Account Login

Blog Archives

Read yourself as a stranger

Remember your reading voice, how you sound when you read your own work aloud (assuming that you read aloud as a test of your tone, meter and rhythm)? Well, that is your comfort zone, the place where you create and revise with a degree of tension, agony and exhilaration. You know when you are there. You can feel it, a certain quickening of the pulse and shallowness of breaths that keeps you at your desk. And it is a place where you forget time so that if you check a clock you are surprised by how fast the last hour passed by.

Now do the opposite of that comfortable rigour (not rigor mortis). Read yourself as a stranger. You do not know any of the above. Negate it as a deliberate act. This means you put the poem or prose into a strange font (goodbye Times New Roman and the tyranny of comfort thereof), take your name off it (welcome nameless selves) and read it as if someone else wrote it. The act of reading numerous personas as a stranger opens a critical space in you which allows you to be ruthless with the piece of life before your eyes in ways that provenance of authorship prevents you from doing by making you protective of the work.

Find out more

Finding the right line

Write for three minutes without stopping, without thinking – beginning with the words ‘The moment I realised…’. Don’t…

Find out more

Working out the line breaks of a poem

Below is a poem from my second collection, Gunga Jumna (Sky Earth). It’s about imagining going back to…

Find out more

Style, voice and sentence

For writers sentences are both the object of their craft and the tools they use to do their…

Find out more

Write without punctuation

When you’re working on a poem, try taking out punctuation, and see what you’re left with. Another approach…

Find out more

Archive

This website uses cookies to give you the best experience. Agree by clicking the 'Accept' button.