Enjoy Your Writing

Writers often speak of Writer’s Block and allied obstacles to the entire process of writing. May be you aren’t able to make time for writing, may be you are not satisfied with your output, or may be you are not motivated to write as you once were. I decided to share my thoughts and those of others to budding and seasoned writers alike.

Sadly we are in the midst of the gloom of the Covid 19 Pandemic which is hitting us so badly all over the world. What can we do to write and make ourselves -and hopefully others around us who read our work- more happy?

I keep harping on the need for writers to never stop reading! You can read whatever interests you but do read. In the process, you pick up many tips, consciously or otherwise on what successful writers do in presenting their stories. There is so much to read out there that techniques of speed reading also help us in this world of information overkill. This article in Buffer.com tells you how to read more to write better.

If, like me, you enjoy reading short stories and would like to try writing one, please check out this article by Jerry Jenkins on How To Write A Short Story That Captivates Your Reader. I particularly liked the description of how Ernest Hemingway accepted the challenge to write a story in less than 10 words! He wrote: ” For sale: baby shoes. Never worn.“. How impactful and gut wrenching! But then Hemingway was a genius, wasn’t he?

Kurt Vonnegut has shared his tips to write a great short story. My favourite in his list: “Every sentence must do one of two things–reveal character or advance the action”. If it does neither, don’t use it. As simple as that!

For a more technical and comprehensive approach, do read: “Short Story Writing For Beginners: A Guide” by Writer and Freelancer, N A Turner. This is a good article which details the different elements involved in writing a short story. It highlights that writing is not only about sitting someplace and waiting for That Great Story Idea to hit you!

To conclude, listen to what one of my favourite writers, Stephen King said : “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut… If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.”

I hope this blog post kindles the interest in writing in you, or in some cases, re-kindles that dormant interest. Happy writing, and of course before that- happy reading!!

Thank you, Mr Mohanraj!

The Old Lawrencians Association, the alumni outfit of The Lawrence School, Lovedale has initiated an interesting virtual event called the OL Assembly. I have written about this in my blog post of November 20, 2020 mainly because ” Glimpses Of A Glorious Past: An Informal History of The Lawrence School, Lovedale” – which I edited- will feature every month, at least for the next few months.

There were many interesting features in the December event but one that was very important for me was the interaction with Mr V M Mohanraj. He used to be the Librarian at Lovedale when we studied there. VMM served there for 40 years, in the process becoming as permanent a fixture in the Lovedale environment as the thousands of old books in his library. I didn’t know till recently that both of us began our association with Lovedale in the same year – 1959. I joined the Prep School as a young boy in Std 3 and he joined as the Librarian.

We had a fabulous collection of books in the Library. I am sure if many of us Lawrencians are avid readers it was because we were gently encouraged to read more by Mr Mohanraj. He instilled in us a love for books and reading which has stood the test of time. To quote Mr Mohanraj, a Librarian goes beyond being a manager of libraries. He is a guide, mentor, educator and facilitator. This is from his book, ” Mulitifacted Librarian” published in 1988. I was happy to see he has written and translated a number of books as you will see from Amazon India.

I am sure he will be pleased to know that a number of us from Lovedale have over time written and published books on a variety of subjects. Indeed, it is a happy co-incidence that I completed 10 years as a writer in November 2020. My debut novel, a psychological thriller called, ” It Can’t Be You”, was published in 2010. I am glad to see is still available in Amazon. My second thriller, ” Lucky For Some 13″ -published in 2012 -to maintain the balance- is available in Flipkart!

From an early age we were voracious readers, devouring books as fast as we could get them! This influenced us, I have no doubt, to want to write some day! I am happy that – even if it was virtually- we got a chance to interact with Mr Mohanraj, who is now in his 90s.

I think I speak for many Old Lawrencians – across the decades- who caught the reading bug early when I say, ” Thank you, Mr Mohanraj!