Here’s something I penned a couple of months back. I am trying to fill some empty space here… part of my New Year Resolutions!
MISSION: CRE8TIV WRITING
“OOH! That word! I just KNOW what it means! It’s… uh… ”
— 10 minutes later —
–15 minutes later -–
“ What’s the perfect word to bring out the FEEL of this situation? …uh…”
— Clock still ticks on —
Does this happen to you often? Are you striving hard, scratching your head, to find THAT perfect word? Have you perfected your style of shooting rejected and crumbled write-ups to the nearest waste bin? This is a classic case of Writer’s Block. This little piece is all about how to write creatively and not offend the public. This is about how to totally utilize your cerebral ooze. This piece isn’t, well, the ultimate answer to Writer’s Block (and baldness), but it will surely let you know that you are not alone.
Unlike most others, the art – allow me call it so – of creative writing cannot be classified into schools of thoughts and ideologies. There are no hard and fast rules about letting your hair down and writing your heart out on paper. But it is always a good idea to keep your readers in mind – for all you know they might not be reading you anymore. And that, my friend, is Hell.
Biggies often find people asking them how they write, what inspires them, and so on. The fellow in question would stroke his beard (that would be a little weird if it were a ‘she’) and plunge into a monologue of what really makes him/her to write ‘such things’. One of the most sincere answers was given by Richard Bach, in his book, “Illusions”. Bach tells us about an urge to put the idea down on paper. Until then, it would haunt him – literally. Then, when he gives in to the ‘urge’, he feels as though it is an alien force that is making him think the way that he thinks, write the way that he writes…
The previous paragraph is one of the biggest mistakes you could commit, while writing. It sounds like a homily and the church would be more appropriate for that. You would agree with me on that account. Your write-up should be short, crisp and snappy. It should be terse. It should grab the (poor) reader by the collar and shake him up!
What was I trying to say two paragraphs ago, anyways? Ah-ha! Another problem! Don’t lose focus! Do anything to retain the core idea! If you are writing about hippies, sport dreadlocks! Look outlandish! Stop bathing! Get arrested! Do anything to keep your focus on the subject!
Like I was saying… yet another problem crops up… and then you wonder why your write-ups are rejected! Notice all the excitement in the previous paragraph. What’s the hullabaloo all about? Chill. We often mistake creative writing to be just jazzy, snazzy writing. It need not be so. Simple neat sentences, properly punctuated with decent periods. Jumpy exclamation marks and high-flying apostrophes are not mandatory to be ‘creative’. In fact, a mellowed, subdued sentence would be more effective to get your message across, in a suave and subtle manner.
Now, there’s another pointer for jazzing up your piece. Personification of inanimate objects wasn’t just about impressing your high-school teacher. This is a powerful language tool that adds that dab of colour, that touch of humour, that final finesse, to your write-up. Otherwise, who would have appreciated a ‘decent period’ and a ‘jumpy exclamation mark’? Creating word pictures is an ideal way to capture the attention of your reader – irrespective of the age group you are focusing on.
Word pictures, metaphors, personification, oxymorons, puns and quibbles… Let your imagination run wild! Like a wild stallion… But stop before you succumb to your urge to invent outrageous words! Coining words is fine, most would say. A clever mincing and mixing of already existing words almost always gives rise to new words that could explain the exact FEEL of a situation. However, it is always a good idea to not go overboard with this technique. (Look how I am sitting safely on the fence and commenting!)
Whatever it is, don’t forget those spellings! Ok… so maybe you are not really contesting for the National Spelling Bee Contest. But spellings are just as crucial as that wild imagination of yours. Most of the time, this predicament is solved thanks to spell checkers. But there are some things you would have to take care of, all by yourself. For instance, the ‘Loose versus Lose’ scenario. And no – the past tense of ‘read’ isn’t ‘red’ how much ever creative you get.
Long time ago, when scholars were sitting around twiddling their thumbs, without much to do, they got together and framed a whole lot of rules that would ensure that our lives are made tougher… Naa… I don’t really think so. Honour English grammar rules. It will make your life easier. Trust me. Oh! The joys of tenses and plurals, and not to mention those tricky gerunds and adverbs…
And then again, as you can clearly see throughout this write-up, I have shamelessly broken all the rules I had listed. All for a good purpose of course. (Does that remind you of Robin Hood?) That’s yet another facet of writing creatively – create your style and smear it all over your write-up. Thinking fresh is important. Be original and forget your thinking cap – because you have used it once before.
With all this said, I assure you, every person who attempts to write will face those ‘blocks’ you have often experienced. It would be nice if you could dismiss it as ‘just one of those days’, and resume writing after a short break. See you break ke baad! Happy Writing!