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.

8 thoughts on “Thou shalt keep learning

  1. You are absolutely right when you say that each and every thing in life teaches how to write. When you love something desperately, you learn about it from every thing๐Ÿ˜€

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  2. True, i agree. Its very close to how photography as an art form works, that even though one has to keep writing or photographing but it will be the depth of your intensity and the broadness of the vision that you carry along, start carrying you to that one point where you want that expression to reach.

    E-courses are good, but many a times i find them distracting too.

    Thanks for sharing
    Nara x

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    1. That’s an excellent point Narayan – expansion of vision. Yes letting different experiences inform that vision makes it far richer.

      And e-courses can be distracting but I love the format since it takes away the pressure of examination for me ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. You know there are two schools of thought on this Suchita. One says that not doing a writing course helps you remain authentic and natural in your writing. The other says a writing course will give the much needed finesse. I do know one thing that a writing course makes you critical of your work for sure. That of the others too. Hehe! Btw, most of the famed writers DIDN’T do a writing course. It’s more popular now with the huge numbers of writers popping up everyday. I for one am not a fan of writing courses. But having said that I will also add that I’m guilty of pursuing one. I do agree with you that a more kaleidoscopic view of the world is far better an approach for a writer.

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    1. I have seen the curriculum of CW courses and mostly they teach you how to write with all those 7-point structures, etc. which I find a bit limiting and daunting. But you have made an excellent point. Being able to evaluate your work critically is an essential tool for a writer.

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