This is what I shared at the 1st Bloggers Conference on 30th August 2015.
Writing – A Journey
I love writing...the main reason I got myself into blogging...and today, here I am among a community of bloggers...eager to share my simple thoughts. It feels good. Hope for you too!
I think and believe there’s a writer hidden deep inside of many of us, inside of me too...somewhere... you cannot feel physically, only feel in the heart. So you could say, my writing comes from the heart. What I feel is what I write. Sometimes, it’s what I think that I write...but that also comes through a proper channel – the department of feeling... as we say in the language of the bureaucracy.
I remember I would keep a file of handwritten poems and stories...and read them over and over again. They spoke to me. In other words, I would be engaged in conversations with myself. (Sounds silly, mosh? But, yes, that’s what writing did to me. It kept me engaged. It still does. Like music does to musicians. Sports... Painting... Travelling... Serving the needy... And so on. I’m sure you can think of more.)
I also remember sending some of my written pieces to Kuensel to be published in their literary section. I don’t, however, remember ever talking about my writing side with anyone. It was something that was kind of simmering inside of me. It still is...in many ways. Or, one could say, “It is at its budding stage. Yet to bloom into a flower.” And like for everything else, as some have espoused, “There is a right time for everything.” I believe my right time is somewhere watching me silently...like it is for you, I’m sure. We just have to send out the right energy. The Universal Law of Attraction...as the Secret says. What you think you become, mosh?
When I left government service in 2004, I was starving... I hadn’t written for a long time. I felt strong urges... to engage in deeper conversations with myself. From hand-writing, I moved to keyboard-writing. I opened a file of my writings on my computer. It’s been growing. It’ll grow, I know. And, there’ll be no such thing as the bubble bursting...because in the first place, there’s no bubble. The value of writing is intrinsic...and forever.
So how did I get to blogging? I think it was around 2009. That’s when I discovered there was such a phenomenon. Yes...phenomenon...that’s the word, I’d like to use. Just like how facebooking is a phenomenon – a worldwide experience! We are living in a world of new rapidly emerging phenomena... due to technological advancement, as you are aware. And, it feels good to have access to writing forums free-of-fee-charges. So many of us have so much to talk about...some choose to talk through writing. I am one such person. Blogspot.com gives me a comfortable forum to do that and also to go beyond being all by myself...i.e. connecting with others, which is not possible to the extent we find ourselves connecting and sharing without the need for meeting physically each time we feel the need to connect.
When I discovered BLOG, I said to myself, “Here’s an opportunity for me to write... MORE...to also reach out through writing...move beyond conversing with myself." Thus began my blogging journey. I wrote a lot...as far as I remember. I followed others’ blogs. I had blog following too. There were interactions... and not necessarily with people I had known or met. It didn’t matter. It still doesn’t matter. There was learning as well... of beautiful creative ideas people had in their own individual minds. Unconditioned. Unsuppressed. Undirected. Raw!!! Straight from a combination of the personal and professional selves!
And then some time last year, I felt I needed to start a new blog because a new me had evolved. We all evolve, don’t we? Whatever I wrote in my old blog constitute a treasure for me...that I’ll cherish forever. My past writing isn’t buried, as it might seem; it’s an episode that I can visit whenever I feel like, as our youngsters today do TV serials.
Then, I encountered facebook - another space I’m very fond of. I have been able to connect and interact with all kinds of people, including those with similar interests.....doesn’t matter how far apart physically. I find that this experience further intensifies my writing... and partly because I have met writers who have authored books... also because you know there are people in that space that enjoy your writing or maybe inspired by your writing, as you are by theirs.
Stephen Covey has said, “Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom (power) to choose.” Facebook is a space full of stimuli that can make one react. I choose to be proactive and see opportunities, such as the opportunity for my writing self to grow. It’s a matter of saying, “I can and I will.” You gradually find yourself interacting with people of this nature and your circle of influence grows. The Universal Law does it. Positive attracts positive, as I mentioned earlier.
I think of Einstein’s E=MC2 and it makes sense to me how our writing energy converts into words with magical power...and in turn, into energy that others can feel. The energy is the essence. When your writing is appreciated, you know the energy has touched hearts, you know your writing is working. You are aware that if you keep your energy flowing, your writing can make a difference...in a lasting sense. I am of the opinion that you gradually just know it when you’re ready to take your writing to a different level. That’s when your power can be unleashed.
I think of Thich Nhat Hanh’s “It’s now”... “We are already what we want to become” and they make sense to me...how writing NOW is how in your tomorrow you can be a writer... and how writing is an innate ability that we discover if we are mindful.
I ask myself: “Do I have the capability to write?” And, I find the answer with Stephen Covey. He has talked about Production and Production Capability. Writing (our production capability) is the only way to keep my writing alive and living in words/stories/poems/articles/etc (our production)...doesn’t matter that they’re not published yet. They are our valuable golden eggs. That’s how I look at my writings. They have value. Yours too!
All around us are mirrors (social mirrors), some of which tell us we can’t make it...or that we should write in a particular manner, write only certain stuff. I believe in using my independent will, my inner power, to write from the heart that pulsates...to be heard. Quoting French Philosopher Writer Voltaire: “Writing is the painting of the voice”...
When I was trying to understand how Steve Jobs was able to satiate his thirst for whatever he was doing, I came to realize that it wasn’t money that he gave importance to...or focused on...rather, it was the change he imagined...that we’re experiencing today, as imagined by him. Stephen Covey calls it: Beginning with the end in mind. Bruce Lee said: “Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.”
I constantly tell myself that I will write better...and I find ways of doing so. When I join pages/groups on facebook that share and promote writing, I am actually keeping myself in touch with great writing that I can learn from. I get to practice writing. I get to test the waters – is my writing good enough? Bruce Lee called it “taking on the best to do your best.”
How we pursue our writing journey depends on whether or not we are proactive. I am proactive with finding the means of improving – what Stephen Covey has called “sharpening the saw.” It’s important that our expressions are clear and correctly understood by readers. That requires appropriate and correct use of language. If we don’t have the competence, we can make the effort to unlearn and learn. Be proactive in sharpening your saw!
I also believe in being clear on why we write and focus on the purpose. Again, that alone isn’t enough to me. I need to write effectively. Quoting American novelist Edgar Lawrence D.: “Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader – not the fact that it’s raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.” This is particularly important, I think, when we’re blogging and want our blog posts to be viewed by the public. It’s even more important when we blog our views on societal issues. If I tell myself, “I’m a Bhutanese, so it’s ok that my writing in English is inadequate or not good enough,” then I’m definitely not serious about my writing. I’m keeping no space for improvement because I am full of my Bhutanese SELF. If I separate my Bhutanese self from me, then I’m ready to improve. I make the effort to improve. This is how I understand the Buddhist thought of emptiness.
Writing to me is a journey, and I’m on my journey of writing. I believe I have stories and poems in me that I discover and bring out...and there’s more, I know. You know that of yourselves too, I’m sure.
In Edgar Lawrence’s words: “Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.”
In many ways, I “write to taste life twice – in the moment and in retrospect”...in the words of Anais Nin.
Maya Angelou said: “There’s no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” This is true of me, I cannot bear the agony of untold stories inside me! I’m sure it’s the same with many of you.
I write in my quiet hours and once I decide to share my writing, I make sure I have written it the best I could...taking care to detect errors and eliminate them. And, of course, with practice I find my writing getting better. Excellence matters! It does. As put by Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”
However, in the words of Robert Cornier...“the beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say a brain surgery. You can always do it better, find the exact word, the apt phrase, the leaping simile.”
[It would be too long to include them here, and some are already here in my blog, so I'll post a few as new posts. Thank you!]