of material sitting in my head waiting to be taken out, examined and slotted neatly into chapters. I was pleased with myself and very enthusiastic. I pledged to write daily and meet my target word count every single day/night.

It started off well. Very well. I exceeded my word count daily. The ideas flowed thick and strong. The words came out in droves and secretly I marveled at the way I marshalled my thoughts and the memories sounded like interesting anecdotes. A few days on… Life happened. I missed a night of writing and then two and then panicked at myself never being able to get back to the word count satisfactorily. After that, the ideas ran out and the anecdotes sounded repetitive and then the entire premise of creating a book out of my experiences sounded rather lame. I did not even try to do my best. I did not even try to redeem what was left of the month and of the story. I gave in, hook, line and sinker. 

Now 

This year I know better for the failure. I know I want to experience the ultimate utopia and the ultimate validation (writing like a writer who knows what she is doing is more a validation than a published work). 

So, I am doing the NaNoWriMo 2016. I would be writing those 50,000 words which would make up the first draft of my piece de resistance. I am trying to pin down the ideas that are swimming around in my head, creating great whirl pools and sometimes cascades. I am yet to decide the plot, the characters and the storyline. Even if it does not happen, I am going to pluck an idea out of thin air and start writing. 

The Muscling Up 

The first and foremost is that I know I am going to do it. Truly and wholeheartedly. It is easy to lose track of motivation and give up when the going gets tough. 

I must also know what to expect. I cannot wake up on the morning of November 1 and start writing madly and expect the momentum of the writing to carry me through the next 29 days. A month long project takes some preparation, even if mental and it would not do to rely solely on coffee. Or wine. 

The word count might look formidable so I break it into daily chunks. Ah, the magic 1666. No, don’t think of the Devil yet! However, my past experience has proven that things come up unexpectedly and daily writing may not be possible or the word count we try to achieve may not be consistent. So I plan ahead. I look at the calender and the scheduled events and decide which days would be good to write more and which ones need to take the slack. 

As for the actual writing, I am trying to get into the habit of reaching the desired word count every day till November comes around. 

This gives me some very useful insights. I now know what is the best word count I can have for the day. I know which times of the day are good for writing. I know how I can get around the challenge of not having enough time to write. I know my blocks and I know how to work around them. I know the distractions and I have developed strategies to overcome them. 

Most importantly, I have created a support system of people, writers and non writers, to motivate, to push, to shove and to inspire. And also to relax with after having the entire character cast run through my head all day long. 

All this makes me more confident of the actual process of writing. So, cheers to the preparation and a greatly satisfying round of writing the story I have always wanted to. 

Are you participating in the NaNoWriMo this year? What are your tips and strategies? 

On Writing

Ever since I started blogging, there are a few questions that I ask myself periodically. 

Why am I here? Who am I? Why do I blog? 

I am here in search of beauty. I am here to carve out sentences and memories from words and impressions. When I see a bend in the road, or think back to the desolate man by the road side, and remember the colours of the ice cream cones I once had; I want to turn them into tactile and sensual experiences so that I do not ever lose sight of them. 

I write because I also want to forget. I write to get rid of the demons, of the impressions and the words I have gathered in my mind for a long long time. 

I put them down on paper, color them and sometimes even embellish them. I live those experiences again, this time slowly and deeply, feeling all that I missed in the rush of that moment. It is like picking up a favourite book again. I turn the pages of that book, run my fingers on the spine, thinking back of times gone by. Between the pages I stumble upon words and scenes I had lived before and I delight in them anew. When I write, it is like reading the book of life again; I go through it again to lay the memories to rest – having lived them fully and now only to be visited when I want to. 

I have lived an ordinary life. But it is the awareness of bringing in my viewpoint to all that has happened or is happening that prompts me to take up my pen or stylus. 

I wtite / blog for a validation. That validation is from my self, for the ability to put down in words, my impressions, my dreams and my aspirations. The turn of the tide, the silence of the reflected moon in the still waters of the lake, the whisper of the fronds; they are all a part of me. The immeasurably deep valley and the deceptively shallow brook, the curve of the grassy knoll and the trees as tall as the neck can crane are what fill my mind. 

I write for self expression. I write because I have to ‘be’. I write for my creativity to manifest itself as words. I write in order that I be a writer. 

And I want to write with a method to the madness of putting words on paper. I want to write of those who have walked with me on my journeys. I want to write of the bits and pieces that make up the whole me. I want to write and be consumed by the worlds I create; I want to write of the longing that my soul has never felt. I want to touch the despair of misery and the crest of happiness. I want to write, create and then live that world. I want to escape in that make believe world for a moment. I want to step into others’ stories feeling that I am part of the whole. I want to feel being a part of the mankind. I want to find the similarities and the differences between myself and others. 

I want to write for meditation and spirituality. I want to reach out and understand the universality of the human experience. I do hope and pray that my reasons for writing change over time but my pace does not. 

I do this exercise time and again: of asking myself why is it that I write. What I say each time surprises my rational self and the changing replies assure me that I am growing. 

Please share your reasons for writing and blogging. Let’s start a conversation.