Don’t Prompt Me, Let Me Remember My Lines

As a child, I was a walking-talking telephone directory. Even at the age of 7, I could memorize nearly every phone number my mother dialed, and the phone numbers of my classmates, without even trying too hard. This was true till I was seventeen, when my dad, like every other dad that played dad to my generation, made the very grave mistake of buying me a cellphone. Now I have a hard time memorizing my own phone number. Or I must say, I am too lazy to.

Last year, for the first time I had signed up for the April A to Z Challenge, at the end of which I felt drained of all and any creative abilities I may have had. I wrote a post about this as well.

It was after the April challenge that I began to write “micro-poetry” on Twitter. I wrote those cos I did not have anything substantial to put up on my blog, but at the same time I did not wanna stop writing. Writing is a craft, and like any other, needs to be constantly whetted. And when you can write multiple four-line poems each day (and get appreciated for them too), your blog lies there collecting dust.

When I started this blog, I sneered a little at those who blogged for contests. I felt they were sellouts who blogged carrot-and-stick style, and were thus missing the point of blogging. Until I became one of them. I blogged not for the prizes announced, but because I could cook something out of their prompts. As a result, I did not find a problem with bending the rules, and writing paranormal stories where romances were requested. Or writing fiction where real life anecdotes were requested.

Maybe I was still fooling myself, but the truth was, I was writing for contests and I can’t be a hypocrite about it. And much like the phone-book on my cellphone, I found it easier to depend on platter-served writing prompts than coming up with themes and tales on my own. It was fine till it started weighing hard on my conscience. I might be exaggerating, but I felt like someone who compromised their integrity. I felt like someone who had become lazy, who favored micropoetry over full length forms, who waited for a third person or a Twitter handle to tell her, “Why don’t you write about elephants landing on the moon and throwing rocks to Mars today?” Someone’s idea. Someone’s brainwave. And here I sit writing about it on a blog I call my own. Am I so lazy?

So while I may have my occasional bouts of laziness and rub my hands when I see a writing prompt, let me hope those are far and few and the major chunk of posts come from my own mind.

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4 thoughts on “Don’t Prompt Me, Let Me Remember My Lines

  1. Keirthana February 14, 2015 / 6:09 AM

    I totally get you Sreesha! I have for long refused to write for contests or prompts but redefined my perspective recently. I am still coming to terms with what I think but so far I have taken and written about those which I could connect to. Those prompts which sparked an idea in me the instant I read them. I know it is still not my brainchild originally and I am trying to think about how that works.

    For example, blogadda was calling me time and again to write about the Tata Bolt contest but I know zilch about cars and am not interested in cars or car driving in the foreseeable future. I told them straight away that I couldn't connect to the prompt and hence won't be writing on it even if they give me an assured chance of winning a car.

    I guess it is all about how we feel about writing for ourselves and writing for others. Doing product reviews for things which we don't use but just calling them all hunky dory is something I can never do. Good introspection here and thanks for making me think more about it too.

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  2. Sreesha Divakaran February 17, 2015 / 5:07 PM

    Yeah, I am assuming the blogadda guys understood that I write only for topics that I connect with. They used to call me too, about the shaving activity and all. Why would I participate in a shaving activity for the heck of it, especially when I like a bit of stubble on dudes 😛 After a few refusals, they haven't been calling me.
    As for product reviews, I don't even think I have the technical know-how to write one. I guess it will take a little bit of time for me to bounce back cos right now my imagination seems to be asleep on a full tummy! Till then, compromise a bit 😦 🙂

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  3. CM March 4, 2016 / 8:54 PM

    Hey , your #AtoZChallenge prompt leapt right out of the page and I went through a couple of your posts and came back to this one and gave it another read.
    But first the back story. I would be attempting the challenge for the first time and I for one don’t think [ and I may be entirely wrong about this one] that every challenge/ contest has its TG . That’s target group for those who haven’t wasted two years of their life learning about things they already know , at a B School.
    Specifically talking about AtoZ I feel its for people who write off and on but are yet to take their writing to the next level and be a blogger. Its a platform for newbees to find their voice , commit to blogging [ the whole sharing the love deal] ..
    Before this one starts to sound like a plugged comment , I like your approach to writing . I can see you are confident and secure about what you have to say and don’t need stamps of approval.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sreesha Diva March 7, 2016 / 5:22 PM

      I attempted A to Z just that one time (2014) and all the energy expended made me feel my creative juices have dried up! I just couldn’t write for a while after A-Z. A part of me wanted to attempt again this year (last year I was strictly hanging on to “No, not this time”), but I still don’t wanna do things like a theme reveal or anything. I can’t write within confines, it doesn’t seem to work for me. Which is what will happen if I use a theme. I am still on the fence with it this year – should I do it for the fun of it, or just let it go…

      Liked by 1 person

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