the mutt

Write now – a simple system to get started

Posted in Writing by grx20 on October 10, 2008

It started as a one-off exercise, but has evolved into a habit. A writing routine, that’s worked well for me – it keeps me motivated, improves my observation skills and my writing significantly. Maybe it will work for you as well. It is an exercise in writing, as much as it is an exercise in communication.

It comes from the fact that life happens as much during the big, momentous occasions as it does during the seconds that tick away with predictable monotony. And when I come across one such moment, I tuck it away in my mind (and later in a notebook).

Later, I recollect one such moment – usually it is a snapshot of a person, an expression, a conversation even. And I write about it. Some of these have the potential to be character profiles, some have the germ of a story in them, some have only enough for a single cliff-hanger moment. But they all have an element of human drama.

I challenge myself to capture it as best as I can. To be able to bring alive all that I felt and convey to the reader the scene as vividly as I saw and experienced it. The exercise forces me to find the right words, to look up the thesaurus, to be succinct.

The payoff? Hopefully, as I keep at it, as I practice, the quality of my writing will improve. And hopefully, writing about life and describing it will be just a little less daunting and intimidating.

The idea is to write for the sake of writing. Not to meet a word/page deadline, but just to write for experiencing the joy of writing. 

Lately, I’ve found that it works splendidly like a warm up. And something to write on the days I have nothing to write.

Example: Walking around in my apartment complex – I see a small girl walking away, slowly, dejected, with a badminton racquet hanging limply from her hands. She has no one to play with and the sadness is tangible.

Another one. One night, the train I was in was pulling out the station. In the distance, I see two cane chairs – easy chairs – suspended from the ceiling in a balcony. Lit by a dim fluorescent bulb, they stand out in the darkness – and in the light breeze come together, part, come together, part.

I ask myself, how can I best describe these moments with words?

If you have a similar system or something different, do write in.

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One Response

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  1. Vyshnavi said, on October 10, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    For me, writing in my blog is like a drug – extending and getting a bigger kick out of things that pass by you in a second. It’s about finding stories where you normally won’t see one at all. I completely relate to what you’ve written here. Writing has taught me to value everything so much more!


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