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Creating the World Anew, 0-80 WPM

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Lately, whenever I’m writing, I’ve been getting reminded of what the greatest challenge of creative work is: being creative. I’m sure all of us go through these wonderful phases (I’ve got through it several times myself). Even when it isn’t a not-very-productive-writing phase, though, the pressure exists–the pressure of having to write something that hasn’t been written before.

How do you write something ‘original’? After all these centuries, every possible story has probably already been told. Everything we read or watch already has an archetype.

Yet…did no one speak of death before Donne or Keats? Has no one spoken of it after?

Indeed, as Shelley says, perhaps we should focus not on creating something new, but rather anew. Approach the world with a fresh perspective. And…

Focus on how you can tell things your way–for, your collective experiences as a person are unique. This is must be what is translated into your writing voice, and ultimately, your writing.

So, in case you haven’t already been working on it:

  1. Find your unique poetic voice.
  2. Let yourself tell a tale your own way, speak a poem the way only you can.
  3. Create at least one little piece of the universe anew.

Finding your writing voice takes time and regular practice at writing; like playing an instrument. Show up at the desk every day, or at least every other day. Write something, anything. Certainly, you needn’t pump every sentence with excessive you-ness, but you can try to defamiliarize objects and scenes, work on fresh phrases and metaphors, rework clichés to suit your style. It’s laborious, perhaps, but what worthwhile endeavour isn’t? Hone your powers as a writer:

“The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar, and familiar things new.”
Samuel Johnson

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The best thing…

The best thing is to go into my study in the morning and put words together.
-Robert Harris

I couldn’t agree with these words more.

It’s been a long time since I wrote poetry first thing in the morning, fresh out of bed – but when I did it today, it felt wonderful. I’m a morning person – most productive before 1 p.m. Since I have the day off (it’s Deepavaliand since it’s a festival, I got to wake up earlier than I would on the average day, and had some free time before preparations.

I poemed right away, hair dishevelled and glasses barely on straight. Fellow writers, I have to say: it makes me wonder why I don’t do this every morning! If at least for the sake of the November PAD challenge, I’m going to try making the morning hours my regular writing time.

A couple of prompts

  • fire juxtaposed with rain
  • light juxtaposed with darkness

I used the second for today’s poem (which is in keeping with my November PAD chapbook theme!), but the first prompt came into my mind when I saw a sudden burst of rain (it hardly lasted ten minutes) earlier. Put that next to the endless music of firecrackers, you get an interesting picture (thinking of it now actually reminded me of this Hindi song – one of my favorite compositions sung by one of my favorite singers). You’d think rain would damper everyone’s spirits, but it almost always rains this time of year, so the folks are used to it. They just wait it out and start lighting fireworks again.

Deepavali is the “festival of lights” – hence the second prompt.

In my poem’s case, it was the moonlight against the darkness of the night. Gotta love ’em archetypal symbols.

Good luck for the rest of November, folks! Happy writing 🙂