The Vidya of Writing!

Note: This post was inspired by Pam Christ‘s post on Alumni Forum

When asked about tips for writing great poet, lyricist and writer Gulzar who has contributed a lot to Indian cinema said: 

karte ki vidya hai, karne se aati hai.

Those words have been etched in my memory since I read them first. They roughly translate as–this is the art of doing it comes by doing.


What touched me in particular about his advice was the simplicity and efficacy of the suggestion. The emphasis is on doing. I feel most of the critical suggestions, whether they come from inside or out, become obstacles in learning a craft and improving creativity if they shut you down from ‘doing.’ Doing is so important for creativity. All suggestions are useful unless they stop you from doing. There is no such thing as overdoing in art. You will never get worn out by working hard on something you love and are passionate about. In fact, if you have to use words like ‘hard work'( and it might sound as impolite to some craftsmen but I must say) and struggling for something–you are in a wrong field and not listening to your inner voice.

Taking a break or creating spaces between doing should not be confused from not doing. Not doing is being too critical of oneself or the creative process. Too many voices telling you this won’t work all the time are not good for creativity. Some anxiety is good but most of it makes you so focused on results that you stop enjoying the process and it’s the biggest mistake to put all the stakes on destination. All that you do to support your craft is helpful but it’s not same as non-doing.

Let Them Speak

This piece by Pam Christ  is a marvellous advice on writing and learning. I read a similar meditation technique a decade ago which we shall discuss about some other time, but this article speaks tons about knowing human nature and honing your writing in a very interesting way. If you read this, I am sure you will gain a bagful of entertainment and writing! Thank you, Pam!

Source: Let Them Speak

Give Yourself A Number, Get In The Flow!

Productivity and Creativity

Productivity and creativity are not isolated. Greatest geniuses in history of mankind were most productive people. If you think you would always get Eureka ideas without giving out anything shoddy you are committing a mistake and doing injustice to your creativity. Out of a great amount of quantity substantial quality emerges for us. Michael Michalko, in his wonderful article in How Geniuses Think  sheds light on this beautifully: Continue reading “Give Yourself A Number, Get In The Flow!”

Easily End Writer’s Block!

I don’t think that following suggestions cover everything on the topic, but you can certainly use some of the steps given below for effectively ending your Writer’s Block. Even if you have not been into a situation like this, some of these suggestions would help you stay away from it. 

1. Scribble Freely:

Write down your thoughts and feelings without giving much attention to the quality. Devote some time for scribbling and do not think about the audience while writing. Write as fast as you can and let anything and everything come onto the paper. Defer editing until the climax. 

2. Don’t put yourself under the burden of the statistics:

When you produce a work of great quality, expectations are set high in many ways. People might come and appreciate you sincerely and you might see your book’s sales soaring high in market. This all might create a great urge to produce a work with quality as high as the one which received wide acclaim. This hinders creative process sometimes. At other times though some people might create their best pieces and later on when they reflect on their creations, they wonder how they could create those marvellous artworks under overwhelming pressure.

3. Write For The Joy Of It:

Enjoy your writing and make it a game. Compete against yourself and give yourself quotas. If you love writing, then there will be very few chances of getting too critically affected by negative feedback which you receive for your writing. When you enjoy the process, you don’t get too many thoughts about the product, which boosts your ideaphorea.

4. Write Regularly:

No matter whether you publish regularly or not, try to reinforce the habit of writing on a regular basis. Leaving a few exceptions for some special and very creative ventures, the habit of procrastinating takes tolls on your neural pathways. If you’re waiting for some important task to be completed before you really start writing, may be it will be too late to write before you finish that task. It’s better to create your own goals and personal quotas and to scribble something or the other every day.
5. Portable Memory Bank:
This technique is part of core techniques of Project Renaissance. This is based on the simple observation that we let our creative insights slip away by not giving enough attention to them as soon as they occur to us. Our subconscious mind keeps on sending great number of perceptions to our conscious mind, but because of systematic conditioning of blocking such perceptions, before they could be made conscious, we tend to suppress these perceptions. Some of these suggestions from our subconscious hold the key for many problems. The technique is based on the idea that you might get your creative inspirations for writing at any time and not necessarily when you ‘sit to write’. The technique is simple: You should keep a small notepad and pen with you, no matter where you go. As soon as you get an idea, do care to put a few words about that idea down on the notepad. Later on, you can read those ideas and reflect on them and analyse and scribble on them and sleep on them. These ideas will lead you to even more ideas, snowballing into an idea-base worth hundreds upon hundreds of high quality ideas.