Hello, everyone! Today is just about my own journey with writing. So where do I start?
I feel I have to start with reading. I’ve loved reading from when I can remember learning to read!! I started with Enid Blyton as most of my generation must have done. I was fascinated by the worlds she created for her characters as much as the characters themselves. I devoured books and most of my birthday gifts would be books. I was that annoying kid who would read all the English “Reader” textbooks before school even started because I loved to read stories.
This passion with reading slowly translated into writing and I remember contributing to School magazines and the like. I was a voracious reader as a child and I was a member of as many as 3-4 libraries. At a time. I would fall asleep with a book in my hand and on Sundays, every morning would be best enjoyed by reading in bed!!
So that was the beginning of my love affair with the written word. I can’t think of anything I enjoyed more than reading. I could read anything from Amar Chitra Katha and Chandamama to the newspaper and autobiographies. Words were my best friend for as long as I can remember. They still are.
My sojourn in writing was triggered by a friend of mine. We were both bound by our love for reading and writing was a new area of common interest. It was in 2012 that I decided to venture into the field of blogging and so did my friend. My blog, called Ripples and Reflections was just a place to jot down thoughts. I would write on whatever came to my mind, but I had a decent readership. Though it was mainly friends and family. But there came a day when a patient of mine asked me hesitantly, “Mam are you Aruna Menon of Ripples and Reflections?” That gave me a real kick!
My blog was on WordPress, a platform which gave Daily Prompts and I found that I enjoyed not only writing but also reading the various interpretations of the prompt from different writers all over the world. I also made online writer friends and we would interact on our blogsites. I won a few awards that the Blogger community bestows on new entrants and that encouraged me greatly to continue. I proudly displayed them on my Blog site!
I was and am a doctor and being a Gynecologist made it difficult to devote time to writing. Throw in 2 growing children and active social life as the wife of a senior serving Army Officer and it seemed next to impossible to find the time. But find it I did! The Daily Prompts made me adhere to a schedule of writing daily and it gave me a huge sense of satisfaction.
It was a few years more before I discovered online writing platforms which allowed one to participate as a writer/contributor. A blog readership was one thing, but to be published on other platforms gave me a sense of self-worth and confidence. It was a sense of validation that articles penned by me were found worth publishing by an independent entity which had so many writers writing for them. My first foray in this direction was on Women’s Web. I have enjoyed my journey with them as I evolved as a writer. It also culminated in an award at the Annual Orange Flower Awards, for writing on women at work. It’s an award I proudly display in my drawing room.
Fitting writing into a life already cluttered by a demanding job and day to day living is not easy, but if it is a passion, I know one can do it. I do it because I love it and it gives me so much joy besides being an outlet for expression. I’ve not yet thought about writing as a means of livelihood or any commercial angle to it. So far it has remained my hobby and a well-loved one, at that.
I have won several online competitions organized by various platforms and I am grateful to each one of them for the recognition and spurring me and inspiring me to write more.
I write intuitively. As I think. I never use pen and paper. For me, it has always been a keyboard and screen. I enjoy writing verse. I will not call it poetry because poems need to be lyrical and being able to be set to melody, to my mind. I have not reached there yet. But I love writing in rhymes, mostly couplets. I like and enjoy writing prose, but I LOVE writing verse. I write as words come into my mind and though I have emphasized editing and allowing it to percolate only last week, I have to confess that a lot of my work finds its way into submission within minutes of my writing it. Mostly, because I write for various platforms online which have deadlines and invariably, I tend to submit stories racing against those deadlines. But when I do edit them as I should, I find the final product more satisfying; and dare I say, better in content, format and structure.
Having said that, one thing I find vital is that I write the first draft at one go. That is the best way to have your thoughts in one place with the flow of thoughts intact. Subsequently, I edit it as many times as I can or want. That’s not always possible and I have written articles and stories over a few days. But I find the transitions jumpy and not as smooth as I would like them to be. So, while I edit my writing, I try to get my first draft in one go. I rarely use a dictionary or other online tools to help while writing. I do not use new words until I am perfectly comfortable with its usage, so my writing usually lacks big sounding or very unusual words.
I have found immense solace in words. They sometimes bring a closure, sometimes work as catharsis, sometimes just pure entertainment and many times friends and likeminded ones at that. I am ever thankful for the presence of words in my world.
The dream of every writer is to publish a book. I nurture it too and I hope someday, soon; I will get there.
I would love to hear from you in the comments below about your own writing journey and also a suggestion about what we should discuss next week. I would so enjoy that as feedback.
That’s it for today, Folks. See you next Wednesday.
Ever grateful to Penmancy for giving me this honour. Signing off with a thought on what words mean to me.
“Words best express
Words – Best Friends
Of the friendless”
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