Sunday, October 18, 2020

Icy Again

Posted by at 1:36 PM
              Image Credits: psychology today


Icy now, this mood

we wait it out, slow it down really, and think about things

what is the artsy, creative mind?
 
a tendency to do everything

a sense of doing nothing

nothing at all


mostly, 

a rush to finish it, ship it out, rapid-publish without a second thought

"icy hue is nice to me"

but too much of grey doesn't sit well, too

this constant back-n-forth of ideas

of states of mind

of decision-making

you toughen up only to become unconcerned about the world
you soften a bit only to get defeated, swiftly

this constant self-reminder of keeping a balance
whether or not you know it

the busy, artsy minds around us
can't anchor to the learnings always

'cause anchoring while in action must be a superpower
it has to be a superpower, we are sure

in the process of doing something, you either focus on the doings or on the feelings, hah!


no scope to overthink is needed
simple, clear thinking helps

but we do know that clarity in our thoughts can make us hyper-aware

so then we dim it down a bit

a bit, a little bit more until 

it is
 
icy again.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

My Writer's Block in 2020

Posted by at 9:28 PM

Endeared Reader,

Writing is hard. It's harder to find the right plot points, especially as you get older and as your blog starts ageing with you. An idea that seemed fascinating 5 years ago, might not seem exciting at all, in the present day. 

I have so many unfinished story drafts. The blog has 36 published stories (excluding the 'One Post Each Day' ones) and almost an equal number of unfinished drafts. Total published posts count across categories stands at 102.

What I want to transition into, however, is to make my stories more layered than before, my characters defined more clearly than ever. I want my stories to be stronger and sometimes, more sophisticated. As they say, the best way to improve as a writer is to be a good reader first.

My efforts over the past two years have been focused in the direction of being a better reader. I take a lot of time to research and figure out which book to buy, which new author's style to invest in, and what kind of plots I should be curious about. Sometimes, it's a great success; other times it's a sorry slip.

My paperback stock is overflowing now (I need a massive wall unit to keep my books - some of the older titles are beginning to get spotty and brown-paged). My Kindle library is also getting bulkier.

I do contemplate donating some of my books. But then I get reminded of those 10 titles that I had brought with me to my B-School back in April 2017, and how they disappeared on the very first day. I think they were stolen or I misplaced them while relocating. I still get flustered when I think of them as all of these titles were pretty well-curated reads and some of them were thoughtful gifts from my friends who have seen me grow as a writer over the years. Sure enough, I quickly reject the idea of donating my books.

 Also, I am not that old yet, that I go about donating my books!

Anyway, this quest to find the best of the plots has led me to some amazing books over the past few years. I am sharing some of these, the ones that I ended up finishing:

Fiction

  1. Wonder
  2. A Man Called Ove
  3. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine
  4. The Legacy of Nothing
  5. Life over Two Beers and Other Stories
  6. Flowers for Algernon
  7. Dark Matter

Non-Fiction

I was determined that 2020 will be the year when I become a prolific blogger again, which in my terms means writing at least two posts a month. Since I did a lot of music work in 2019 and I still feel very drained due to that, I decided not to work much on music this year.


However, in a post-COVID world, where stepping out is not an easy option, and looking inwards can be a delicate proposition, I am running out of ideas. I do have the motivation to write, don't get me wrong. But, when it comes to conceiving plots, revisiting and changing them, figuring out the scope (wow, I have become very managerial over the past two years haha), or chalking out the characters, I am simply not convinced.


Then there's this other problem: I don't know anymore, how I should target my readers when I share a new post - but I guess that's a technical problem which I can solve using some standard digital marketing practices.


It's not that in 2020 so far, I haven't done any writing at all. I have written a seven-part series on Product Management interview preparation, in which I have documented my experiences and learnings from over 35 PM interviews that I faced since 2019-end. This journey of appearing for interviews has been very challenging but rewarding, and I was told by many of my great friends to put my thoughts down into structured and articulated posts, something that could benefit many others who are trying to crack these interviews.


The feedback I received has been eye-opening and constructive. One of my posts has been featured on a popular Product Management forum as well, and I have a pending invitation for a feature on another. 

Here's a link to all the parts of the series: https://dynalist.io/d/a8IgwyLSkCUUmpVERd1I4kRg. If this field interests you, do read and tell me what you think!


All in all, this reinstated the faith in me that, writing non-fiction is easier (sorry, non-fiction writers but I think this is candidly very true). You have to gather your observations of the real world and write down your interpretations around them, and sometimes simply document whatever you are learning, what you want to do, etc. The entire corporate world depends on non-fiction writings. That said, any form of writing is difficult - it requires focus, honesty, and sometimes, courage. So write while you can, whenever you can.


Writer's block in 2020 is unparalleled! Looking for prompts and inspirations, seeking collaborative efforts, looking for a co-author - all these don't work amidst an uncertain play of restrictions.


Creative writing requires perspective and 'mental refreshments', and these are things that I constantly derive from the outside world. The ambiguity of the outside world, the newness down the same old streets, works wonders for generating fresh ideas. If you want honesty in your ideas, you need the old-fashioned methods - you need to travel, to meet people, have moments of awkwardness and triumphs, etc.


I feel that I am seeing how genres are constantly getting gamed - So many new books have synopses that seem just rushed and rehashed. The cover designs are more deceptive than ever, now that design has become democratized. Besides, it looks like it is easy to get recommendations from famous names (I hope I am wrong on this one).


People can churn out plots by simply: a) breaking down the traits of a genre, b) adding the same old characters that fit fine with those traits, c) adding popular or messed-up tropes and d) finishing it out without much sense of responsibility. I can't follow the same 'framework'. If you ask me why I won't have a detailed response.


It just doesn't seem right.


So very soon (hopefully!), I will be able to come up with something original once again, that helps you, my dear reader, get into a fulfilling journey as you read my work. When you finish reading it, I hope you'll see immediately, what makes this blog unique and worthy of the time and views that it has garnered over the past nine years.


That said, if you have ideas and want me to take a look, you can always reach me at contactsoumyam@gmail.com. I am also very open to collaborate or be a part of co-authoring projects (I can spare at least 2-3 hours a week on these).


Until then, stay safe and stylish!

-Soum


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