Tag Archives: read

Thou Shall Read. Everyday.

There are a lot many distractions nowadays for everyone. Work, Internet, Playstation, Xbox, or simply the idiot box. Who has the time or patience to read? Right??

But if you put your mind to it, you’d see it’s not that difficult. Here are some pointers to help you:

Gather good reading material: There is no dearth if you just look around. With so many books stores, book stalls (those small road-side vendors have to make a living too and more often than not, you are sure to find a book of your liking instantly!), and yes abundant ebooks. Books are all around us. All we have to do is look. And pick up the ones that interest us.

Always carry a book: You never can say where you can get stranded. And a book becomes a boon at such times. Even while traveling for that matter.


Make a Reading List:
Make a list of all the books you want to read or bestsellers suggested by friends/family. Add to the list when you hear about a good book. And strike out the ones you have read.


Get yourself enrolled in a library:
Libraries might be almost facing neglect. But each city at least one library that hoards volumes of reading material –some which you wouldn’t have even heard of. If you happen to find a small library close to your house, give it a try. The enrollment fee is never too much considering the deals you get in return.

Set aside your reading hour: Create a reading ritual of sorts. Everyday for an hour or so, make sure you read, without interruptions. Preferably a book. Else a magazine or the newspaper. Or if not an hour, break it down into 10-15 minute spans between other activities.
You could also encourage your kids to read with you and discuss things out. Sometime company does matter. Joint reading sessions with friends or family members will help you push yourself that extra bit to read ahead.

Time Management: We all have busy schedules, no doubt, but we also are efficient time managers. Utilize this skill to set your reading schedule. If you can’t think where to squeeze in a book, reduce TV/Internet time and use it for reading. Problem solved!


Reading Space:
If it helps, choose a reading corner for yourself. Certain spaces give you more peace and relaxation. It could be corner in your house or your room, or a park bench, or roof, anywhere. If there is no quiet space around you, go ahead –create one!

 

Join a book club: This is one of the most important points, I feel, that helps you get into the grove of reading. Be it an online or an offline book club, join it. Read the book within the timeline set by the members and indulge in discussions. You will be surprised with the results.


Indulge in discussions: Even if you are not a part of a book club, indulging in a book discussion is an asset. If you have a partner who you can talk to about the book, the plot, the characters, the ideation, the author and the entire gamut, it would add to your fondness for reading. Tyr doing it over mealtime, you might enjoy your food more.

Associated Activities: Attend book launch events and book reading sessions. Interaction with book lovers and authors is known to open up your perspective in different ways.

 

Blog it: If you don’t have anyone to discuss it with, blog about it. Blog it all –your reading list, books you’ve read, write book reviews, or just about anything about books, authors and the like.
Oh, and don’t be surprised on being contacted by other book lovers after that.


Read, write your own stories: What better way to read books that are of personal interest. Or better still, write short stories (to begin with) about things you notice, or things you personally would like to read.

 


But remember:

You can never force yourself or someone to read. Over time if a person starts enjoying the habit of reading, it can turn out to be one of the most wondrous of all activities.
Also, don’t be over enthusiastic when you first begin. Don’t set high goals for yourself, because if not met you would end up hating the activity forever.

Books indeed are the best friends of mankind. They can be most satisfying at times, yes better than chocolate! Reading is undoubtedly one of the most enjoyable of all activities.
Reading not only sharpens your thought process, but also increases your attention span. It broadens your vocabulary, your perspectives and your outlook. It boosts your imagination and creative skills. It brings you closer to people with similar taste. But most importantly, it brings you closer to yourself.

Reading (books) is one inheritance your children will cherish forever.

Read them. Love them. Treasure them.

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Writer’s (un)Block

 

 

So, who all have faced the proverbial random blankness of the mind that blocks all thoughts and imagination even though the hand itches and the pen (or the keyboard in today’s context) twitches to let words flow on the white background?


Ok hands down. I see you all have faced that dead-end at some point.
That my friend is the dreaded “Writer’s Block”.

Imagine reaching a dead-end, after especially a good long run. Look at it this way – going ahead is definitely questionable at that blessed moment; and tracing your steps back would sort of result in a new path- meaning a deviation from the earlier thought route. If it leads to a newer, fresher, and more exciting ideation –wow! Else…uh oh!
Here are few things you might just want to keep in mind, (or get a print out and stick on your soft board around your writing area in case you have a lousy memory).
But before I begin, No, you are not special. Every writer at some point encounters the blessed “writer’s block”. It is a part of the creative process and one thing you should do is NEVER EVER back down at that point.
So don’t cry “Why me Lord! Why me!?”
It’s not that you can’t write – it’s just that you are running out of ideas/plots/notions/thoughts/concepts/theories/opinions/inspirations/brain wave…etc.
Wise men say that a smart way to by-pass the encounter with the dreaded “writer’s block” is to actually draft an outline of your work. It makes sense. At any point if you feel stuck, or blocked, you can go back to the outline and work around it so as to not lose focus and direction. You really won’t have to look around for inspiration or dread the demons of randomness. All you would have to do is refer to the outline you chalked initially and smirk in the face of adversity!
Anyways, coming back to the pointers:
•    Go easy on yourself: Come what may, do not force yourself to write. Just close your eyes and go blank. Literally. Try it.
•    Take a break: Yes, sure go have a kitkat…go for a walk, or ride, or drive, just go – take a break. A change of environment always does good to the brain and the system associated with it.
Creativity cannot breed in closed environments.

You need to experience the noise and the ruckus outdoor. You would be surprised at the scenes you witness that would lead you to ideate new perspectives for your story.

The point is: you have to step away from the computer. Even if it is for a pee break. Spend some more time staring at yourself in the mirror. You might just stumble… upon something new, I mean.

•    Music: Believe it or not, vocal or instrumental sounds possessing a degree of melody, harmony, or rhythm have proven worthy of leading to new ideas and fancies that might have lay hidden under a pile of dormant notions. Don’t ya’ll like rappin’ fellas!
•    Surf, Read, Write: If you can’t step away from your desk (the compulsive freak that you are), stay put and harness the power of the internet. The bottomless information pit. Surf different sites, indulge in conversation or discussions, read different blogs or write about your day. This will in a way, get you back into the grove and restore consistency.
•    Click some more: Leave the mouse and pick up the camera for a change. Photography is great way of letting your creative juices flow. It adds variety to your imaginatoin. Plus, if you are good with the pictures, you might just have something more to add to your photo-blog, if not your resume!
•    Overcome that sensation of nothingness by doing something out of the box. Something you haven’t done earlier. Maybe something like cooking. Or boiling water. Or playing with your neighbor’s dog, cat, mouse, camel, cow, parrot, crow, baby. Anything.

•    Doodle: yes, you read that right. Try doodling. Random words, phrases, sentences. Re-read them and re-arrange them and lo! You will surely find your way out of the block.
But at no cost should you let frustration creep in. The slightest hint of doubting yourself or hesitation in proceeding with your words is a signal that you need to take a break, lest you let the woes overpower you. The pressures you face are much worse than plotting the mysteries and the miseries for your characters.

All said and done, worry not my countrymen. This menace of writer’s block shall be broken. Words will flow freely like before. Confidence will be restored. The mission has to be accomplished.

Sometimes all you need to do is hold in some patience. There is always a path around the block, waiting to be explored!

(Phew!)
And now that I’ve let it all out, I need to head back to my story writing.

Happy Reading!

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Keep Reading

A man is known by the company he keeps. And a book is any day good company. It reveals more about your character. It reflects your tastes, your desires, your perspectives, and a bit of the real you.

Books have a deeper impact on your mind and heart. They become a characteristic trait.
Research shows that most of the successful people, read. And read books that broaden their perspective and their knowledge and their thought process. They have more information; learn from other people’s experience; and are better at evaluating and making decisions.
We all know that reading is to mind what exercise is to body. In today’s age of technological and psychological advancement, our minds do need to open up more. And a book is said to communicate with us on deeper levels than any human being can. It speaks to our mind and to our heart. Directly.
A book can make you visit lands that you’ve seen before; peep into the depths of history; learn from the greatest minds; ponder over issues that you never paid heed to before; and bring about thoughts that would address real problems and shape the world around you. The levels of connect could be different, but the purpose is simple. To make you better.

You may be a funny man, and reading the works of Allen Smith, Douglas Adams, etc. help you hone your skills and acquire higher levels of humor. Of late, Kartik Iyengar’s Horn Ok Please has been creating waves. And amongst the experienced ones, Abhijit Bhaduri’s works are highly recommended.

If you possess “creative imagination” you end up reading more of J.K. Rowling, David Eddings, Neil Gaiman, Roger Zelazny, Terry Pratchett, C.S. Lewis, and our very own Samit Basu etc., and you build your own fantasy world, bringing out improvised characters that have a trait of your personality.

If you possess good communication skills; have a knack to sync practicality and emotional thoughts with the ability to lead, works of Yogesh Chabria, Shiv Khera and Deepak Chopra would interest you more and help you develop interpersonal skills to reach your goal as ‘motivational speaker’.
Yogesh stresses that wealth without peace of mind, fun, and happiness is useless. He says that without Saraswati, goddess of knowledge, Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, is impossible to get.
Deepak Chopra, an Indian public speaker, and writer on Ayurveda, spirituality and mind-body medicine, began his career as an endocrinologist and later shifted his focus to alternative medicine. One of his main messages is that by ridding oneself of negative emotions and developing intuition by listening to signals from the body, health can be improved.
Shiv Khera, an Indian motivational speaker, author of self-help books, business consultant, activist and politician, came out with his first book in 1998. You Can Win introduced his trademark quote, “Winners don’t do different things, they do things differently.” The focus of the book was on achieving success through personal growth and positive attitude.

There are stacks and piles of books of literary value – from classics to literature to poetry to modern day “metro reads”; from sci-fi to chick-lit to recipe books; the options are aplenty and the choices varied.

FromShakespeare to Charles Dickens to William Wordsworth to Chetan Bhagat to Ahmed Faiyaz and the whole new generation of writers who do churn out readable material.
So my point is, read what you really like. Your mind retains things that you like and eventually reflects someway in your personality. It makes you a better person. A learned one too.
There was a time when people worried about reading too much. And today, too little.

In this age where our meals are supersized and books abridged, I wonder where exactly we are headed. Any guesses?

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