Monday, 11 July 2011

Learning Curve

I'm putting up Tuesday's post early because I will be in London all day tomorrow. Also: thank you for all the lovely replies to my post last week - all the congratulations and support are so appreciated!

I had this idea, when I was fifteen or sixteen, that at some point (imminently) I would soon learn and know everything. Most of these thoughts were centred on writing. I thought I'd learn everything by the time I was sixteen and it would be smooth sailing from there.


The thing is, you never stop learning. Not just as a writer, but generally. So here are a few things I've learned lately. Some were learned the hard way.

Forcing yourself to 'just get down to it' does work. An essay you've been putting off for weeks, vacuuming the bedroom, editing your book again - well, let's just say there are a lot of things we'd all like to put off or forget about or just not do at all. In fact, some days those things might hurt your brain so much you don't ever think you can do them. 

But here's a secret: if you force yourself - literally force yourself - to just get started, you might be amazed by how quickly you end up getting stuff done. Or how quickly buried ideas start flowing to the fore. Getting started's the hard part.

Never go anywhere without wet wipes. You never know when you might a) be sick in public, b) have a pigeon poo on you, c) spill Coke down your top or d) who-knows-what-else.

Nothing's as bad as it seems. Honestly. If you stop to think about it, there's always something to laugh at.

No matter what happens, Robert Pattinson will get the girl. When all else seems uncertain and rocky and the earth itself is coming apart at the edges, there is always this cast-iron fact to fall back upon. Like the sun rising in the east, Robert Pattinson will end up with the girl. He might or might not perish tragically afterward, but fact is, he'll get her first. Often beating out the likes of Daniel Radcliffe (seriously, Cho Chang? Cedric over Harry? What a travesty.) and Christoph Waltz in the process.

It can be done. Unless you're playing the very last Rainbow level of Racing Penguin, rest assured that nothing is impossible anymore. You can fly across the world. You can change gender. You can publish a book. You can - with considerable effort and much hilarious contorting - touch your nose with the tip of your tongue. 

I'm pretty sure there's even someone out there who can lick their elbow. So there you go. Whatever you dream of, it's not impossible.

What have you learned lately?


  1. Sangu, what a brilliant post! It's taken me 44 years to realise that "getting down to it" is way better than procrastinating and dithering. x

  2. Great Sangu! I've learned I can revise a novel AND finish it AND actually feel confident that it's done.

  3. Number 1 - EXACTLY! Just sitting down in 80 per cent of the battle.

    Have fun tomorrow... and good luck. Wish we could meet up, but I'm scrambling! :(

  4. Well, I didn't know about the wet naps, but starting is most of the battle.

  5. Haha, couldn't agree more about the Wet Wipes. Also, I'm catching up on your posts. CONGRATS on all of the incredible things happening in your life! You must be thrilled!!! I can't wait to buy your book here in the US and brag to my friends, haha.

  6. Yes - I know someone who can lick their elbow! It is not impossible.

    I am a shocking procrastinator. Everytime I actually get down to the thing I've been putting off for ages, I am stunned at how easy it is. But I never learn!

  7. Loved this post! :) Very encouraging, and I love that we never stop learning. The worst thing for a writer, I think, is stagnation. But when we're learning, we're improving! :)

  8. Other people may be able to lick their elbows but I can’t and the older and stiffer I get the less likely I will ever be able to but then again why would anyone want to? The same goes for writers. We are all built differently. There are those who rise at five every morning and don’t take a break until they have 2000 words in the bag and bully for them. The worst thing we can do is compare ourselves to others because inevitably we’ll make the assumptions that we’re doing it wrong. If what we’re doing works then it is not wrong for us. Being able to lick my elbow won’t make me happy. You might say, “How do you know unless you try it?” I know, believe me. And I’m not sure that rising at five every morning and writing 2000 words would necessarily make me happy either because I might just do that and read about this guy who sleeps all day and then writes all night and gets 5000 words done.

  9. Great post! I love the tip about bringing wet wipes everywhere. So important!