You become a writer by writing, it is like Yoga
This quote by R.K. Narayan is something to reflect upon because the world is full of stories and as a writer, you only have to choose which one to tell.
When I thought of starting this series about writing, the first question that came to my mind was Can there be a rule book for writing? Absolutely not! the process of writing is very similar to the ideology given by the spiritual gurus…
One can only show you the way
Alright then, let’s begin!
Right now, I am feeling it difficult to determine where to start from and this is exactly the dilemma a writer faces many a times. “Where should I start?”
Generally, it all begins with an ‘Inspiration’. Now, an inspiration can be called with many names. It can be a poignant thought, a topic, a visual, an experience, a desire, a nostalgia, a concept, a dream, or it can also begin with just a random rambling moment. While almost everybody gets inspired in one way or the other; as for a creative person, it is something that is actually the instigating factor. The so called inspiration unearths his creative, subtle feelings (the source of these feelings is unknown in most of the cases) and he looks at it with a unique perspective. It is this perspective that comes out in the form of a story, a painting, a poem or in any other creative form.
If that was complicated to understand, then think of it like this…
If you look at the night sky and instantly find patterns within the stars, if ordinary items like an earthen pot or an empty pipe makes you imagine magical worlds, if a glimpse of strangers around you makes you guess their past and future or you start relating them with a hero or a villain, if you can easily see shapes and figures in an abstract painting, if your waiting moments (most of the time) are filled with observations, and this one is my favorite: If you can Lie convincingly 🙂 🙂
and just one more for the sake of build-up:
When you feel like ‘Harry Writer’ in the world of ‘Juggles’ (non-creative folk) then you are certainly someone who has the material in you…
Congrats! you are creative!!! 🙂
So then, now that you know you have the material, and also assuming that you have got the inspiration too, let’s ask the question once again,
How do I begin?
Every writer has his own way of handling his inspirations. This is how I do:
First, understand the inspiration. let it seep into your belief, make friends with it, believe in it, be natural, be spontaneous, give it some time to mature on itself, make notes but don’t write it out. Instead of branding it to be a thriller or a romance, let it reveal its true nature to you. Cry if it makes you cry, laugh, enjoy…Live it!
Second, start writing the first draft. The first draft need not be a detailed one but it must contain the central theme. Start building around it. compile your observations. Scribble, draw, handwrite, type or do anything that you are comfortable with. your aim must be to chalk out a meaningful design, that can further be developed into a working model sort. Deep inside, you must be probing about what you want to write (this may not look expressive yet). if your inspiration is a person then try to see things from his perspective, if it is a visual or an experience then get to the core of it, meditate on it. If it is just imagination, then keep day dreaming about it :).
Language, usage of words, spellings and grammar are of a little essence here. Right now, just write. You and only you will be reading this so don’t worry!
Things that I advise you to do:
- Keep thinking about the inspiration. Ask questions, counterquestions, wait for answers.
- Maintain notes. Written notes are the best because they come with minimum distraction. These will be your inputs when you begin the first draft. With notes, I mean anything that connects you to your inspiration. They could be photographs too.
- Begin identifying your characters. Preferably just by their names.
- Have patience.
Things that I do not advise you to do:
- Do not GOOGLE about your inspirations – except for research purposes. If you do it otherwise, you may come across other writings and at this point, your thoughts are most vulnerable to influences.
- Avoid dreaming about a comprehensive novel-like structure, don’t waste time in thinking what goes where.
- DO NOT COMPILE A CLIMAX ALREADY! let your idea surprise you. having said that, some inspirations start with a climax. In this case, don’t force a start. let it build.
- Avoid comparisons. every thought is unique!
Can we use any Tools?
Yes, why not. I use Microsoft OneNote to organize all my inspirations, drafts, photos, drawings. This is how the OneNote of my book Cabbing All the Way looks like
I attach files, photos, images and sometimes even sound files to it. This is the central place where I store everything related to my writings. Every book of mine, every new concept or prospective inspiration gets a OneNote page and all the information about it goes there.
So, Inspired already?
then gather your inspirations and prepare the first draft. In the next Post under this series, I will elaborate on how to proceed from here.
All The Best.
Note: you may post your questions in the comments. I shall try my best to reach your expectations with my answers.