How to improve writing without writing?

Improve Writing

Writing is a beautiful engagement.

Beauty lies not just in the eyes of the beholder but it also very much lies in giving creative wings to those random thoughts to fly far and wide. There is a lovely lift in our life.

“It is inspiration.”

“It is intuitive.”

“It is immersive.”

 

It is recommended that every one of us should find time and space to enter that mythical engagement with writing.

 

It is like meditation.

No, I will like to immediately amend my statement from a simile to a metaphor.

It is meditation.

If anybody differs with me, I would love to contest the argument and ready for a marathon run in proving the hypothesis that writing is in fact meditation.

 

We get deeply lost in the act of putting words to our profound thoughts.

 

It is like weaving a cotton fabric for summer or knitting a woolen pullover for the winter. The season keeps coming and going, the act remains.  I agree it is a necessary act but not a sufficient action to suffice to the requirement of achieving excellence in creative writing. Like everything in life there is a limit and there is a limitation. I must at the outset state that this state is not constant and we keep breaking the barriers and pushing the boundaries.

When we keep writing for hours and days, there is every possibility we may lose the vitality of writing.

“The steam that is required to roast the idea.”

It is the very essence of writing.

We need intermittently fresh bouts of energy to revitalize our mental makeup which keeps breaking up for umpteen reasons. There are reasonable times when we are raring to go and with a pen and paper we are on a flow. The writer is in its zone, that’s what we say. There are times where we are accidentally trapped by the writer’s block syndrome. The writer is not in its zone. Much like life there are continuous hurdles that keep popping up now and then to distract us but these are well designed test, and we are pressed upon to discover creative ways to overcome those blocks.

There are two different schools of thoughts. The stream from one school of thought argues that it is better to face it head on and fight it out there and then, be dogged and be determined at that very moment, stay there, get it resolved. The stream of thought  from the other school have a counter argument that is to take a break, allow the storm to pass by, let the dust settle and move away from the hurdle, avoid a head on collision and reconfigure the thought in solitude before you take any further action. Another way when we look at these school of thoughts, it may seem whether to think and act or act and then think.

The moot question then remains, which is the right school of thought?

There is no right or wrong here. The schools will have their say, writers are students, it varies from case to case and share of contribution is subjected to the context.  It is the circumstance that determines the appropriate fitment of one school of thought over the other. I have followed the first school of thought for some time and then decided to change the track. It had its own say and its contribution on my art of writing has been good. But good for long is not good enough. I realized. So, I changed. And now I’m profusely enjoying the undiscovered dialogue with the second track and my output has seen a significant jump. The composition of jump has changed. It is the qualitative shift not just the quantitative outcome. There is something magical about it. I took a conscious decision to try different things and also things differently that can have positive impact on the way I think, the way I look around myself, the way I engage with my senses, the way I disengage with routines and purposefully hop onto a radically new set of things.

 

It is a paradox, when I state how to improve writing without writing.

 

It is like saying how to learn swimming without swimming. Some content makes no sense without the context. We keep doing so many things and we don’t realize how those gamut of things play their secret role in improving our writing and inspiring us to write better and much brighter not just in it’s composition but also in its presentation. It matters, makes a big difference. The moment we make it a conscious effort to do and connect with our writing we find the subtle correlation.

It is serendipity.

“In fact there is an umbilical cord.”

There are number of things we can do which directly or indirectly helps us to improve our writing skill and there are these things which apparently have no remote connection with the art of writing, it is disguising and we get misguided, we need to then place things in its rightful perspective, and there lay the secret of mastering the art of writing.

The list is endless but here is the truncated version to end the discourse and start the course of doing things that helps writer write better. There is no particular order and there is no preference of mine, I enjoy doing all these different things at different time of my journey of writing.

 

  1. Playing with kids who are crazy

  2. Spending quality time with elders

  3. Walking in the world wild nature

  4. Listening to the titillating tunes of old music

  5. Reading a bad book not the good ones

  6. Going for a stroll in the night, the moon light

  7. Speaking to a stranger not easy, the attempt

  8. Singing aloud to a good song, maybe a bad one

  9. Learning a new language preferably foreign

  10. Visiting a historical place, checking the geography

  11. Cooking an exotic cuisine, don’t serve it

  12. Playing with pet dog or pussy cat

  13. Exploring the Pinterest to Instagram

  14. Listening to TED talk, walking the talk

  15. Talking to SELF, not talking the SELFIE

  16. Taking a break from Facebook

  17. Giving the Mobile phone a break

  18. Speaking to an empty audience

  19. Traveling to a lesser known place

  20. Sketching the randomness not the pattern

  21. Stop watching television for sometime

  22. Start working with a vision for a cause

  23. Watching a play in a theater

  24. Seeing an old famous movie

  25. Visiting an orphanage and being with them

  26. Observing the people in a mall what they do

  27. Wandering in the street never gone before

  28. Calling home a new friend for the first time

  29. Visiting to an old friend not visited for long

  30. Gardening some new plants in the old pots

  31. Planting an old idea in a new bottle

  32. Just doing nothing but the act of trying

 

Applying these new experiences and subtle observations into our art of writing is the craft of improving writing without writing. We all keep doing it unknowingly or without a pattern or without following a definite process. But doing it consciously and doing it through a prescribed process that creates a pattern for us does make all the difference.

The aforementioned activities have something to do with our belief, behavior, habits and aspect of our life and living. We are involuntarily encapsulated into a well designed container or does it become a disguised confinement and we keep working within the purview of that confined container. Hence, questioning our belief, changing our behavior and for that matter amending our habits are never easy, as these builds over a time and become an integral part of lifestyle. Doing these offbeat and off track activities which we have not done for long and which are seemingly against our comfort zone, will hit us hard where it matters; our belief system, our behavioral pattern and our habitual act.

Take the case of the first activity in the list, many of us find it very tough to play with kids and top of it doing with crazy kids is a double whammy and never easy as it generally appears to be. Take another activity of visiting an orphanage which we keep thinking and many times have planned but have rarely done it and we keep postponing it and we have valid reasons to prove our ground. I then realized how powerful the line from Nike, “Just do it…”

Take the case of talking to an empty audience, not necessarily in an auditorium, it could be anywhere, we have to just imagine, it sounds weird and we don’t see stuff in the vacuum, we get vanquished in the hollowness and primarily because we are covertly imprisoned in our cliched assumptions.

After all, what is there in the emptiness?

Emptiness, the central teaching in Buddhism. It is a different way of looking at our experiences and there is no physical addition or subtraction but enabling a profound difference to our mind and senses.

We can always question what is that we will achieve by going for a night stroll in the same place when we have done it in the day time, a good question and the difference is fundamental.  There is science behind it, the same sound is louder in night and the same colour appears different at night. It is engineering a change in our outlook, we need to look at the same thing from a different perspective how we see the thing when it is under daylight and how it seems when it not under night-light or for that matter no light.

 

It is enlightenment…

 


Nihar Pradhan

Creative Writer

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Heart of Writing lies in the Art of Storytelling…

Writing and Storytelling

We are all a treasure-house of stories, houseful of stories that are beautiful to dutiful to bad to sad to mad captured in our moments of life’s journey and incidentally get stored in our memories. We have so many of them, and many of us just don’t know what do with those stories seeded with our emotions and nurtured by our motions over years that keep piling in our cupboard.

They are locked.

They are sketchy.

They are not skeletons that come tumbling when we open the lock; they are sketches of our thoughts layered in those hidden shelves of the board.

How to creatively bring out those subtle stories inside us and compassionately share with the world outside?

 

The art of storytelling is not easy task and hence it is an art.

 

Like any art form this art also needs the “will and skill” to craft the story.

There is always that uncanny debate on the shorter version vs. longer version of the art of storytelling. The shorter versions of stories are the short stories and strangely, the short stories are in short supply. This has been the case for years and still it continues to be there, though in recent time there has been subtle change in the trend with shrinking attention span of readers. Technology is perhaps the culprit. It is taking away much of the quality time from our repository. We are drawn into the phenomena of quick consumption.

The faster the better…

The lesser the better…

There is a tussle between the short and the long. The short stories and the novel, though both tell stories, one does it in few thousand words and the other needs hundred thousands words get the story get its act in place. With the crumbling of physical place and conquest of virtual space, the dynamics are changing and changing so fast for us even to catch up.  These facets of writing, the short stories have been given a secondary treatment as against the longer versions called as the novel.

 

There is a pride and prejudice in writing short stories.

 

Unfortunately, the prejudice has taken precedence over the pride.

There is discrimination and is not justified. If we go back to the roots of acclaimed literature and peep into the works of great writers from O Henry to Ernest Hemingway to Mark Twain to Anton Chekhov to Edgar Alan Poe to Alice Munro; it is their wonderful work on short stories that laid the foundation for building the longer version of their literary work.

The heart of art and literature resides very much in the craft of writing short stories and art of storytelling.

 

The heart of great stories lies in the body of mind inflicted with “agony and anger”.

 

Great Stories just cannot emerge out of vacuüm or thin air, it has to have a seeding and it needs to get nurtured with emotions and it needs to get the smell and the sense to raise above the rest to become the best. We all have certain traits that predisposes us towards certain passion in life. The work that we love to do and we enjoy doing it more and the more we do we refine our thoughts and we hone our skill, the thinking skill to the writing skill.

Writing is a Skill like any other skill we need to sharpen our saw to keep our skill relevant and useful. Writing short story is beautiful way to express ourselves and make our emotions get an outlet to come out of the cudgels of life’s heavy hammer that keeps hitting hard at us everyday on our sensitive senses.

There are technicalities that go in the structuring a short story and heart of the structure lies in the art of plotting and the craft of characterization.

Plotting is an action verb. There are series of events in the story, and these are discrete events that needn’t follow a sequence but they need to form a pattern. Short stories are so much about the plot as there is very little room left for setting and the expanding the characters as it calls for few of them.

The art lies in crafting the plot. The plot revolves around the conflict and the resolution. It has to be done in such short scenes that space for maneuvering is very much limited.

 

This very inherent limitation enhances the finesse of the “Art of Writing”.

 

There is this danger of quickly hopping from one scene to the next without giving the reader the smooth ride; the reader may feel the bump and the jerk. The reader can absorb one or max two in such a short ride but if we ignore and continue the bumpy ride we will force the reader to get rid of us and get off the ride. There is this delicate balance which we need to build between the “form and flow” of the short story and that comes with experience of writing and the exploration of reading. This reading goes so much hand in gloves with the writing that it is impossible to achieve excellence in writing without excelling in the habit of good reading. The more we read the more we understand and appreciate the finer nuances of writing and reading are not restricted to books on good writing but writing that have failed the litmus test of good writing.

 

One of the fundamental differentiator of good writing from the not so good writing larger hinges on the hold one has on “the language”.

 

All of us have lovely tales to tell, and the question comes down to the skill of writing, though the will to write makes a huge difference. If there is no will there is no way we can share our stories and “will is intangible” and “skill is tangible”. Initially, we all get caught in this “skill-will” conundrum and get pulled apart by the forces of will on one side and the forces of skill on the other side.

The spectrum of skills that governs our storytelling ability are reading skill, thinking skill, imagining skill, language skill and of course the writing skill. The will is about the passion we posses and the way we want our passion to push us beyond the boundaries and power us to break the glass ceiling and reach beyond the sky, sky is not the limit in storytelling, imagination is the limit and in writing and telling stories imagination is limitless.

The conventional body structure of the short stories is the beginning, the middle and the end. It is often said and it has been doggedly practiced by many great storytellers that the opening has to be power packed and it is where the storyteller catches the reader attention and instills that insect of curiosity that keep bugging the reader and then when as storyteller we have implanted that bug in the reader’s mind, the reader is part of our journey and wants to piggyback on our plot.

Here it becomes so sensitive.

Anything can go wrong, slight mistakes here and there can put the reader off-board, and then it becomes too difficult to get the reader back on ride. Sometimes we may have a weak link in the plot but if we have a good hold on the language we can protect the weak link and surf the rough ride of the wave. Many times we may miss the exact sequencing of the plot to grab the reader’s attention but good language can help the reader to try further inside the story. The character is what instantly connects with the reader and a well crafted characteristics of a character imprints in the mind of the reader, the reader is able to relate and this is exactly what we all as storytellers wants to do by telling a story through the “eyes and ears” of the real characters from whom we have derived the inspiration.

There is always a touch of our imagination.

Therein lays the eye for fashion by the designer though the fabric remains the same in the hands of all writers.

 

The craft gets the draft form the imagery and imagination.

 

The inspiration is from the nature and the way we nurture those inspiration over a time and then there is that stimulation that we get or a crisis that hit us hard and we are in deep pain and we have no means to assuage that pain.

We feel stuck. We feel handcuffed.

We feel strangulated. We feel asphyxiated.

We want to break free.

We want to beat the heat.

We want to cut the chase.

We want to escape the orbit.

We need that escape velocity. We need that fuel to fire.

We need the structure to capture our side story. We need the language to stitch the threads of the broken heart of our life.

We need the balm to calm us.

We need the arm not for arm-twisting but for turning a twist at the end. We need a quote in the beginning to question the reader so that the reader keeps searching for the answer till the end. Hence, the end is as much important as the start if not more, if we lift the expectation in the beginning and we are not able to keep up the momentum and sustaining till the end becomes the challenge, taking the challenge is good way to build the story but designing the end decides the fate of the story.

Short Stories are wonderful playground for writers to put their skills to true test and try their hands in perfectly honing their skills need to excel in the art of writing. It is never easy to confine the creative thoughts to a defined boundary.

 

Writing is about creativity and writing is about breaking those conventions and conventional boundaries.

 

It is about venturing into uncharted territories. It is about escaping the reality and while doing so we capture the real side of our life and society at large, writing is mirror reflection of the outside world inside us. This hypothesis appears complex, there is a massive tussle between the reality and the perception of the world around us and within us.

 

Writer’s role is to simplify those complexities through the art of storytelling.

 


Nihar Pradhan

Storyteller

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The Draft of Writing and The Craft of Creating…

Draft and Craft of Writing

It was a much awaited pause, a deep reflection and along side a vague idea that was erratically lurking in a state of high fluidity. I was merely contemplating to write something different. There was this strong urge restlessly simmering within me. I was unable to suppress it any further. It was at the brink of bursting. I had to break free. I was clear, though I wanted to write something seemly interesting and certainly intriguing. I was inching to put that fuzzy idea into some visible shape and give some bright colour; provide it an impressionable pattern and make it profoundly meaningful.

Much ado I jumped into the big arena. The snow-capped mountain. The green valley. When I started writing it was like a curious child playing with random colors on the colourless canvas, I was enjoying the causal play but there was nothing that I was able to see as a creative outcome. I was about to question, I stopped and stepped back.

It was all hazy and I was lying lazy.

 

I wanted to break away from the comfort zone and get those uncomfortable thoughts within me to get the wings to fly out from my hearth and my heart.

 

I wanted to feel light.

As I started writing the first draft I felt I was nowhere near to what was subtly harboring in my sub conscious mind. I was perhaps trudging a wrong trajectory. I was definitely climbing a wrong branch, maybe it was the right tree. It appeared that I was doing everything wrong in writing. I was just writing what was coming to my mind without giving it a rightful direction or putting it into any proper channel for obtaining a powerful perspective. It was my sketchy thoughts and I was randomly putting words to those floating thoughts. Nothing was emerging; I was just radarless meandering here and there. I didn’t force myself to take a defined path or follow an existing pattern. I allowed myself to freely embrace whatever came my way and embraced the way it came, I just kept it raw and I attempted to keep it simple.

Mind was cluttered.

Mind was already complicated.

I didn’t want to confuse it any further. I was enjoying that space of vulnerability and small zone of fragility of thoughts. Writing creatively is about writing freely and writing randomly and writing whatever tenders our mind and touches our heart. I was exactly doing the same way. I was having a wonderful dialogue with self and I was having a dissected discourse without having to follow a fixed course of discussion. Being creative and able to write is about discovering that sweet spot where we are happily hooked. I was frantically trying to unearth that hidden space that had gone into hibernation.

 

The first draft is all about putting whatever comes to our mind and allowing that flow and form to continue the way it started without invoking any hurdles and infusing hiccups.

“The garbage.”

“The gibberish.”

“The broken.”

“The bruised.”

 

The focus was on the draft. The craft emerges out of a draft. The genesis of final craft after all is the first draft. Just removing everything that acts to deter the crazy thoughts coming our way, for being creative we need to be bit crazy. Not necessarily we need to be insane. Though they say, insanity is about doing the same thing expecting different result. More so in creative writing we have to throw out all our aspects of sanity into dustbins.

The draft phase…This is not the time to be disciplined.

The draft phase…This is the time to be reckless, careless and carefree.

We cease to be creatively crazy as we follow a framework or get molded to a method. We have to break all such boundaries of assumptions and basket of presumptions, just being musing and staying motivated.

 

It is like a magic wand and there is a mystery behind such band of thoughts.

 

As we write and go deep inside the draft we start seeing so many subdued layers and so many diverse patterns, there is wider sense of exploration and a sudden sense of accomplishment. I was enjoying that phase of being creatively wandering and randomly writing. I was in no mood to phase out myself from that exploratory journey. There was so much that I was enjoying in that draft phase just being a sole sailor in that rocking boat on such ocean of wavering thoughts.

 

Writers are explorers.

Writers are wanderers.

Writers are like Siberian migratory birds.

Writers are like annual animal migration in the Masai Mara.

 

The shift from the draft to the craft is that migration we all as writer look forward to that technical shift of our canvas from creating to moving to a new place of operation.   Instead of putting myself into that zone of self-exile, I was to celebrate the freedom of being inventive and creating something different and something that defines my essence of being a liberated soul. It was so exciting to put words to thoughts, the sudden connection of words with thoughts, the right connection and experiencing that Eureka moments every time I get the exact word catching my thought.

I was getting super excited.

I was feeling elated with extra joy, there was this child like exuberance.

It was palpable.

I was feeling it.

I continued that path just by being wildly wandering and being in that state of wilderness.

 

I was so much in that state of draft I simply didn’t want to shift to that state of craft.

 

I wanted to stay put in that space of drafting. There was no governing rule and there was no regulation to regiment my thoughts. Crafting is about shaping those worded thoughts into some prescribed pattern and adhering to some predefined framework. I was desperately resisting that migration from the draft phase to the craft stage. I knew that to make my creative work go from my private space to the public place it has to be well crafted for it to be acceptable and ready for public consumption of the art of my creative writing.

 

The shift from draft to craft

It is like a nostalgic feeling that strangely mirrors the scene while sending our kids to the school…the first day of our kid’s school. There is a mixture of feeling. There is that subtle sense of pride that our kid is moving into a new world but there is also that lurking tentativeness of fear and understandable concern, how will he manage in the school, how will he react if the teacher rebukes him, what will happen if the other children don’t play with him, what will happen if he needs something, is the caretaker really going to take care of him…

 

It was like starting to learn the driving class where I was enjoying the learning to drive on an open space in the ground without any restriction just juggling with my clutch, the acceleration, the deceleration and the break. Then came the time. The time to move from the open ground to the confined street. I was fearful. I couldn’t galvanize the courage. I resisted coming onto the streets with so much stipulation and restriction.

This is a recurring process.

The journey of moving from draft to craft that we keep doing every time we sit down to write something new. Many of our writings have never shifted their gears or gone ahead in getting them crafted. Those written thoughts are still lying low and in multiple layers of forgotten manuscripts. Randomly scattered here and there, floating like vagabonds and nomads.

 

I took a break to ruminate on this very journey and gradually realized that there is an art of smartly and successful moving from the draft phase to the craft stage of creative writing.

“It is about the trust on the work of art and the self-belief.”

“The creative confidence…”

 

This appears deceptively easy to do but it isn’t the case. It is like getting back our mojo. This needs to be nurtured and this needs to be cultivated to keep us going the distance, the whole hog and allowing us to take that final plunge every time we reach the cliff of the draft as we have a beautiful valley to cherish on the other side as a craft. We have to weed out the festering fear and fathom out the bounty of beauty that is always ready to invite was with both hands. The belief and the confidence

 

There is a magical journey we all as writer experience as we do this wonderful gliding from the draft of writing to the craft of creating

 

With those words of assurance and I took the guarded plunge into that new space of creative crafting, and as it happens in every new place we enter, we need little time to adjust and get us familiarized and nudging the awkward nuances, and then start enjoying the new place like meeting our old friend that suddenly offers so much to us, a whole new world…it is just that we resist and so it persists.

I could mobilize all those scattered motivations and tethered thoughts. Earlier I didn’t have the courage to barge there, but this time I managed to do so. I ransacked my stuffed writing cupboard randomly piled up and the recorded documents  in old folders and archaic files in my system, and I was unpleasantly surprised to discover so many of my writings helplessly looking for their caretaker to come and rescue them from the help age homes, I could see the deeply suppressed pain in their wrinkled eyes and crumbled faces, they were stoic and there was an air of poignancy…I felt extremely despair that how come I have left my own children of thoughts so badly abandoned, I have done for so long, never visited them for years.

 

How could I do that?

 

And then I realized that these thoughts were never crafted with my emotions they were mere my draft…earlier I never had the courage to stand by my own writings, shy of my own emotions; however flimsy or fragile it may have been after all it was my writing, if I don’t fight for my writing and thoughts who else will do and If I had to improve my writing for being a better writer I should change my outlook not my look that is what I am born with and that is my personality and that it is my identity and I just need to keep improvising, keep doing it better than the previous draft and keep honing my craft, the creative craft of writing...

 


Nihar Pradhan

Draft & Craft

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Not Water but Writing is the New Elixir of Life…

Writing - Makeup and Breakup

Once upon a time and that time was not long back, ironically it is only few decades ago where writing was limited to education space and to professional work or to the passion of writing. This very human engagement with writing was never looked beyond the conventional confinement of education or profession or passion.

The role of writing was very sketchy and scantily used in our daily life. Writing was need based and was act in selected occasions. Unless we had a source of inspiration or it was a compulsion we used to silently escape the engagement with writing, though good writing happens in silence and in solitude. Escaping from writing was a sense of “false freedom”. It was not a written offence but it was nevertheless clear that we were simply not enjoying that form of engagement.

There were exceptions.

Writing a romantic letter to the one we loved, to writing a business letter in our work dealings…broadly speaking writing had limited scope and we were happily ensconced in that written space not pressing us beyond our limits of comfort.

Writing was rare and it was few and far in between. Even for days and weeks we never wrote anything and we never felt the need and we never felt the absence of writing in our life. It was considered to be elite, it was considered to be exclusive and it was out of reach for most of us. As a “Creative Craft” only passionate people on writing were engaging with the activity of writing. Writing was not a part of our daily routine.

Occasionally, writing use to get its fair due, it was unfortunate but all we used to manage our own singular dialogues. Writing was predominately restricted to the formal space and informal space was never the place for writing to take its rightful place. Formal Space had completely hijacked writing from getting any publication place. Writing was mentally challenged in the informal space. Subsequently, the space has shifted, and has shifted significantly with the dominance of informal space in the digital age.

With recent time, things have changed and have changed spectacularly. Internet, Mobile, Social Media and Instant Messaging (IMSI) has played their vital role in changing the human engagement with writing. Anybody who is part of IMSI, writing is an integral part and it is not about the formal nature of writing or quality of writing, it is about the opportunity to just get engaged with writing.

 

“Writing today is omnipresent.”

“Writing today is inevitable.”

“Writing today is mandatory.”

“Writing today is about connection.”

“Writing today is about collaboration.”

 

Writing today is building and bridging communities. In a much more holistic perspective we can all fairly conclude that writing today is defining our very existence. Writing is the today the elixir of lifenot it has not replaced water as it cannot scientifically but giving water a real fight spiritually.

As we always don’t drink water to quench our thirst, we drink water to nourish our body’s water requirement. Writing is not always done for obtaining fame or achieving fortune. Writing is also done for the sheer joy of writing.

Facebook to WhatsApp, ironically the later entity is now an integral part of the former giant and both have conspired well to put the world community on a mission of writing something or other everyday.  We all have to write. Though initially writing on this digital platform was taken lightly and was given lesser importance as it was considered informal and was customarily given a casual treatment. As they say with passage of time, things change and with practice we all have become reasonably perfect, the consistent writing in this space over time is now treated perfectly alright. This is almost becoming the de facto base of souring information to drawing our inferences and becoming the basis for us to be considered well-informed and moving towards taking better decisions in our life.

In WhatsApp we are chatting for hours and we keep doing without the inhibition of writing. We needn’t be a writer and we needn’t become a writer per se. We needn’t have to be designated as writer to write. We needn’t have to be taught how to be a writer. We need be afraid of the grammatical mistakes. We needn’t be a master of words. We needn’t make a mistake of prejudging ourselves to be a writer and then have the privilege to write.

We can write anytime. We can write on any topic.

 

It is not the size of the dog in the fight that matters it is size of the fight in the dog that really matters. Similarly in the case of writing, not how big or popular we are as a writer what matters is what thoughts we have as a writer and how we are able to share our thoughts more creatively and more consistently. Our voice in the writing counts not the decibel of the sound it generates.  We can write for sharing thoughts to we can write to make our thought count.

 

We can write to talk to self. We can write to talk to others.

What ultimately matters is the act of writing, not the kind of enactment we do on a piece of writing script.

This whole new generation who are on IMSI platform are by default writers, and then they are subtly growing and certainly maturing as a writer on an almost daily basis. They say to be a good writer we should write everyday and we should write whatever comes to our mind without limiting our thoughts and the emphasis is on the essence of everyday writing. Messaging to Sharing, which we keep doing everyday almost involuntarily is nothing but writing. By doing so we are activating our writing engine on and engineering our mind to think and keep thinking, and we are now a constant machine of creation. Writing is forming that background transformation within us.

We have to improvise our articulation in expressing our thoughts. We have to become more vocal in our verbal communication. We have to give wings to our passive voice. Yes, we have all become more confident in life. We have become a much more evolved soul with deeper engagement with diverse writing. Writing is taking us far and wide. Writing is setting the agenda in our daily discourse. Writing is replacing talking as the power to connect. Though as powerful speaker we connect to a live audience powerfully but as a profound writer we connect to a much larger audience outside our visible boundary. We are breaking the boundaries of human engagement.

What we can convey through writing, we cannot convey through speaking. There is a deeper meaning encapsulated in the written text than through spoken words. Hence, many times we prefer sending a text message and not making a voice call. We feel writing is a better way to sending the right message than using the voice where we may get dragged and message distorted.

 

“Text is testing the voice…”

 

We are without inhibition voicing our mind through texting. If you look at the quantum of writing that is getting published on hourly basis in WhatsApp and Facebook just these two Medias, one on mobile and the other on the web…it is simply mind-boggling. It is not the publication though publication is amplifying the power of communication. In essence there is lot of writing and all of us are writing. It is a writer’s world. It is not always about the quality that matters in writing, it is the measure of engagement we are having with writing that matters. It is impossible to imagine how much of writing one generation can do when we look back to the generation prior to the advent of IMSI.

Today writing is touching everybody’s life and today writing is empowering people across social strata, geographical boundaries to level of education to sphere of profession to type of occupation and people are truly enjoying the “secret power” that they are deriving from the latent nectar of being with writing.  They were deprived for long. They were not aware of the writing power. They were not given adequate avenues to express and expressing through their writing which needed a tool and which needed a space, today IMSI has become the “spatial tool” for human engagement. Writing is becoming the new fuel to make that spatial tool work and work effectively in the way we live our life and towards living a much more meaningful life in future.

What we write for ourselves or for our group we are connected doesn’t matter. What matters is how much we are writing and are we meaningfully engaged and not idling our time. While travelling in a bus or a train or in a flight, we have the same time but to do much more than what we would have done otherwise. Writing while traveling…

 

In this digital age we have become “miser in talking” and “wiser in writing”. Click To Tweet

 

We can read while travelling and we have done that but we never had the opportunity to do that with writing while travelling using the conventional tools but with technology replacing the paper with the pad, and pen with the pointer we are all empowered and we are all powering ahead in the sphere of writing. We can see across all such waiting areas be it in bus bays to waiting lounges in airports, people are hooked to their smart phones to small pads and they are either reading and writing or writing through chatting. Writing is there and it is there everywhere to be seen. It feels so good to be part of such writing revolution that has been ushered in by the constant evolution of digital technology.

 

It is rapid.

It is instant.

It is contagious.

It is breaking conventions.

It is defining the contours of human engagement.

 

Water is the elixir of life but writing is no less, one is at the tangible front and the other is at the intangible front but we cannot escape the confrontation. This confrontation is in no way given a negative connotation.

 

“Writing is liberating.”

“Writing is invigorating.”

“Writing is about exploring.”

“Writing is about wandering.”

“Writing is therapeutic.”

 

Writing is about telling what is in our mind and mind wants that nourishment through expression. There has to be a fair balance in our communication, so long we have lived in that unfair imbalance where we had to communicate more through talking and not through writing. We didn’t have the avenues. It was primarily through speaking and more talking…now that pattern has changed and has radically changed. We can see a pattern of new writing that is shaping the way we have engaged and communicating with different communities and society at large.

 

We are all at our own level become a better thinker by thinking deeply as a writer not necessarily a philosopher, more creative by engaging as a writer not necessarily as creative writer, we have become a better writer and not necessarily an author, and finally we all have become a “better human being” by being meaningfully engaged with writing.

 

Writing is the new Elixir of Life

Water bodies across the World are depleting faster than we thought we need to quickly replenish our stagnated thoughts with fresh ideas, it is time to use the power of Writing to empower Water.

 


Nihar Pradhan

Creative Writer

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How do I craft my Short Stories and for whom?

Stories and Sea Shore, Crafting Short Stories, Art and Craft of Stories, Stories for Readers, Creative Writing

When ideas strikes me, I get excited and try to quickly cage that idea and hold onto that whiff of excitement. Knowing well that ideas are volatile and excitement are transient, it will disappear if not anchored in words and written thoughts.

The problem is that ideas can strike anywhere and anytime.

Mostly it strikes me while I’m travelling and peeping outside the window of the moving vehicle, ideas keep coming to me while I am seeing the world outside; the way a young guy assisting an old lady in crossing the road to seeing a beautiful girl enjoying the freedom, zooming past my vehicle in her new two wheeler bike to a young child perplexed at the cramming crowd and commotion of cars from his father’s shoulder to another guy honking behind me as if the world has come crumbling on him, he is trying to push everybody and fly past the stream of vehicles stuck in front of him…as I look at each of the scenes, I see through a hidden story behind each such face and an unfolding storyline with the movement of so many scenes.

As I cross the section of busy streets, these plethora of ideas hits me hard and I keep wondering on each one and quickly get immersed in everything, not able to fathom and figure out the frame. The frame to capture and convert those potent ideas into beautiful portraits, it is about mentally painting those thoughts in the canvas of imagination till I get the keyboards to catch those ideas into meaningful sentences and paragraphs. Though on the mobile platform I try to get it captured but I never find the space comfortable and the writing zone to get the words weaving.

I need an anchor.

I wait for the time to get to my place where I get the writing flow. It is the corner space in my creative room. The moment I sit down in front of my computer to convert those street scenes into smart themes, engrossing plots, memorable characters and intriguing conflicts which my story shall represent and present.

My mind get caught in the web of clutters. Mind is a free floater and it keeps floating around and keeps hitting with these eternal flow of waves, and things that comes its way and it has no shore till I temporarily anchor my temptation.

It has to be irresistible.

Mind needs constant temptation to get back to the shore otherwise it will always keep wandering in the vast ocean. When I sit down to write, I keep the distraction out of my zone, I know slight attraction can get my thoughts wavering and my story can go haywire, it has happened my times, I get all the scenes mixed up and keep moving in all possible directions and ending up writing something having now beginning, no middle and of course it never ends. It so happens that I cannot always keep the distraction at bay, these diversions keep coming my way and keep taking me out of way. Still I keep the flow going without getting caught in the logjam and not letting the idea to flow freely. The free flow of thoughts is what really matters to me and I try my best to allow the flow and not get trapped in the bumpy hurdles and the unpredictable hiccups.

While I get into the character and try giving the character a distinct voice and a personality, I consciously ignore the rules of language, grammar and punctuation gets the back seat, and the flow of thoughts and the formation of idea gets the driver’s seat. It is not that I throw the rules out of the window permanently, though these rules keep knocking my door, I keep it out of my room till I get my story get the flow, the form and the shape to get going by itself. Once I get the confidence that my story has acquired the wings to fly, I land on the ground and give my mind a break.

The break is to get the mind shift the gear, while the mind was flying high in the world of imagination to get the characters develop their voice heard and the plot get the glue to give the reader the hook. Surfing in the sea and silently sitting on the sea-shore and watching the waves rocking the sand dunes cannot go together; writing and editing are two ends of the spectrum. I never attempt bringing them together knowing well that by doing so I am just trying to kill the very idea that I gave birth to and was nurturing.

I allow the mistakes to flower, I allow the flowery language to fructify, I allow the grammatical errors to grumble at me, I allow the limitation of language not to get my thoughts lose its flow and form.

I have seen that I have long way to go in trying to master the language and very few people have done so and they are truly gifted and others have invested enormous amount of time to get the grip. I know that it is a parallel process and I cannot stop the process of creative writing and crafting stories till get the other process in full control.

There is nothing called as perfection in my dictionary and every time I write a story and get excited about the outcome, the readers keep me grounded. There is always something better the other side.

I quickly realize that I was trapped in a prism of my own imagination and I feel I have done everything to get the story well crafted and fire the engines to fly high and wide.

This has happened so many times, I keep participating in a short story writing competition and after putting my best foot forward I find myself no where in the list of winners. I am back again to the writing board, I keep writing another piece of short story and as the process ends I feel I have given the best shot but once again it ends up in the flop show.

It is agonizing.

It is frustrating.

It is demoralizing.

I find myself in a state of helplessness and restlessness.

Helplessness because where do I get the motivation and inspiration to lift myself and restlessness because where is the anchor everytime I go to the sea I am thrown out by the waves and not able to get the space and place.

I feel displaced and I feel disturbing.

Is other’s writing so well that my writing just doesn’t stand the test of comparison or the judge and jury wear a different lens that my pictures don’t get captured. I read the winning pieces and they are good and but what I have written was not bad either, sometime I have better appreciation from readers than the judge and jury. After writing so many stories and participating in many competitions, I realized that each story has their own little space and these stories needn’t get caught in the commotion of jury’s evaluation framework.

It is crowded and there are hundreds of stories that keep floating in the market. The pricing and prizing the stories in the hands of judge is good to give a competitive space and a brand to the work of writing, but not good enough to give all creative writing and stories a tag to optimize the reader’s search engine and hashtag to search in microcosm of so many readers.

I write for myself and if I am happy what I have written matches my expectation, then I allow my stories to meander the corridor of crowded streets and if it is good enough it will some day definitely find it’s anchor in the shinning sea-shore. For my short stories my readers are my judge and jury, and their appreciation or criticism is what really matters to me and my stories.

One thing I have learnt that the ideas of writing good short stories resides in the minds of reader; the writer’s craft lies in the art of reading the minds of readers.

 

image_credit_http://www.ripcurrents.noaa.gov

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