Tag - writing

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The books of July & August
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A day in the life of an ideal
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Are you my mentor?

The books of July & August

But it is a vicious cycle, this reading and writing. In order to write well, one must read regularly, vigorously, voraciously, widely. Most times, like in the last couple of weeks, I ask myself: how do I combine both when I have daily writing targets and a day job? Where do I find the space to steal a few hours (or in my case, minutes) of reading time to boost my brain power and give fuel to an unfolding plot? Because, more often than not, inspiration lies between the pages of any good read and can take my current plot (and future works) in delicious directions.

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A day in the life of an ideal

My dream: Wake up at 5a:m and perspire to Shaun T’s commands for about half an hour or more. Take a cold, refreshing bath, then pray for the day ahead. A glass of equally iced water (or two) is all I need to work for the next two, three hours. My work space is idyllic, serene, peaceful with the sound of nature blending into it. At 6.20 a:m, only a lone jogger pounds past the shady, running trail. The other human noise comes from the swishing movement of paddles’ contact with water as a couple kayak their way in the calm, flowing river right in front of me. Birds whistling, and occasionally gawking, signal the birth of another new day. And I, at the completely deserted shore, book and pen in hand, poised to write the morning and indeed my raging thoughts away. The gentle brush of breeze against me, a soft persuasion to begin the task I had set for myself. But first, I can’t resist watching the growing splash of golden brown spreading across the horizon, getting increasingly lighter as the sun begin its daily ascent to brighten the world. Then, lost in my craft and the beauty surrounding me, I begin to write. My pen fly across the pages as I hurry to match the pace of my thoughts with that of my fingers. I detour in what I had planned to write as new ideas form in consonance with the old, merging seamlessly, a delightful surprise. Did I just write that? I ask myself, smiling inwardly. Then I continue scribbling. Undisturbed. Uninterrupted. The sun rises and sets. The kayakers return to shore. More joggers pound past the trail. It’s only when my tummy growls do I drop my pen, and look up. I shield my eyes from the now blazing beam high in the sky. The time on my cell phone reads 11.30am and about seven missed calls. Five hours of solidly writing had produced a little more than 12 leaves of content. I had enough to update my blog as well as send off to”more

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Are you my mentor?

Are you my mentor?                 Apparently, Sheryl Sandberg doesn’t like anyone asking that question of someone else. Yes, I’m still on about her book Lean In. Go read it if you haven’t. She encourages her readers to ‘excel and you’ll get a mentor’. As I read that line, I bit my lip knowingly. I plead guilty to asking that question because I once had a mentor more than a decade ago. My first job was at an NGO geared towards encouraging and supporting entrepreneurship amongst youths and adults. To facilitate its numerous programmes – classes, workshops, mentorship, trainings, etc – it recruited volunteers from all works of life in their professional capacities to share their expertise, to teach, to mentor, to consult. And whenever there was a workshop taking place, most staff pitched in to assist the department responsible for organizing it. Often, I’d offer to register participants or write up mini – bios for all the speakers. That day I chose to write. His resume was the second amongst the small sheaf of papers given to me. As I put his qualifications and experiences together, unconsciously my mind wandered a bit. Blame it on the work environment then and all that talk about the importance of a mentor. I knew him vaguely. I knew what he looked like and had formed an impression already. However, it had been his written words on paper that had made me sit up and take notice. (He had helped the organization conduct interviews and some of his thoughts were blunt, abrupt, harsh…). Later on, I walked down the corridor towards a colleague’s office and saw him being interviewed by the press, just before he was billed to speak. My mind wandered again. This time deliberately. By the end of the workshop, I had wrangled out an introduction from a friend of his who was also a colleague of mine (one of the workshop organizers), and he had invited me to dinner with them. I still remember the moment I asked him: ‘Would you be my mentor?’ as”more

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