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If done right, editing can take your content from drab to fab

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“It’s time to go to war with yourself.” — David Goggins

If writing is therapy, editing is war. It’s a war against your preconceived brainchildren. Editing and writing, although woven from the same fabric, are different sides of a coin. Perfectly yin and yang.

Great writing is an outcome of deliberately working on three areas:

  • The present by anchoring a fixed purpose through writing.
  • The past by giving up on old notions through relentless editing.
  • The future by adopting new ideas, beliefs, and aspirations.

The first one comes easy. What we often forget is that a new level of performance can only be achieved by unlearning the old and then learning anew. …

Why I avoid reading writing advice, even if it’s from Hemingway or Tolstoy?

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When I first started my writing journey, I believed there was a secret sauce to succeed or go viral. I looked for writing advice in every nook and cranny.

Some writers suggested that I should burn the night oil and embrace the tranquility of the night — only then can I be a true writer. Others claimed that the best ideas came early in the morning, during cold showers.

Then there were writers who said, “Write every day.” While others advised prioritizing quality over quantity.

From my advice-seeking endeavors, I learned only one thing:

Every piece of writing advice contradicts another because what works for one writer may not work for the other. …

Learn to pitch your ideas the right way to make your readers stay

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Believe it or not, even some of the greatest writers struggle with introductions. As simple as they may seem, most writers often blank out and run out of ideas while writing them.

I solemnly believe that introductions are strange — they’re Catch-22. You give out too much in your intro and your readers don’t feel the need to read anything that follows. You give out too less and the readers are compelled to leave.

So where exactly is the sweet spot?

Create curiosity by asking a compelling question

A comfort film no one’s talking about.

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Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.

I have a terrible habit. Before watching a movie, I check its average Rotten Tomatoes score. If its score falls anywhere below 60%, then the movie is unwatchable for me. I hate judging a book by its cover and I hate judging movies based on critics' opinions. But I can’t help it; it’s a habit.

There are certain movies, however, which remind me of simpler times. Times when I cared little about movie ratings or those so-called “cinematic events.” I watched anything and everything that appealed to me. Nothing else mattered.

‘The Secret Life of Walter Mitty’ is one of those movies. …

Advice is neither good nor bad; it’s only personal.

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I was jet-lagged out of my mind and my body was trembling. Still, I was unwilling to hit the sack. Because as Robert Frost would say “I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

But more than promises to keep, I had answers to seek. Answers to how I could rush my way to the top and rank among the best of the best writers.

Let me rewind a little…

It all started when a whole year of writing was behind me. And despite my high hopes and big dreams, I made little to no progress. So I decided to go on a journey — not an ordinary one. One that transcended all worldly borders and defied one’s perception of space and time. …

May the Lovecraftian Gods bless you with cosmic doom.

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It was a pleasant Sunday afternoon. My phone buzzed like a bee, while my mind flooded with some sweet-sweet dopamine. I looked down and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing, I had struck gold — the notification light had turned green.

One of the “holy grail” publications had finally accepted my work.

And then came Monday, I struck gold again. My chest puffed up, my head high in heaven. “I am the next Hemmingway,” I proudly announced. Little did I know, I was about to get denounced.

The third time’s a charm, they say. And so, I believed them. I hit submit, waiting for the light to turn green again. Skipping red and yellow, when it did turn green. Oh, I felt so mellow; like Charlie winning the golden ticket to Wonka’s factory. …

If done right, resolutions can work wonders

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All the resolution-thrashing that has been going on lately is starting to bother me. Every time I refresh my feed (on any social media), I see a new post about the absurdity of resolutions. And as much as I understand where these sentiments of hate come from, I can never accord to them.

The reason being that I have one cogent reason to list down resolutions per year, every year.

I see resolutions as an opportunity to build momentum

The problem with resolutions is that we often set them expecting a sudden bout of change. …

A reminder for when you’re struggling to write.

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It wasn’t until March of 2019, that I started taking writing seriously. Before that, it was always a battle between the convoluted ideas in my head and the blank piece of canvas that rested before my eyes — like an abyss.

The more I stared at it, the more it looked back at me with its harrowing emptiness. And just when I would loaf my fingers on the keyboard below, the abyss would remind me that I’m nothing more than my ideas.

And then I landed my first writing gig.

Writing then, was not an outcome of a surge of motivation, but a priority. I had deadlines to meet and urgent stories to tell. So when the abyss stared at me with its ghastly demeanor, I realized that it was nothing but a reflection of me — all the work I had put in. …

And how to change them.

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We are creatures of habit. As much as we love to perceive ourselves as free-willed beings, we are mere puppets to every little habit that we pick up.

Bad habits loosen or break the strings that bond us to the puppet master, while the good ones make these bonds stronger. Loose or broken strings make us wayward ragdolls. Whereas, the strongly bound strings cause seamless movements, giving us a sense of control over our lives.

The puppet analogy above might seem like a bit of an exaggeration. But it’s true. …

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I live in the town of Knahellnic,
With food and ale aplenty;
Mellow River flows beside my dwelling;
Beside my window, I rest my bedding;
Oh, the river, it keeps foretelling,
Tales of old that make me dizzy.
Little do I know,
From insomnia, I suffer so,
Ugh, the river! So icky.

Rain! It rains like cats and dogs,
And the wind blows away my candles,
And it damps the walls,
And slams the panels;
Smashes away the wall clock,
Bloody puddles begin to flock,
Dripping down from the narrow ceiling,
Birds outside, terrified and screaming,
I wake up in shock. …

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