Tuesday, October 11, 2011

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 and not just how to create better plots and characters, but also about life.  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 probable 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/crit partner 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? Definitely not. Do we know whether we will ever be able to make a decent living from our writing profession? Certainly not. Each cheque is a pleasant surprise.

  1. Writing has made me an observer of life. Nowadays, I soak in everything; from the surrounding to people’s facial expressions to body language to how people speak and react. All this heavy duty observation is to bring authenticity to my writing.

  1. Writing has also made me appreciate the value of other writers in my life in the form of blog buddies/writing friends/crit partners and brainstorming buddies. I know how precious a writer’s time is, but every writer in this awesome blogging community has gone out of their way to help each other.   

  1. Writing has also taught me to appreciate my readers: both for the stories and features I write for the newspapers and my books. It’s the readers’ appreciation that keeps me going.

 What has your writing journey taught you? Please share with us, we all would love to know.


  1. What a wonderful post, Rachna. I just loved reading it. My writing has taught me to appreciate the hard work another writer puts in to bring a story to life. Have a lovely week!

  2. and here you are with another wonderful post...:)

  3. Rachna, it is an enlightening mail as you have taken so much of effort to explain the different facets of writing.

  4. Writing does teach us many things, doesn't it? I think we are building character as we go! Have a good week!

  5. Mam.....as always wonderful post....well i am just the starter so i am really not sure what my writng has been teaching but all i have learnt in this short Spain of time is that...its gives me happiness and it has been my perfect friend...who listen to me without word.....thanks mam..

  6. Writing is a form of me expressing myself to the world. I live the super awesome lifestyle through my MC that in my dreams I wish I could live. Not that I'm not content with what I have now. But its fun to live your fantasies through your characters. Now I'm off to save the world!

  7. You really said most all of it:) It's taught me that it isn't easy, it takes hard work,and that I must pace myself and always push harder.

  8. I haven't been at the writing game as long as you have Rachna. So far I have learned that if you put in the effort, you will be rewarded.

    But I think the most important piece that I have learned was knowing when to let go and move on to the next project. Every book, every poem, everything you write can always use another pair of eyes. Another day, week, month of editing and polish. But at some point, you have to let it go, or a year goes by, then two, five and even ten for some people before they publish.

  9. @ Meera...writing does teach appreciation in a big way.

    @ Sogyel...thanks.

    @ Rahul...thanks for your encouraging words.

    @ Karen..yes, we are building really strong character along the way.

    @ Bunu...writing can indeed be a great friend, we can just immerse ourselves in it, without it asking us questions.

    @ Stephen...I like the idea that you live your fantasies through your writing. You are a super hero writer :)

    @ Terri...yes its really hard work and every day we push ourselves a little more.

    @ SBJones...I agree with you about our tendency to hold on to what we have written. At some point we do have to let it go on to its publishing journey.

  10. Another wonderful post. After I started blogging i have learnt how it feels when you have the real urge to write and also I have learnt to value the importance or readers who are the main force of motivation that keep one going. Thanks for sharing your experiences ma'am :)

  11. I thoroughly enjoyed your post, Rachna. One of the biggest things I've learned through my writing is the same as one that you listed: patience! I may have learned patience more through my writing than just about anything else.

    Something else I learned is that writing puts me in a creative flow and when I'm in that flow on a regular basis everything else in my life seems to flow also. That flow is very life-giving and energizing and try to never resist it.

    Thanks again for your wonderful post.

    Resources For Writers

  12. Yep those are some great lessons. Writing has also taught me how to listen to my inner voice more. :-)

  13. A long, but thoughtful and true list:) I like the split personalities part myself:)

  14. Yes, yes, and yes many times over. The free time one really struck a chord with me--I'm always trying to get more and appreciating what I have. :)

  15. You are so on the money with these. Well said. I'd say writing has taught me to see and hear things that aren't there. To the point where I have questioned my sanity at times. I've finally come to the realization that this is simply my overactive imagination coming up with potential conflicts. Some so terrifying I shy away. I need to learn to dive into those. Some thoughts make me cry and some make me ache for what I don't have. If I can remember these moments, I should never have another case of writers block in my lifetime! LOL

  16. I can relate with Number 8 the most, how writing makes you an observer of life. For me, it's so much more than an observer, it's also the other senses in that I strive to bring scents and tastes and sounds and tactile stimulations into my writing. One more extrapolation to becoming an observer; in so many ways, you also become a feeler of life, retaining and reliving the emotions of experience so you can bring those, too, to your writing.

  17. These are all so true. I was just thinking about number 3 the other night. Even if I don't enjoy a book, writing has taught me that every author puts a lot of effort into a story.

  18. YES, all of the above! I can especially appreciate how much hard work and effort goes into a book... no matter how simple it may seem... writing a novel is no easy feat.

  19. What a beautiful and very accurate post my dear friend :)
    You novel is a beautiful piece of your soul, let it shine, and never doubt your talent... You have oodles of it btw ;)
    xx Tee

  20. This is wonderful. Writing makes us better people :)

  21. WOW!!! what a lovely post Rachna!!!. How could I miss reading it??. I love all the points!!!Cheers