On Notebooks, Words & Language

“We never sit anything out. We are cups, quietly and constantly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” This short quote by Ray Bradbury captures my process of writing so perfectly.

“We never sit anything out. We are cups, quietly and constantly being filled. The trick is knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” - Ray Bradbury

This short quote captures my process of writing so perfectly. I find that the words flow most freely when I let my heart spill the thoughts, the stories on to a paper without holding back. Being afraid that the words you pen would be read, would be judged binds them. Shackles them within one’s heart. I believe they get trampled there.

This issue features thoughts from some brilliant minds on what makes writing natural. Be it in a notebook to be relished privately. Or be it published to be critiqued openly.


On Keeping a Notebook

In this short essay from the 1968 anthology Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion describes why she writes in her notebook. It provides a nice insight into what compels and inspires us to record our lives, in notebooks or even online in public in today’s hyper-connected world.

“It is a good idea, then, to keep in touch, and I suppose that keeping in touch is what notebooks are all about. And we are all on our own when it comes to keeping those lines open to ourselves: your notebook will never help me, nor mine you.”

Kurt Vonnegut's Greatest Writing Advice

Kurt Vonnegut was very open to share his thoughts on writing – and very generous in providing his advice on how to and especially how not to write. I shared one of his original lectures on The Shapes of Stories in the second issue. However, it is always welcome to revisit the abundance of advice that he has left behind as part of his multiple public appearances.

“I don’t praise plots as accurate representations of life, but as ways to keep readers reading. When I used to teach creative writing, I would tell the students to make their characters want something right away—even if it’s only a glass of water. Characters paralyzed by the meaninglessness of modern life still have to drink water from time to time.”

Reflections on Writing by Henry Miller

I always find it fascinating to read about what keeps writers motivated to write. What makes them come back to their desks every day and pour all their thoughts and stories out on to a paper. Continuing the theme of the second issue, here’s another brilliant essay from Henry Miller (and its insightful interpretation by brainpickings) where he dwells on how creating literature can affect a writer’s life.

“I do not believe in words, no matter if strung together by the most skillful man: I believe in language, which is something beyond words, something which words give only an adequate illusion of. Words do not exist separately, except in the minds of scholars, etymologists, philologists, etc. Words divorced from language are dead things, and yield no secrets.”

Very few writers can blend multiple genres while writing fiction. For Jennifer, it seems to come naturally. The moment I read Jennifer detail the plot for her latest fiction in tweet-length, I was instantly engaged. It managed to weave the genres of history and science fiction so effortlessly that I had to get reading. She has a natural ability to keep the reader enthralled by her writing. You can also read some fine short stories on her website.


Nothing works better for the focus than some ambient noise in the background (this is backed by research). For writers, there is no ambient noise better than that of a café hustle (this must be backed by some research too). Coffitivity lessens the pain in those times when you are stuck at home by providing some of the best natural ambient café sounds. So, wherever you physically are, you can write away amidst the right “noise” that works for you.


One Final Inspiration


Postscript

Have any recommendations or feedback for me? I’d love to hear from you. Just hit reply, or you can even email me.

Thank you for reading and sharing.

-Amit

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