I read How to Write a Better Weblog couple of days back. It made me think about something else altogether. I wanted to study Creative Writing for some time now – I don’t know what that means, I think I have seen some movies (“My Girl” has some scenes) and got some idea into my head.

In my school days, for some months I had this crazy idea of writing a story and submitting it to a newspaper or magazine. I think I wanted to do it because they offered some money for it and I thought I could use some cash. So I used to think about stories and even wrote some horrible ones. The biggest problem is, I wound the story in loops, jumped back and forth in sequences (something like Pulp Fiction and other Quentin Tarantino films – with all sequences broken up, but mine was incomprehensible to anybody other than me) and tangled myself in all kind of loops. I start telling a story, go into something else, come back, say something more, introduce some other character, then go back to other – it was pure mess. I had taken part in some story writing competitions. I think I wrote something like that and got a third prize in school once. It was funny experience, though – you will be given some fixed time, all contestants will be in same room. At the beginning everybody will be looking at ceiling for a long time, searching for stories. Then time will be running out, so we will start writing something, tear some paper, write something else. I don’t how the evaluator made sense out of my stories – it will require some analytical skills to understand those. So I didn’t manage to write any decent ones, didn’t send anything to newspaper (I did some research and found whom to send etc, I even thought that I will send to some famous writers and they will give me comments, just like in movies – you must have got it by now – I do a lot of day dreaming), got disgusted at myself and stopped everything.

So once in a while, I will think about this Creative Writing course which will set me right. Sometime back I started stalking books on Writing – like John Grisham’s “On Writing” etc. Didn’t read any till now, but.

Let me jump on to another incident (Digression – that may be the mark of amateur. But I got a boost when Holden Caulfield said he liked that better in “Catcher in the Rye”). I have this friend who is a little cranky at times (but he is one of those I would like to be friends for life). He called me recently and played “Pehla Nasha” in keyboard. I asked “Good one – which is that cassette?” So he made me choose any song so he can prove that he is playing it. Later I went over to his place and he was passionately demonstrating his keyboard skills. He is really good, to tell you the truth. So he was saying this – that we should not start learning this directly from a teacher, you will never learn enough to play confidently for a long time, a teacher will take you through all standard steps, exercises etc and by the time you get around to real stuff you will lose the interest. So learn by yourself some and then go and get the formal training if you want. I think this is very true in many cases.

I am living example of this – I studied Guitar for two years. I should say I wasted it. Maybe it is because I didn’t have the talent. If I had, I could have picked up something. But just by practice, a decent level of proficiency can be achieved.
In programming also, they used to say the same thing. Don’t go by a book “.. in 21 days”. You will be wasting your time. I learned Java the other way. I didn’t have any training, was put into a project which was about to get completed in 2 months, did design, coding and everything and learned on the fly. If you don’t know how something is done – look in some book or ask somebody. Quality may not be good this way, but you learn a lot. Later do formal training to fill in the gaps – you can appreciate it better.

I just made up a theory from this – if you got a glimpse of the forest at least once, it will be easy for you in the woods. So, I want to improve my writing – just to give me more satisfaction in the output (one sure thing is – writing even crap is a pleasurable experience), but not with a course on writing. Let me experiment for some time and see where it goes.

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