Tag Archives: reading

Happy Poetry Month!

Today’s officially the first day of (National) Poetry Month 🙂 Wish everyone a happy month of poetry reading, writing, and celebration!

The April PAD Challenge

For the past two years, I’ve been trying my hand at the PAD (Poem-A-Day) Challenge conducted over at Mr. Brewer’s blog, Poetic Asides.

It’s a lot of fun! But it’s not easy to write a poem every day; we can run out of ideas fast, and sometimes, at the end of a long day, we just don’t feel up to it.

I’m going to do my best, over here, too. I’ll put up prompts more often. Hope that helps everyone stay fuelled with ideas!

If you’re trying the challenge, don’t take it too seriously (especially if you higher priorities and you don’t do this for a living) or too lightly (otherwise we’d never get anything done!). Give it your all. If you miss a beat, and couldn’t help it, it’s all right. Just stay motivated and write on! 🙂

Suggestions

Here are a few things that always help me out when I want to do some regular, intense poeming!

– I go all over the place looking for poems. I randomly select poetry collections from the library and borrow them. I surf the net for hours, reading whatever’s out there. The more you read, the more you have to write about! Apart from Poetic Asides, Poets.org and Poets Online are also great communities. I also thoroughly enjoy Mr. Grove’s posts over at How Not to Write – they’re thought-provocative, so I usually leave wanting to write something right away.

– I have a separate notebook for poetry-writing. (I think most writers who write different genres probably do this.) Helps separate my poetry from my regular journal entries, short stories or ideas. I carry this book with me everywhere. It’s usually hard-bound or at least has a hard back cover, so I can write comfortably on any surface (often my lap).

Image– I have a place to jot down prompts. This is usually either the first few or the last few pages of my poetry-writing notebook. The point is to be able to carry the prompts around everywhere (a note-taking app on a phone would work well, too), along with the notebook, of course 😉

– A lot of people like dictating their “writing”, when they’re on-the-go. A voice-recording tool, like an app on a phone or a device itself, would be ideal. I don’t really do this (mostly because it’s still awkward for me to listen to my own voice) but I often end up thinking of how useful it would be if I did, since I come up with most of my stories’ dialogue by, well…talking to myself.

Finally, the crucial step when it comes to writing anything regularly:

Set a scheduled time for writing. Confession: I’m actually terrible at this, but I do my best! When I’m not able to stick to the same timing every day, I try writing for that much time whenever I’m clear for it. It’s a great way to stay regular.

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Today’s prompt (sorry I made you wait!)

I wouldn’t sign off on the first day without offering a prompt! But since it is the first day, and all, how about…

beginning

You could take that in any spirit. It could be a “new” beginning, a fresh start. It could be the beginning of something after the end of something else. It could even be the beginning of something’s end. Perhaps about a place where something important began, or begins, maybe begins every so often. Let the prompt take you where it will!

A great poetry month, to all! Happy writing! 🙂

Friday Reflections: Why We Must Read

The days have been long — life’s kept me offline for a couple of weeks, but I’m back for this Friday’s post!

Today, I want to share my experience as a reader – which is most vital to me as a writer.

“We read to know that we are not alone.”
― William Nicholson

A awful lot has been said about the importance of reading. Read, read, read. Everyone advises us to read. To devour books.

“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”
― William Styron

Books bring different people and their worlds close to us. All at once, the world becomes smaller and our vision, wider.

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Why I read

I hated reading books when I was younger. Books were forced on me in Reading/Literature classes in school and I was always lazy about reading them, reviewing them, whatnot. We learnt about Plot and Setting and POVs.

And I was bored.

I had other preferences: fiddling around with different software on the home PC.

But everything changed when I was eleven, and I had a splendid teacher who taught me that books could have so much meaning and could reach out to our feelings, connect with us. And this epiphany happened during a literature class, and one particular book changed everything for me.

“We read to know that we are not alone.”

I began to read.

Began searching for those compelling characters – characters who pulled me into their stories so completely that I would lose myself in someone else’s thoughts, words, emotions…someone else’s world.

I saw so much more in my own world after reading just one book. Every book I read became another life lived, or a portion of another life.

“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies, said Jojen. The man who never reads lives only one.”
― George R.R. Martin

My fascination did not stop there.

“Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.”
-William Faulkner

I wanted to be able to do what those great writers did. Touch the souls of hundreds of readers. Share different people and different worlds with everyone else. Be a part of this magic. And then, suddenly, all those classes from school – about Plot and Setting and POVs – became so precious to me.

Because I read…

Because I read, I know.

Because I read, I know the power of words.

Because I read, I know that even just one book can change a life – for, one book, which I read as an eleven-year-old, has already changed mine completely.

Because I read, I can live more than just one life.

Writers must read

When you read, you slowly imbibe the craft of writing. Often, this happens without the reader even realizing it. You learn about sentence structure, the construction of plot, characterization, symbolism. You learn to express yourself clearly.

And also…

Mr. King has already explained in very simple words:

“You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing, when it has not been done to you.”
-Stephen King

You learn, by having your own soul swept away by someone else’s words, how to do the same.

What about You?

Everyone has their own experience with reading. They start for different reasons, at different stages in life.

For me, reading had such an impact that I’ve taken Literature in college, and spend a majority of my time reading & writing. Some people enjoy reviewing books, either on blogs or in a newspaper column. For some, reading is their favorite pastime, giving them respite from real life.

What’s your reason? Think about your favorite genre of books, think about why that’s your favorite? What appeals to you the most? If you write, is that the same genre you write as well?

There is, of course, a lot more that can be said – but I think I’ve said enough for now 😉

Dig deep, write on! 😀