Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ride the crest of the writer’s learning curve!

The only things worth learning are

the things you learn after you know it all - Harry S. Truman

Learning has a unique quality: you wouldn’t learn anything until you – Do it. The catch is: DO IT AT A FEVERISH PACE (meaning… much, much more than what we do). It’s when you do for longer periods (long uninterrupted stretches) without giving much of a break, you’ll learn at a faster pace, as time is in great demand. If you want to get good at IT soon!

Engaging in a marathon driving frenzy can really help you to experience what driving is when you get on the highway. It teaches you how much speed required overtaking the vehicle going before you, and how much space required to safely cross the vehicle in front, and oncoming one. For this knowledge to be at your fingertips, howmuchever theory you know you won’t learn it really.

Undertake a writing marathon

The other day we went on a long drive to our native town, which is at a distance of 1000 kms. On the journey, I understood how to put the gears much more easily than I understood it during the times I drove it for shorter distances in the city (I’m a new driver and got my license recently and started driving my car!).

The whole experience gave me the much needed confidence that I can go on any long distance driving, which was lacking initially.

I made several mistakes and tried several times over how to change gears while overtaking. How and when you change a gear, how to speed up after overtaking…? This crucial knowledge doesn’t come so easy.

Encouraged with the new knowledge, I was thinking of how writing can also be improved with the same technique of going on a marathon writing-spree. Believe me it can real help us to master the art of writing to give us a deeper understanding.

It’s vital to end the drought of not-able-to-write with confidence: It is to engage yourself in writing-frenzy. Don’t bother what to write; write on anything and every thing you lay your hands on. Write on your new job, your love life, your new fatherhood, your hairdresser, your pet peeve. Mind you, never stop writing even for one day; I myself started writing every day seriously on whatever that comes to my mind (this post included!)!.

I’m not only suggesting you to write. I’m reminding myself to do that on a regular basis. I want to get to the far end of the learning curve, and make up the lost ground myself (all these years I struggled…Huh… sigh). But, for that to happen there isn’t any short cut, except start writing as if there is no tomorrow.

Learn, as you write on your Blog

It’s a big task to master the art of writing…huh. It took me some time to master it – putting words sensibly and creatively. Our thoughts most of the times are cluttered and foggy: How to give shape to them? Even after writing for ad agencies for over 10 yrs never made me a prolific writer.

But blogging, which is mostly writing your personal experiences - is a good platform to hone your writing skills. Ever since I started writing on my blog, I became a better writer, I believe, each day. I struggled initially and later picked up pace and started writing spontaneously from the time I got my blog designed by my friend for free – Bokjae of (he writes from his heart) and Vivienne of (check out her blog for some good info). I may not be writing some ground breaking stuff, though; but it gives me enough practice to learn the art.

And, when I want a certain word for a certain expression of my thoughts, then I know, how difficult it is to write with befitting words. That makes my mind sharper and quicker to pick beautiful expressions as I read.

And later, when I’m reading, I’ll find that word which I had been looking sitting pretty in an expression.

Mind those wise quotes, as you read and write

I wonder how some people quote beautiful quotations at the exact context (I like quotes in Writer Dad). These quotations are tricky things. If you want to quote a quotation you wouldn’t find them.

I envisioned a plan whenever I find a quotation I would write it down in a book I kept next to me.

But I feel, the ideal way is to cut and paste in a separate file. Whenever you want to quote you may use them easily. You’ll find no. of quotations skillfully quoted in many posts. It’s prudent to write them down, or cut and paste them in a file.

I observed another thing, as I’m spending more time reading these days on blogs, I do write down some of the quotes (some quotes are very rare). They became very familiar to me and almost imprinted in my (poor) memory, and I can quote them with relative ease. I also like to keep them at my laptop for some days and by heart them, and can write some posts on those thoughts.

Write a book or a memoir of you

I’m seriously thinking of writing a novel or a book on my favourite idea or topic (currently writing a small booklet about my brother). That really helps us keep moving at a faster pace. If you’re a newbie, don’t fret. Even then, you can venture writing one. After all, the writing may not be of a matured tone but still if you do it with your true understanding without faking your voice, it would still be very interesting to read. No doubts on that.

So, go ahead and commit yourself to write some book or novel which sure gives you a great playground to practice your writing skills, and which will surely help you to get round to the end of the learning curve. Fast! Of course, there is no end to learning, but finding you the much needed confidence and proven credentials for you to reach the other end of the learning curve.

I know each one of us have different experiences of learning in writing, It's so much useful for us if you share your experiences. Pls. add them here!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

How to unshackle your writing muse?

How to unshackle your writing muse?

I felt very strange today. I struggled to write, and everything I write seems meaningless, when I view them through other’s prism. Suddenly…I felt, am I talking sense, does it appeal to the reader or not…kind of doubts haunting me. I felt lost… and was seething in frustration.

Where did the confidence go and, where is my most trusted voice? How do I become so vulnerable now than ever?

I guess these doubts sure hover in the minds of every newbie blogger, like me. I just want to share my thoughts here.

Write for yourself

Writing for ourselves makes us clearer in our thoughts than writing for an audience, especially in blogging. When you write for others, and when it won’t attract any readers, it would make us sulk about our talent. You’ll imagine the audience critiquing every word you write, and you’ll end up rewriting the stuff over and over and, at last it ends in the trash bin. I understood a fact: Just write as if none is there to read except you.

I think this is what all the famous authors like Zen Habits, Men with Pens or the recent hot Collective Ink are all doing. They are so comfortable in their skin and write so beautiful posts that are close to their hearts; without giving too much of a thought to the world outside. I think that’s the secret of their confident, uncensored and yet very endearing voice.

Lesson learnt: Write from your gut. Write something that pricks you, frustrate, depress, excites and affects you. It sure has a way to other’s hearts. No matter it is on topic or off it.

Write thinking as if none dealt it before

Yeah, the thought that there are thousands of blogs and thousands of posts each day, which could’ve dealt and churned the same topic earlier and many, many times over, choke you. This thought really makes you nervous and frustrated. It makes you stifle your idea - And makes you think that you can’t say anything different… and better be quiet.

I believe each of our journeys is different from one another. And naturally, our experiences too. Writing springs out from your experiences; if it should be natural and gripping we shouldn’t overly restrain the natural flow of it, with the thought of the elusive audience. So I feel with each of our sharing, we can learn and benefit. So go ahead pound your keyboard hard, without giving a hoot of how many times the topic has been discussed, or what it’s all about.

Lesson learnt: say it with no malice to anyone. Say it your way and it’ll sure add another shade to the spectrum of life.

It shouldn’t matter if you’re read or not.

How does it for that matter? If it’s you, your life and, your writing?  It needn’t be authenticated or appreciated by anyone. It should adhere to a certain moral code which should be accepted by your conscience, though. As long as that fits into your conscience’ frame you’re on your own.

Ever since I started blogging, one thought bugged me like a mosquito (I hate them a lot). Will I be read? Will I be accepted? If we seek to be accepted that’ll elude you and me. The life we are leading is for us and we lead according to our terms and conditions. And why should my writing should be anything different from it? I have no qualms if I’m accepted or not.. No amount of criticism or acidic critique should curtail me or you for that matter, as we are living our life in our unique ways and writing the same way, too.

Stop comparing with others

You’ve just started off writing in your blog. It’s quite natural that you don’t find any reader, and there is no hope finding hordes of them, either. It’s a fact that every big or not so big blogs attract hordes of readers, while yours haven’t’ seen any in the recent times. It’s natural you think like me… that your voice is not so unique, your content lacks the punch or bite.

It’s not that way anymore. It’s just that you’ve started late and your wealth of technological knw-how may be inadequate and lack the wherewithal of marketing your blog. And maybe… your content lacks the killer punch like the pros… that shouldn’t deter you to write as you’re learning on the job. Your writing needn’t be compared to someone else who has been in the blogging arena for quite a while…some years.

It shouldn’t matter, hence, if you’ve visits or not. It’s you and your writing on a daily basis. If someone shows up thank the reader for the visit, and move on.

It’s you and, YOU alone

Writing is a different ball game unlike other activities. Everyone can’t become so good in it overnight. At least this is my experience. You’re cruel to yourself if you compare it with others. Many young writers fall in this trap. Let’s be honest and kind to ourselves. Don’t take yourself too serious.

Writing comes from one’s experiences and it flows through the ebbs of life. Life is determined by the conditions and circumstances we are placed in. Hence our lives are different from each other. So do our writing.

Our knowledge or understanding may be inadequate to look at life in a matured way. Fine, that shouldn’t make us small. Everyone has a right to an opinion and everyone has a reason to it.

So take out the fear of the audience and the fear of failure, and go ahead and write your story of life. Sure it would be a learning experience for someone, if you do it from your heart.

This post becomes more interesting with your experiences. Feel free to write if felt anytime like that - that you don't have anything to say worthwhile-- and how you managed it!