One of the things I have always wanted to do was to take a course on creative writing. When I was looking for a Masters in 2012, I remember being told by my advisor to go through the courses and find 3-4 that excited me. I had obviously clicked on Creative Writing but the thought of spending lakhs of rupees to go to London to study writing instead of something that could give me some ROI made me click on business instead.
But the keeda of wanting to do a course has remained. It’s one of the reasons I keep flirting with the idea of buying a subscription for Masterclass. Although what really prompted that flirtation was seeing Bobbi Brown do a smoky eye look on IG.
And yet, in the ensuing 8 years, I have still not managed to do a single course on writing. Which is ridiculous. Given my penchant for doing random e-courses, I should have done one by now. Until…until I remembered I wanted to study law – go through 5 years of education – simply because I wanted to understand how the legal system in India worked so I could write books like Grisham and Archer.
Sigh. That Suchita was indeed gutsy – stupid – but gutsy.
What I’m trying to say is, and I promise I do have a point, I realized that a writing course was not for me. It would teach me things that I already know. Instead, I learnt about identity and time from reading world literature. I learnt I could do character sketches while learning about how people react to risk in a Strategic Management course. I realized I had no cause to worry if my male characters were being male enough when I understood the difference between gender and sex during a course on Gender and Intersectionality.
It’s one of the reasons I’m currently doing a course on 18th century opera. I have absolutely no idea how that will inform my writing but I did learn something profound: music is about communicating emotions while words (what they call recitative) are used to take the plot forward.
My point, my point judge saab is, learning how to write is not limited to writing courses. You can learn from everything around you – from people, books, movies, theater, courses, art, cleaning, making a bed, cooking – all of it, life in itself, is what can teach you how to write.
I like to call this cross pollination. And it’s one of my favourite Blogging Commandments – thou shalt keep learning.
I think sometimes we forget that writing is not so much about the world building, or the pace, or the the twist, but it’s about humans [unless you’re writing about aliens then sure its about aliens – or dragons for that matter] and how your character journeys from the beginning of the story to the end of the story.
I have found my idea of cross pollination a whole lot more stimulating than doing a writing course because it also helps me to add value and perspectives in what I write.
What about you then? How do you like to learn new things?
PS: if this post makes you think I have written it with the only intention of showing off the kind of e-courses I have done, you will not be wrong. I am a nerd, at the end of the day, and an introvert. E-courses and cross pollination are the only ways I can gain some life experience that gets translated into the stories I write.
PPS: another thing I absolutely love to do is watch Actors on Actors by Variety. They put two actors in a room together and they talk to each other about the craft and what goes into creating an iconic role. What’s not to love. This one between Viggo and Chadwick is one of my favourites – and not just because they discuss being kings. And this one with Melissa and Lupita is also a lovely conversation about women in cinema.