Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What has my writing taught me?

My journey as a writer has been quite long, starting with short stories  and features for several years before I took a full fledged plunge into the world of  books. Over the years I have learnt several things in this journey.  I want to share these insights with my writing friends.  I am sure few things will make you smile,  and some  things will make you nod your heads.

  1. Writing has taught me patience. Patience  is not one of my better known virtues. The time it takes to write a book: from the day the idea pops into my overactive mind, until the day I see the book/ story in its published form is long. At every moment, impatient little me needs loads of patience to be able to do justice to the work I have undertaken. 
  1. Writing has taught me to respect people with split personalities as  my personality undergoes a drastic change at different stages of my writing. When I am writing the first draft, I am quite stressed and irritable with the smallest disturbances. When I rewrite, I am pretty upset with myself, and when I edit,  I am  relaxed and cheerful. 
  1. Writing has made me value other writer’s efforts. I never dismiss a book as crap or run it down, as I am aware of the effort someone else must have invested in that endeavour. The book may have bored me to tears, maybe disappointed me a little, or a lot, but it still required a tremendous effort from someone else to bring it to that stage. 
  1. Writing has made me appreciate the little free time I get. For us  writers, our work doesn’t end with just writing a publishable book, it starts with that. Once we have jumped onto the publishing bandwagon, we have  to actively market our books. Its then  we realize that the day could have done with few more hours, or, that we could have done with few less activities. 
  1. Writing has made me realize that if I were to wait for a visit from my muse, I would probably write just a book or two in my lifetime. It has made me realize that with or without the active participation of my muse I have to  churn out those words that will fill my manuscript. If my muse sees me working hard, perhaps talking pity on me it will drop in for an extended visit. 
  1. Writing has been responsible for me developing a  really thick skin. An editor/agent/reader/publisher may not have reacted favourably  where my work was concerned, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I am a bad writer, or, that I have to drown myself in self-pity. For every single person out there who doesn’t  like my work, there is another person who will love it. Well, I personally have not liked all the books I have read, but that  does  not mean that the writer is  bad, or, has failed. It just means that a particular story has not appealed to me  emotionally. 
  1. Writing has taught me  more about spirituality than the holiest of books. We writers get familiar with every aspect of spirituality: from surrender to working without an eye out for the desired result, to  calm acceptance of our book’s fate. Do we know the fate of our manuscripts when we send it on its publishing journey? No. Do we know whether a character we have worked on for years will  be loved or dismissed by readers? I am sure not. Do we  know the reactions of the readers to our books? Definetely not. Do we know whether we will  ever be able to make a decent living from our writing professions? Certainly not. Each cheque is a pleasant surprise. 
What has your writing journey taught you? Please share with us, we all would love to know.


  1. This is a great list! I love #3. But I agree with all of them. Every day as I go through this process, I learn more about myself but mostly to accept and not give up:)

  2. EW, ew, # 3. Man I love that one. And all of them really. The thick skin. I can completely understand that. I have had some mean crits, which I dismiss, because there is no sense in that. I always have good things to say in a critique. I expect others to do that, also.

    It has taught me that ours is a solitary job. So that networking with other authors is so very important. To keep our sanity and talk with others who understand the isolation we feel.

    Great post Rachna. I loved reading your seven choices. *hugs*

  3. Neat lessons! You can probably add one: "Writing has taught me to pay more attention to life's little details." If you don't notice and internally catalogue those details, you'll have a hard time adding that third dimension of scenic believability to your prose.

    Great post!

  4. Terri...to accept and not give up is a part of the writing journey. We have to be our strongest supporters, before others can support us.

    Robyn, though I have been fortunate not to have mean critics, I dislike people who over criticize. It's quite discouraging, and something I avoid. It's in these situations that a thick skin comes in quite handy.

    Hi Mohamed.... writing has made me more observant, I look for inspiration everywhere,I notice quirks and traits in people and my memory jots it down for future use. I agree that its these details that add a third dimension of scenic believability to our prose.

  5. A superb list, Rachna!
    I especially agree with the time one. I used to think I had not time to do anything. Now I realize I have to make the time. I hardly watch TV anymore. I'd rather write and read blogs!

  6. We learn so much from writing, don't we? Your list made me think about what I've learned so far, and what goals I have for the future.

    Thanks for coming by my blog, commenting, and becoming a follower. It is so nice to meet you!

    Have a wonderful day,

  7. Lydia, I too have restricted, actually practically given up on watching TV, as I have to visit the blogs I follow. But, I really don't mind, or miss TV anymore.

    Karen...pleased to meet you, and I look forward to connecting with you.

  8. Writing has taught me to pay attention to details, yes.

    Life has taught me to value them. It is that value we write about. You cannot place those details in your work without understanding the meaning and worth they have within the context of a human life.

    Sorry, I got metaphysical for a minute. I'm back now. LOL

  9. This is a great list Rachna! I really agree with #4 and #5, and I'm still learning as I go :)

  10. Hi Victoria, I have noticed that after I took up writing seriously I have become an observer of people and life. Wherever I go I watch people keenly.

    WritingNut....we never really stop learning.The writing life is a great teacher.

  11. Love your list, Rachna! I hadn't ever really narrowed down all that I've learned, but I think your list really summarizes it well!