Write What You Know: Don’t Kill The Magic

In The Carrie Diaries,The_Carrie_Diaries.jpg Carrie Bradshaw (of Sex in The City fame) gets one useful and very important advice ‘Write What You Know’.

You do not need to make things up. You do not have to drag the story from the depth of your brain. You do not need to suffer painfully and pointlessly. You simply need to write what you know, have seen, have experienced, have felt and overcame.

Well, it is always the easiest to give advice, isn’t it? It is completely different story to follow one’s advice. However, I will try. I will do my best or worst. I will try to curb my imagination, my attempts at making up stories with happy or disastrous endings. I will write from my experience and my experience only.

carrie bradshaw

Where do I begin?

Once upon a time I wanted to play piano. No, I did not want to LEARN to play piano. I wanted to play it. I wanted to sit at the instrument, put my fingers on the keys and… let the music flow. I did not want to spend years learning. I could not be bothered memorising the score. I just wanted to play. I thought there was nothing to it. I thought I can do it anytime and anywhere.

Every time I happened to be near a piano, I would sit and play. I can only imagine what sounds I let out. But I did not care. The white and black keys had special magic, magical attraction. They called for me. They mesmerised me. The keys wanted me to touch them and music… Music would simply happen. It will happen just because I wanted it to.

I wanted to play so badly that eventually I gave in and went to Music School. I hated it. I hated it with a passion. I could not believe how slow the music education was. I needed to learn the keys, the scales. I had to learn very simple, childish melodies. I was a very grown up by then, a whole big six years old. I could not wait to play big pieces with both hands.

Eventually I did. I played big pieces. I had recitals and… I gave up. The keys have lost their magic and attraction. I stopped wanting to make music. As I learned how to play music I stopped loving making it. I abandoned the instrument and my magic abilities.

My plaing the instrument is very similar to my writing. Pens, paper and now, the keyboard have special magic and attraction. They are constantly calling for me. I always think that it is simply a matter of sitting down with a pen and paper or at the computer and magic will happen, the words will flow, the story will reveal itself.

How many times I just sat there with my fingers hovering over the keys, hoping, wishing, dreaming, racking my brain and waiting for something amazing to channel through my fingers. Sometimes it does. Sometimes nothing happens. But I am still hoping.

To take the music parallel further, I am learning how to write. I read a lot and different things. I write a lot and different things as well. I attend book launches and literary festivals. I keep up to date with happenings in the literature universe as much as I possibly can.

What I do not do, however, is take lessons. Every time I almost give in and sign up for a workshop or a course, I change my mind. It is either too expensive or too far. I am away or am working. It is always some excuse or other that prevents me from taking the course.

Now that I have written this piece I think I will never do sign up for a course in writing. I would probably go for a workshop or even a retreat when I have something tangible to work on and with. But I will never succumb to structured learning of creative writing process. It will kill the magic. It will make my magic dead.


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