Getting back to writing? Try these Rs

In writing, habit seems to be the much stronger force than either willpower or inspiration. 

– John Steinbeck

Last month I didn’t write anything, not even a single blog post here or on my personal site. Partly because I was very busy on the work front and partly because I slipped off my daily writing routine. I write first thing in the morning before my family wakes up. Of late, lots of late-night work calls and general randomness in life during this whole work-from-home and school-from-home phase have been making it difficult to wake up early. 

But if I look closely, the key reason to not write would be – not sticking to my schedule.

Following a writing-schedule requires self-discipline and that too a lot of it.

I am a creature of habit, I generally follow a routine, at times to the extent of being labeled a boring personality. But then, that’s how I like it :). As a habit, I write every day, and I have been doing it for more than three decades now. Not everything gets shared here, some are for my personal journal and some for my blogs. 

Though despite being a creature of habit, at times slip-offs happen and that’s ok. The important thing is to ponder and figure out how to get back. Every time that I have gone into a writing slumber, I realize the path to get back has more or less been the same. 

• Realization

• Recharge

• Reading

• Routine

• Restart

Background – Unsplash. Design – Kanupriya Sindhu

Realization: Different people have different triggers for realization for their creative pursuits. For me, if I don’t write or paint for a few days, I get restless, with a feeling of something amiss. Creating anything always gives me a high and this realization helps me get back to my routine even amidst a hundred other things.

Recharge: With time, I have also understood that at times a brief pause from any habit is actually good. It gives us the chance to look around, observe, breathe, and recharge. Be it writing or any other habit, recharging our mental energy helps us in ways more than we can imagine. What recharges us depends upon person to person. For me, a long peaceful walk or cooking does the magic, for some, it could be a holiday, yoga, movie, or anything else. 

Reading: Reading is fundamental for me. I grew up in an era where books were the only source of information and entertainment for me. And I am so glad for that, as reading shaped up my personality in many ways. If I think of my interest in writing too, perhaps the root of it goes back to my reading habit. The more I read, the more I felt like writing. Till today, reading acts as a magic pill to recover any writing block for me. Sometimes it gives me ideas on what to write and sometimes it expands my horizon on how to express. As someone rightly said, you learn to write better by reading, you learn to read better by writing.

Routine: Routine helps in writing, always. Be it following a set path or overcoming an unexpected pause, creating a routine has always helped me. Speaking of writing, I have a pre-defined slot in my daily calendar to write and I try to stick to it. I block this slot like office meetings and set reminders, even though not all writing is necessarily for work. To get back to writing after a break, all we need to do is create that routine first.

Restart. Yes, that’s what we need to do. Start from where we left or start afresh, just restart. Day 1 of our schedule is waiting for us, time to get going, like this post after a break of a few weeks :).

These 5 Rs help me get back to my writing habit whenever I have gone off my schedule. And why writing, these have helped me form completely new habits too like meditation that I only started practicing a couple of years ago. More on that later. For now, would love to know what helps you to overcome your creative block? How do you stick to a habit? 

Entrepreneurship lessons revisited during the COVID crisis 

As part of one of my recent projects, last quarter I got a chance to interact with some awesome entrepreneurs from Central Europe. While the discussions were primarily around pivoting during the pandemic, there were many other learnings for me about entrepreneurship and life in general. Sometimes candid conversations give us many more insights than planned discussions.

As Charles Handy said, The best learning happens in real life with real problems and real people, not in classrooms.

Read More

Introducing – Connecting The Dots

My this site has content accumulated for almost 17 years now and has more than 500 posts. That means, on average 2.5 posts per month. At times there have been periods of lull and at times my writing has been on a high. What has kept me going on till now? Passion? My love for writing dates back to as early as when I learned alphabets. Perseverance? I am a creature of habit to the extent of being boring at times but somehow that’s the life I like – of habits and discipline. Or something else? More on it in my next post soon. But if there is one thing that I have understood about writing in the last 3 decades, it is the power of consistency.

Read More

What is branding?

No, I am not going to write yet another post on a topic for which more than 10,000 books &  8,000,000,000+ google search results exist. Even though millions of resources exist but there are only a few that catch your attention and this post is about that :).

I recently shared a personal anecdote on how brand influences action. What I bought was just another drugstore brand but why I bought it, had some correlation between brand and buyer behavior. The why of my buying behavior resonated with fellow professionals in some of the marketing and startup groups that I am a part of. While I received much positive feedback about the post but it also ignited a discussion on what is branding? Not surprisingly, everyone had an opinion, but not a consistent one. These groups have a mix of professionals from marketing, product, design, and entrepreneurship background and all these roles require an understanding of branding, albeit of a different scale. So, it was interesting to listen to different perspectives, especially from designers and marketers. 

Read More

Little things you wish would continue post-COVID too: Lockdown Diaries

Last weekend, we went to a public park nearby after lockdown of more than 75 days, and what a refreshing change it was! To see the greenery, to breathe the fresh air, to feel the wind, it was all so beautiful. Perhaps more so, because we were experiencing it after long.

That’s the thing about humans, we hardly appreciate things whose lack we haven’t experienced. With the infrastructure to reach anywhere across the globe anytime, and with the possibility to even travel to space now, none of us would have ever imagined that there will be days in our lives when stepping out of our home would become a luxury, something worth celebrating and cherishing. 

Such is the power of scarcity, we run after abundance but it’s often the scarcity that makes us appreciate.

Read More

The value of Brand in the time of uncertainty

A couple of weeks back, I was in urgent need of a moisturizer and everything was closed due to lockdown except for essential services. To add to that, I have relocated to a different country recently and I am hardly familiar with my surroundings yet. I went to a shop nearby that had slots allotted to us hoping I will find one of the known brands there. I had a few minutes to browse the store and pick up something before the slot was over. With most of the labels here being in either German or Hungarian, I generally rely on Google translator for help but even that was giving trouble due to flaky connection. I couldn’t spot any familiar product on the shelf. I kept on trying to read different product descriptions with the help of the translator until I spotted this:

Read More

Coping up with the new normal

Yesterday the internet was flooded with pictures of schools reopening in China.

These photos give me hope, hope for tomorrow, hope for normalcy but these pictures also tell me that the normal tomorrow won’t be the same as the normal earlier. 

There is going to be a clear difference in life for many of us.

The product person in me looks at these cute, beautiful hats and says – ingenious! 

Read More

Working, parenting and everything in between – The Lockdown Diaries

That tempting coffee challenge

Those gorgeous dress-up posts

That try a new hobby drive

Those Netflix marathons

That energetic, upbeat feeling

Those read, relax, and rejuvenate slogans

If you’re not able to relate to one or any of these, you’re not alone.

If you’re a parent, working from home, trying to manage your time between work, homeschooling, household chores and keeping your child away from the screen, I hear you. I hear you saying – am I the only one who is not able to be productive?

Am I the only one who is not able to manage it all?

Like you, even I have read those how-to-be-productive-while-wfh posts, registered for multiple webinars and have prepared long to-do lists.

But let me be very honest, I haven’t attended even a single webinar till now, I haven’t counted the pending items on my to-do list but I won’t be surprised if it has reached a count of million, and those productivity tips from hundreds of experts look like written in interstellar language meant for aliens from another planet.

Read More

Communication during the time of crisis

Be helpful, be informative, be transparent – and if you can’t be any of these, then be silent.

That’s what is expected from most of us during this time of crisis, be it brands or individuals.

This post has to be straight without any frill. The last thing that we want to see right now is non-contextual advertisements, automated messages and communication for the sake of communication! Sounds basic, isn’t it? But many aren’t following it still.

My one simple expectation from myself and everyone around me right now –

Be Human, communicate like a human.

Additionally, if possible, let’s try to –

Read More