Spoilt for Choice, and Ideas


Writing About Writing Apr 16, 2020
We can travel so far, As our eyes can see.
We go where no one goes, we slow for no one.
– Where No One Goes, John Powell
(from the title How To Train Your Dragon 2)

I don’t mind explaining the essence of these lines, but I’ll save that for the end.

The Bridge is a place where things have to keep happening. We’re an online magazine and with that comes the responsibility of generating content. Generating by itself makes our job sound slightly monotonous, but as I spoke about in my earlier article, it’s hard to refute the statement, considering how not everything we do is going to go down well with our audience. Another aspect that can be carried over from that article is simply the sheer effort that goes into choosing what I, and by extension, each of us at The Bridge want to write about.

Funny story, I bought a couple of notebooks when I joined The Bridge to actually write my articles by hand before they went into a computer. Lovely idea, isn’t it? Any traditional writer would love the concept. Yet, they’re still sitting in my cupboard, not gathering any ideas but just dust. Not to mention the fact that I write on a whim, so choosing one among tons of ideas is an even harder task, given the instantaneous nature of my thought process.

That said, where do these ideas come from?

It happened to me, once upon a time
Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable.

It is true that as an author, one needs to decide if something is worth sharing, and this is imperative. However, we are first and foremost, human by nature. There might be something about an event that occurred to the author that he or she may want to share irrespective of its very nature, because it helps process their feelings about the situation, and I for one believe that someone amongst the wide spectrum of audience will be able to relate with them. There is no reason to run out of ideas because there’s always something worth pondering.

A life of successes or failures is mentionable. Relationships may be mentionable, subject to consent (failing which, well, may prove to be consequential). Your thoughts about what’s going on in the world, as I will elaborate further on later in this article and your thoughts about anything remotely entertaining, for anyone at all, are all mentionable.

The first thing that we at The Bridge do when this comes up in a conversation is to probably turn on the sound recorder function on our phones. It’s not necessarily a subtle way to put it, but part of what we do today with the People of PSG series is based on this. But bringing a story to you is more about the story itself, than just the publicity.

I just wish a lot more people would talk more about this issue

A lot of what I want to write usually involves larger landscapes and a thorough discussion of a socially sensitive topic that may have a political background to it, particularly ones that may have troubled me as a former conservative moving into a more liberal worldview. Even now, a lot of what I talk about with some of my closest friends in this regard, I do not know if I can convert into a piece that can be shared with the rest of you.

This stems from the fact that I have a lot of strong opinions when there is political background to the issue, but at the crux of it all, I always seem to wish that more people were talking about such things.

I believe that strong opinions fit with my vision of honest writing, and if some subset of my audience does not appreciate what I have to say, then, it is neither the end of the world, nor the end of the road for me. Although I feel a little odd about wanting to publish something of such kind, I know I’ll feel good about it eventually because I know that it might help someone else along the way.

When a discussion gives rise to something truly extraordinary

We at The Bridge do get comments and feedback about what we publish; Sometimes, there are comments that make us immediately sit up and take notice, ones that stick with us and I sometimes think, “Hey, that would make a great story”. And it does.

Right now, there’s a story percolating, one that I do not wish to talk about yet, but one that never would’ve occurred to me otherwise, neither in my life, nor as something that I’d have written about–perhaps because all reasons that went against such a notion were obvious to me. It took an interesting conversation, a really bored friend and an incredible lie that stemmed from it to actually come up with the basis of this story that we are now co-authoring.

It’s clear that some ideas deserve more than just a mention, they deserve their very own piece.

A great idea isn’t all that you really need

Sometimes, writers tend to wait and get too hung up on making sure that they’ve constructed the perfect framework for a story before they actually begin working on it at all. This probably arises from their belief that the right story will practically write itself, but that isn’t always true.

One’s idea is more than just a container for their words. If you’re anything like most writers are, you’ll notice that you are unlikely to even know exactly what you’re going to say; you’re likely to find out about it as you write.

The subject of your work will also help in dictating where to start and where to stop. It’s not likely to guarantee a great story, nor will it ensure satisfied readers. As one begins to write more, he or she is likely to get a better feel for what their readers typically enjoy, along with what they really like to write, much like myself, if I may say so.

All things considered, I know for a fact that there will be stories or articles that will spring a surprise on me by doing better or worse than I’d otherwise expect. But one thing is for certain, you’ve got to be able to live with the words you write, and also hold on to your own voice, no matter the consequences.

Everyone’s going to enjoy writing the most when the words just flow

A lot of writers may talk about flow, writing in the zone, and finding their muse. All said and done, it’s essentially the same thing. We just like it best when the words come easily and the act of writing it down feels natural.

But I truly believe that a dedicated writer cannot always write in the zone. We’re bound to lose our groove from time to time. Sometimes, you’ve got to do more, you’ve got to simply back the idea. The problem is that if I were to wait until I’m inspired, I won’t write consistently and I’m certain to lose the momentum that I would’ve worked immensely hard to gain.

Sometimes, you’ve got to power through, regardless of how you’re feeling, because even on the worst day, I’m certain that we can all find an idea that at the very least meshes with our mindset at that particular moment.

Allow me to tell you now that those initial lines were the simple basis for whatever I said. They may not really mean much, but I truly believe that as writers, we think unto the very edge of our limits, far beyond what anyone else tries to see and make sense of, the same pair of lines. It truly takes a mind that can wrap itself around anything. I’m certain that my articles or stories are far from flawless, but are told honestly. I write what I believe or what I have learned—not what necessarily sounds good, and not what everybody else wants to hear. That way, I don’t have to worry about consistency, even though I have to consider all the factors that I’ve spoken about throughout this read, in an attempt to ensure that what I write about has a tinge of “me” to it, while trying to stick to its primary objective of pleasing you, the reader.

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