An Amateur Writer’s Blah Blah on Writing :)

“I think the writer has to be responsible to signs and dreams. If you don’t do anything with it, you lose it.” – Joy Williams

I didn’t get any particular sign or dream as such. Just a lot of complaints from my sister. And, maybe, one article which could possibly have been a sign – On Not Writing.

Whenever I resume blogging, I also make an effort to catch up on posts by bloggers I like/follow and the Freshly Pressed posts. Apart from giving me a sense of getting back on track, it also leads me onto thoughts I want to write about. One such post which I read (the last time I resumed blogging) was Finding your writing voice over at Wanton Creation. The reason for being drawn to it was: I had had the same line of thought and was planning to blog about it (which never happened, alas!). So, I was surprised to see a post on the same topic, with similar thoughts!

There is something I always notice when I read articles or blog-posts – the writing style. Even though I must have been doing it all along, it’s something that I realized very recently. It might be my passion for writing or maybe, just something I’ve grown to do as a result of my reading. Whatever maybe the reason, I’ve come to realize that the first thing I notice and appreciate about a piece of writing is the writing style, the way in which the writer has put forth his views. Also, I believe, that is what helps maintain my interest in the piece. However interesting a concept might be, I cannot bear to read on if I don’t like the way it’s written. Once I realized this, I was curious. Curious about what exactly led me to like a particular way of writing, what factors I looked for in a piece…and most importantly, what was my writing style, how would I judge it, how do people judge it? The latter’s a thought for another day, though.

It’s not easy to write something that engages a reader till the end. And it’s definitely not easy to make it good enough to leave a mark on the reader’s mind or provoke them to think about it. So, then, what draws a person to read a certain piece of writing (Note: I’m not talking about books here)? Let me list out 5 qualities in writing that do the trick for me:

1) Humour – It works every single time. Use humour to present your concept/thought and I bet it will get through to your readers. It works splendidly for me!

2) Simple yet compelling language – I would never want to read something that is filled with complex or generally unused words. That’s not to say I’d like something plainly written either. Attaining that balance between simple and compelling language  is tricky but I believe that is what could reach out to readers. On that note, let me also add : grammatical & spelling mistakes are a firm turn-off when it comes to reading something. (Not that I’m perfect at it!)

3) Keeping it personal – Now, this is a factor that ALWAYS draws me to a piece of writing – the writer’s ability to connect to the reader by maintaining a certain personal touch. Instead of an article that is completely factual and impersonal, I’d opt for something that has a personal element, an article wherein the writing seems to communicate to me, engaging me in what the writer is saying. In short, I should be able to feel that the writer is talking to me through the piece.

4) Short and sweet –  Never mind the ‘sweetness’, but I certainly do prefer articles that aren’t too long. It isn’t really about having time to read it. For me, it’s more about whether a long article will be able to hold my attention, whether it will be worth the effort. More often that not, I have strayed off halfway through a long article and just skimmed through the rest of it. So, the phrase “short and sweet” is highly relevant to me.

5) Flow of Writing – The way the concept is developed from one paragraph to another or, in simple words, the flow of writing is another factor that helps in maintaining my interest in an article. Disconnected or disrupted flow of thoughts usually make me leave halfway through the piece.

So, those are the 5 elements of writing style that capture my interest in an article.

What are yours? Do care to share.

Rain, Rain, Come Again :)

It’s night-time. Dark, silent (almost) and a tiny bit eerie. I don’t remember the last time I stayed up to blog. Since afternoon, there have been so many thoughts in my mind that I can’t help but sit down and let them out. Considering how lazy I can be, it surprises me that I’m staying up to write about some random thoughts I had earlier during the day. Maybe the fact that I could not go to sleep without doing this shows how much of an impact these thoughts have had on me.

I had been feeling quite low for the past couple of days.

Today afternoon, while walking back home with a friend, it started drizzling. It wasn’t unusual (it has been raining on and off during the past few weeks) or sudden (it has been cloudy for a couple of days). But it changed something within me. It felt good. I felt an urge to stay out in the rain for a while longer. It evoked a kind of happiness in me that I can’t seem to explain. It was not an overwhelming emotion…just plain happiness. A good feeling within, just a sense of being content and happy with wherever I was at that particular point in life. I went up to the terrace and sat there for a while. The rain had stopped by then but I knew it wouldn’t be long before it returned. At that moment, sitting there, watching the sky and lost in thoughts, I felt a deep sense of contentment with life. Almost like I was living solely in that moment. Even though I believe in the concept of living one’s life fully and in the moment, I have to admit that I hardly ever come across moments like this. And when I do, they touch me far deeper than ever; they leave me filled with thoughts that demand to be let out! (Right now, I feel flooded by so many thoughts, I don’t know which ones to let out!)

Since it was the rain that led to this “outpour” of thoughts, I suppose I’ll let rain take the limelight here. Today, while it was raining, I had so many thoughts going through my mind…and when I paid attention to these passing thoughts, I realized that they were mostly vivid memories, all related to rain. Some of them were almost long-forgotten. I thought I’d list out a few, to pore over on some other rainy day.

Rain reminds me of:

1) How I used to long for rainy days during childhood. I loved floating paper boats in the puddles, getting drenched in the rain (although that rarely happened) or just listening to the rain falling outside. Since rain wasn’t very common, I used to love whenever it rained, even if it meant mess and mud and dampness.

2) Schooldays! I loved going to school on rainy days. Inspite of the fact that I hated getting my feet wet, I enjoyed rainy school days. I used to love the small puddles on the school ground. Not the messy corridors, though. We used to make excuses or happily carry out errands for the teachers, just to get out of class and go out in the rain.

3) Quite contrary to school time, I hated rain during college. Perhaps because there was an excess of it! I dreaded going to class on rainy days. I hated the muddy paths, the drenched uniforms, the cold, everything! One distinct memory is of an instance when one moment, we  (classmates) were all walking slowly, ‘navigating’ around muddy puddles and talking, and the next moment, it started raining cats and dogs, and we ran to find shelter, splashing mud all around (need I add we ended up looking very much pitiable).

4) Songs. Experiences – Every time it rains, the first song to come to mind is Unnai Kandane (Parijatham). It has become almost synonymous to rain. Apart from all the memories of travelling on rainy days or of curling up in the bed, listening to the rain outside, another rainy experience I’ll always remember is the one I had while I was at Kochi – going up to the terrace with a PGmate/friend and enjoying the rain.  Evidently, it was good enough to make me blog about it. The memory and the post, in particular, have immense significance for me!

5) And now, rain will always remind me of today and the happiness it brought forth in me. Because it happened at a point when I badly needed it. Or perhaps, because it made me see things I had been overlooking, like the need to be happy by oneself.

So, what does rain remind you of? 

 

 

How A Soliloquy (nearly) Saved My Blog from Becoming Extinct

I realize that it has been a long time since I blogged. Some of my closest friends did ask about it and urged me to resume blogging (Once, Kiran told me I shouldn’t get used to NOT blogging. But then, I think that’s what happened, eventually). The problem was not lack of will or desire. I wanted to blog, yes. But I lacked the inspiration – that uncanny sense and ability to string together words and form a sentence, and to create a bunch of sentences like that, which make sense, ultimately. I got away with that “excuse” for a long time. Until I had to give an answer to myself. The conversation with myself went something like this:

Why are you not blogging?

Because I don’t find the inspiration for it. 

Is that reason enough for not doing something you enjoyed so much?

Well…

Did you never have thoughts that were worth blogging about?

Hell, yes, I did!

Then why did you never do it?

I don’t know…I just didn’t feel that urge to sit down and put those thoughts into words. 

Did you try?

No. 

Did you try to find the inspiration somewhere?

Umm..not really, but, at times, yes. 

And…?

Well…(clears throat)…All I can say is that what I found wasn’t enough. 

Do you even realize how stupid that sounds?

Yes. 

Without ever genuinely trying to find inspiring thoughts or using what you found or even trying to write something, how can you blame everything on the lack of inspiration?

Ok, maybe I was also lazy.

Makes sense. Do you know that you have a responsibility to yourself, to do what you love and enjoy? The responsibility to do what you’re passionate about? Because that’s the only way you will ever contribute anything!

Yes, I know that.

Great! Now that you have come clean and knocked some sense into your head, please get down to doing what you do best. And no, I don’t mean lazing around!

* * * * * * *

And that conversation is what brought me here, to this page, after so long. I love talking to myself. I do it at random instances but most often when I’m in extreme moods (extremely angry, happy or sad). And it always helps me clear my head in a way nothing else does. Whenever I’ve spoken to myself, I’ve always come out of the mood with some thought that was powerful enough to make an impact. And I love the fact that I have the power to change my state of mind. 🙂

When I started off with this post, I had no idea about what to write. I just wanted to start with it, just try to do it instead of complaining. And I must say I’m very glad with the outcome. Even though it’s really nothing more than a pointless, stupid conversation with myself. Now, all I need to do is make sure that I don’t fall back into the ‘Lazy Mode’ and leave this space to gather dust until the next time I get some sense into my head. *Fingers crossed*

Don’t you Miss my Blah Blah? (Please Say Yes!)

Please ignore the stupidity of the title. I can be really crazy, sometimes. And, dumb, at other times. 

I had a wonderful weekend at home, lazing around, watching movies, eating and talking to Ann. I did everything that I can’t do when I’m staying in a new place – sing out loud, play loud music, talk whatever I want for as long as I want, enjoy the familiarity that home always offers. It was almost painful to come back and get to work.

But, well, here I am, sitting in front of a system that gets super-slow every once in a while, bored of doing whatever I’m doing.

The downside of being here is that I’m alone. In a lot of ways, I appreciate the solitude, especially since it helps me learn to live by myself and take care of myself. But, when it comes to going out, having a meaningful conversation or wanting to see a familiar, comforting face, loneliness sucks! Like I wrote in a

I should use that line, sometime!

I should use that line, sometime!

mail to a friend, I have even lost my appetite because I HATE eating alone (does not mean I enjoy eating with strangers). Every day, I keep hoping time will do the trick, that things will change. Because I’m sure it will. Maybe today. Or tomorrow.

Anyway, another problem with new people is: you tend to hide (or atleast, try not to let them notice) the weird habits/behaviour or quirks you have. On my second day here, when I found out that one of my colleagues lives in the same building as me, I thought I’d have company to commute to work. I almost asked him something of that sort, then quickly dropped it. Why? Because he would come to know some of my quirks. [Awkward confession time…Man, this is difficult!] I’m strangely apprehensive about going down a staircase and look kinda weird while doing so. And thanks to my awesome lack of balance, escalators and electronic walkways are…umm…a tiny bit scary. Just a bit.

So, the thought of a new person noticing this was more than what I was comfortable with. Anyhow, today morning, both of us happened to be waiting for the metro, at the same time. Which, inevitably, means we came to work together. Thankfully, though, this guy happens to be a little too much into himself to notice my innocent quirks. Or maybe he didn’t find me interesting enough to notice (since I hide my awesomeness when I go to work; why invite all that jealousy to oneself?). Well, so, I guess everything’s fine; my secret is safe. 🙂

What makes blogging so much of a relief right now is the fact that I haven’t found a friend to dump my thoughts on have a proper, open conversation with. Until I do (and until I start talking some sense), I’m sure you wouldn’t mind listening.

Bottom line: quirks or no quirks, friend or no friend, life’s good. 🙂

 

New Girl in the City

Any time there’s a major change, whether it’s going into a relationship, getting out of a relationship, moving to a new city, a death – that usually provides a catalyst for an explosion of creativity.
– Lucinda Williams

So, the major change, in my case, might not have led to an ‘explosion of creativity’, but, I’m feeling a lot better than when I wrote the previous post. Well, inspite of my lack of interest, I took up this utterly boring front-desk job at an advertising agency in Dubai. The motivating factors? The thought of moving to a new city, meeting new people, exploring new opportunities, going through new experiences. And that’s how the move to Dubai happened. I work 5 days a week and come home to RAK for the weekend.

Even though my job is boring and least challenging, I like the fact that I have a lot of time on hand. I spend most of my time online, reading blog posts & news articles or replying to some mails. While the youngsters at my office aren’t very welcoming or friendly (in fact, hardly any of them talk to me), the older ones are quite friendly. It’s kind of weird; maybe, they just need time to accept me. Anyway, for now, all I need to keep me going is the prospect of exploring the new city and the experiences it has to offer. The absence of a good friend to talk to or confide in can be overlooked, I suppose. Atleast for now.

After moving in to a comfortable place to stay (with some friendly, sweet people for roommates), my first challenge was finding my way around, to and from work. You will be able to understand the horror of the situation, if you know how terrible my sense of direction is. I had to travel by metro (for the first time) and the first time I reached office by myself, I felt this intense sense of achievement. Like I had done something. Definitely not something difficult or unattainable;but something new, which is what matters to me, after all.

Of course, there’s the foot ache, slight neck pain (from sitting in front of the computer for too long) and the constant feeling of disorientation and being lost. Yet, at the threshold of each new experience, I sense a burst of zeal, because I’ve been yearning for it. Inspite of being a stranger, I love the way the city welcomes me, without being too intimidating. The people I’ve come across have been extremely helpful, even if it meant sacrificing a few minutes of their busy schedule.

Now, I have time for everything. Even with the 8-hour job, the travelling and everything, I have time to write, to read and time for myself. Maybe I had to have these new, strange experiences to get myself back to normal. And, of course, that would inevitably mean: more to blog about! 🙂

Kind of what I look like at work, minus the nail file, of course! 😀

Let’s Catch Up!

So…I think I’m back, and I know I’m repeating a line that has been part of atleast 4-5 previous posts. Around 7 weeks after my previous post, here I am, finally typing something onto a page that I’ve opened up a hundred times in the past few days. Well, a lot has changed. Obviously. How can things remain the same for 7 whole weeks, anyway?

Well, in case you’d like to know, I quit my job at Kochi (Kerala), bid farewell to some awesome friends (and some beautiful, memorable places) and have come back to RAK. Home. It’s just been around 7 months since I left this place. It used to feel like ages when I was in Kerala, but now, once I got back, it feels like I hadn’t gone at all.

I suppose RAK is the place where I spend that interval period between two phases in my life. Because, now, I’m here to take my time and figure out what I want to do next. I haven’t yet begun the ‘figuring out’. I don’t want to force myself to dwell on it and find an answer. Let it come by itself, I know it will.

So, while I’m in the process or relaxing, lazing around and trying to do some serious thinking, I will also have a lot of chattering to do… Do keep a watch on this space! 🙂 I’ve missed my readers – regulars and the random visitors alike – as much as I have missed the experience of blogging.

And while you’re here, why don’t you tell me what you have been upto? 🙂 

Back Again

It’s been ages since I blogged. And you have no idea how many have been asking me to blog, saying they keep checking for new posts. To be honest, I’m flattered. The reason why I haven’t been blogging for so long is – hectic schedule (thanks to work) and pure laziness (thanks to me)! Right now, seeing the ‘Add New Post’ page, having my fingers literally flying over the keyboard, it feels so damn good.

Today has been an awesome day! In fact, I have been having a bit of awesomeness in each day during the past one week. Which is probably why I felt moved enough to blog today. Well, apart from the fact that I’ve made a couple of new friends, a lot has been happening. And I just had to write it out.

The past one week has been eventful. My work has begun to get a little pressurizing, at times. Even though I get irritated, I know that it will eventually turn out to be a great experience for me. So, I grit my teeth (literally, almost always) and go through these trying situations, knowing that it will pass.

I have grown closer to a really sweet person at work. Her place is right beside mine, and every now and then, we find something or the other to talk to each other. It might be stupid office-gossip, personal stuff, work-related tidbits or whatever! And, last week, when I faced a very confusing situation, I wanted to talk it out. And she was the first person to come to my mind. I loved the conversation we had. For one thing, it made me realize how close we had grown to each other. Another reason is – I LOVED the way she cleared up the whole issue, making me feel so much better.

I have made another new friend, too. A total random stranger. We started texting by chance…and then met up last week. And, well, we might not be personally close or anything. But I enjoyed the time I spent with him. He is easy and fun to be with, someone who will make you laugh, feel comfortable. So, that’s how I found a new friend.

I moved to a new place today. It’s a really cute, awesome place. Very silent, tranquil area…friendly house-mates… After I got here, I was unpacking. And it struck me. Unpacking (or even packing, for that matter) is a sort of draining process. It’s like you’re unpacking your life; you pack up every remnant of the life you spent in a place, and then you unpack that life in another place, where these things look odd, misplaced. But, eventually, those things start to belong in the new space… I hope I’ll be able to blend in with this place soon.

I have so many other thoughts running around in my head. But, right now, I need to go get some sleep. I’ll try not to let this space rot. I’ve missed blogging so much.