I recently attended AWWF in Singapore. One of the prominent writers (Shobhaa De) from India was coming to launch her book during the event. My main attraction was to see and hear her. Later I realized many more (prominent) writers from other parts of Asia were also attending it. The pity was that I read about them only after the event. Post-event, my reading list has changed. After witnessing these writers speak, I plan to read their work.
5 key takeaways from the festival.
1. There is no set rule for writing
Each writer is unique and has their own set of style. There are some basic guiding principles but ‘modern’ writing is breaking them away. As long as one has something to say, how she says it, doesn’t matter. The good thing is today we have all sorts of readers who are on look out for cutting-edge work. I also attended the workshop organized by Sabyn Javeri. She mentioned in her session that there is no formula for writing. Majority of us attending her class were not confident about our writing. Everyone thought that the person next to her was better. But the truth is, the words are yours, the thoughts are yours, the ideas are yours then you should have complete freedom to write them down.
2. Writer’s block
Yes, it actually exists! At times, I am staring at the blank paper and words just don’t come out. It is a horrible feeling but then during the workshop, many writers spoke about similar experiences. It was interesting to see writers speaking about their challenges. One of the solutions suggested by the author was ‘Free Writing’. Take a pen and á paper and just write for 5 minutes non-stop. Practice it every day, first thing in the morning. This will help in getting the flow. In case you do suffer from the block, don’t force yourself. Break that chain of thoughts. Look around, go outside, take a walk and shift your paradigm. And probably the thoughts will start flowing again.
3. Women writers have no age
It is never too late to identify ‘a writer’ in you. In the workshop, there were ladies from 16 to 70 years old and they all had written something at some point. For most of the women writers, writing take a back seat when it comes to household work, children or any other home responsibilities. And that’s where discipline come into picture. Sabyn made few volunteers to read their work. They were wonderful. One of the girls was school goer, probably 16 but there was so much in depth in her writing. People loved the lines she wrote in limited time.
4. Writers can be trained
I always thought that the writers are born with something special. Of course, they do have some talent but one can always hone that skill. The myth I had in mind is gone. I firmly believe that with practice, right guidance and inspiration, one can improve their writing skills and become a fine writer. As long as you are honest and are ready to commit to your passion, things are bound to improve. So, yes writers CAN be trained.
5. Writing is a voice
This is a known fact but then I witnessed the magnitude of it by hearing the speeches from various writers. How their writing had impacted many lives! Writing invokes thoughts, feelings and imagination in readers ‘mind. Having that kind of impact on people is amazing. As a human being, there is an underlying desire to be heard. Writers are blessed not only to be heard but inspire millions.
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