Interview: Mukul Deva

Hiya! What have you been up to lately, guys? Me? I’ve been writing postcards. Postcards, you ask? Yes, postcards to all over the world. If you’ll look to the right sidebar, there is a banner to the Postcrossing website. The idea is simple. You’ll get 5 different addresses to snail-mail your postcards to and for every postcard received, you’ll receive one of your own! The addresses can be as far-flung as Iceland or even as near as your own home country if you so choose. What an interesting idea, right? I personally love writing postcards as it allows me to practise squeezing whole paragraphs of what makes Singapore interesting into the small space that the postcard affords. LOL. After a while, you’ll start to realise that there ARE fun things about your country to wax lyrical about. =)

And the replies you get from the people you sent postcards are fun too coz they’ll also share a little of their lives on the other side of the world. XD

The “Liselle” postcards I bought from Lisa Lee seem to be pretty well-received by my Postcrossing recipients~! Hehe…maybe I should start creating my own Rainy Skies postcards myself. XD

Okie, on to today’s awesome guest: Mukul Deva! I first saw him at a APSS meeting in 2011, and I really wanted to chat him up. Unfortunately my natural shyness took over and I didn’t manage to get to know him. As fate would have it, however, Karen Leong not only chatted him up…she also eventually formed a partnership with him! It’s like such a lucky break for me. @_@

Anyways, Karen introduced me to him and we hit it off immediately. You wouldn’t guess it from his authoritarian air, but he is really a witty man of vast knowledge. His no-nonsense stance comes from years of being in the Indian military, which naturally provided the fuel for his bestselling military action books like  “Salim must Die” and “Tanzeem”. Impressive, huh? But then again, I usually interview impressive people. HEHEHE. Alright, enough of my random musings and on to words of wisdom from this man!

Tell us something about yourself that doesn’t appear in your public profile.

Are you sure you have the space…:) because there is a lot. It doesn’t say that I quit school pretty early in life – on realizing that education (not learning) and me were mutually exclusive commodities. It doesn’t say that I’m a die-hard romantic. And lots more juicer stuff which I’m keeping for one of those barely concealed biographies…:)

You are able to write and publish 10 books over the course of your writing career on top of establishing a security company & establishing yourself as a trainer/mentor/coach, how do you manage to find all the time, energy and inspiration to do all these?

It’s pretty simple actually.

Time – doesn’t need to be found. It’s right there – in touching reach – all rhe time. we have to learn to respect it and manage it wisely. Energy is inherent when you find that which inspires you. So all I would say is that we need to dream a dream and have the passion to live it. Everything else happens pretty much on its own.

Would you say that it’s important to live first before writing? Will reading widely suffice as well?

Not really. There are no set rules for any creative process – which is what writing is. Each of us has a unique perspective – we simply need the courage and discipline to share it with others

Where do you get the material for your books?

I guess I have a rather fertile mind – and ‘naughty’ too – which really helps since I write lots of thrillers..:) And of course I am a keen observer – of life and people.

How do you get readers to pay attention to you out of so many other writers of your genre in the world?

I guess I tell my stories well…:)

How will you advise a writer who has been writing for a long time but has yet to find any commercial success?

Keep writing…:) Practice DOES make perfect. And understand that writing is as much a science as an art – there is a process – by following which we enhance quality, quantity and speed. Learn to separate the WHAT and the HOW – that will make your job easier and the book more interesting


Mukul will be making his appearance at the Singapore Writers Festival 2012 in the following events:

  • Multi-Hyphenate Writing Talents | 4 November 2012 | 10:00 am – 11:00 am
  • How to Write a Best-selling Novel and Screenplay By Mukul Deva | 9 November 2012 | 9:30 am – 10:30 am
  • Plenary Session with Mukul Deva, Lynette Owen and Malcolm Neil | 9 November 2012 | 5:00 pm – 5:30 pm


Interview: Dave Chua

Yoyo! How’s your day today? Hope it’s been a fabulous one so far. =) To my American readers (if any), I know yesterday was the anniversary of the 911 tragedy. I know nothing I say will negate the pain and suffering of the ones who went through that awful episode but I have only the best wishes for you guys. Be safe, always.

Okies, today’s awesome guest is going to be Dave Chua! Born in Malaysia, he is the author of Gone Case that also happens to be a graphic novel adaptation collaboration with Koh Hong Teng. Gone Case also won him a Singapore Literature Prize (Commendation), which is like…super awesome if you ask me. His literary works include The Beating and Other Stories, The Divers, and Father’s Gift, which made him the joint winner of the SPH-NAC Golden Point Award for the short story category in 1995.

If you love Dave’s work, then you should go stalk him at the Singapore Writers’ Festival 2012. He, like Jason Erik Lundberg, will appear at a couple of events there. Just don’t be…like…creepy or anything. =x

Tell us about one memorable event that has been most fulfilling for you as a writer.

I would have to say when Koh Hong Teng approached me to do a graphic novel adaptation of Gone Case. It helped to inspire me to take fiction writing seriously again.

You’re a freelance writer who has worked with publications and productions, what made you decide to take a foray into fiction?

I took part in the Golden Point Short Story contest in 1995 and took first prize, which encouraged me to join the Singapore Literature Prize later on.

How has your experience in various media such as sitcoms, films and children’s shows helped you in writing fiction?

I would say that I didn’t have that great an experience writing for television here, where production companies make changes and cuts as they wish. For writing you control the storyline and can do what you want on the page, which is great.

“Gone Case” was adapted into a graphic novel. Why did you decide to collaborate with Koh Hong Teng and what was the process like? 
Hong Teng approached me about adapting the graphic novel, with the key word being adaptation. As he was adapting the story to a visual form, I wanted to give him more freedom, and as long as he kept the framework and the aims of the story, I was fine with it.

You’ve done many things and been to many places, what is the one piece of advice you wished someone had given you when you were still an inexperienced writer?

Read. You can’t be a musician without listening to music, and you can’t be a writer without reading.


Dave will make his appearance at the following Singapore Writers Festival 2012 events so if you love his work, don’t forget to get your tix!

  • The City as a Character | 3 November 2012 | 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
  • The Malaysian in Singaporean Literature | 3 November 2012 | 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm


From fan fiction to best-seller?

Hiya guys!

Would you believe it’s AUGUST already? OMGS. Time passes so quickly when you’re procrastinating. LOL.

Oh and you might have heard the news: Fifty Shades of Grey – a book that was born from an erotic fan fiction of the (gasp!) Twilight universe spun by Stephanie Meyers – had outsold all SEVEN of J. K. Rowling’s HARRY POTTER books on Amazon. E. L. James, the author, had effectively cornered the market on “mummy porn” because it contained various exciting scenes of S&M sex between a drop-dead gorgeous rich guy & a impossibly-naive girl.

Now I’ve personally contributed to the author’s obscene million earnings by buying E. L. James’ “steamy” book on Kobo, but far from being intrigued like the “Porn Mummies”, I stopped reading Book 1 halfway coz it reminded me too much of Bella and Edward.  You might want to read the reviews on this book, if you don’t understand why there is so much fuss over it. I’m not going to bash it here, coz enough of it had been done around the web. My point to bringing this title is to show you that even a fan fiction can turn out to be a hit with your audience. E. L. James originally wrote it as a fan fiction, but due to its overly erotic content, she re-posted it on her website at FiftyShades.Com and later re-wrote it as an original piece.


The world is bigger than you think

So you might have been writing fan fiction so far and even gotten a lot of positive reviews for it, but have you ever considered moving on from building on other people’s worlds to building one of your own? Sounds daunting, huh? Considering Tolkien not only built Middle Earth from the ground up, he also created the elvish language for it. Heh. Well, you’re not alone. I’m no expert myself and I do struggle with trying to make up a world that will fit my story. In fact, I worry that I may have too few details to lure my readers and I believe that’s a common problem that besets us writers. But build it slowly, no one said you had to build it in an instant. Do your research. Google is an excellent tool to have. Speak to people of various races, inclinations, religious beliefs, gender, hobbies, occupation etc. You’ll be surprised just what are the kind of people you will meet and who will inspire your work.

Why, just the other day, I met a retired doctor who told me all about the joys of watching Harness Racing in Australia. And I’ve never even heard of that sport before I met him. Richard Castle from the ABC dramedy “Castle” even follows a police detective around so he can base his latest book on her! Mukul Deva, a best-selling author from India, also does his research by speaking to people who have the necessary knowledge to further his plot. So really, there is so much to be explored out there in the world out there.

So leave the comfort zone of your fan fiction and write something that truly belongs to you, and not someone else.

PS: Before I forget, I want you guys to read this interview by Bestseller Labs on Lorna Suzuki. She’s the author of IMAGO CHRONICLES, which is also optioned for movie production! Impressive, ne!


What I learnt from 7 authors & 1 publisher

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend a APSS meeting thanks to Karen Leong, who is a really brilliant speaker cum inspiring friend of mine. I wouldn’t normally be found at a meeting targeted at nurturing speakers but this particular one had several published authors who were there to give valuable insights on the art of writing and publishing so Karen asked me along. =3 If you guys get the opportunity to attend such events, you should really go for it. You don’t just learn, you also meet people who could help you on your way!

Here are the esteemed authors who made their appearance at the meeting:

  • David Goldwich: Author of Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road? Win-Win Negotiation Skills, and Getting into Singapore
  • Eric Feng: Author of Get to the Point!
  • Christian Chua: Author of How to be a Success Magnet, From Singlish to English, The Essential Teenage Handbook (and more)
  • Mukul Deva: One of the pioneers of the Indian thriller novel, and Author of three bestsellers in three years.
  • Shirley Taylor: Author of 8 books and Series Editor of 8 books in the STTS Success Skills Series
  • Tremaine Du Preez: Author of Think Smart, Work Smarter in the STTS Success Skills Series (Korean translation rights bought within 5 days of publishing!)
  • Michael Podolinsky CSP, Pearson Prentice Hall author of 13 books

Now, only 1 of the 7 authors present was a fiction writer. The rest were all motivational speakers/authors but hey, the tips are valuable nonetheless so I shall share what I learned here. All you aspiring mangaka and writers who want to get started on your Great Novel/Manga had better sit up and take notes! =3

1) It is possible to complete a book within 20 days: According to Michael Podolinsky, all you have to do is block out 90 minutes every day to write. It doesn’t matter when you do it as long as you devote 90 minutes to just pure writing. Tremaine Du Preez did it by switching off all internet access and her handphone.

2) There is no such thing as a writer’s block: If you know your subject, if you have a life full of personal stories, if you have an outline that details what goes into your book, you shouldn’t even be complaining about a writer’s block at all. If you don’t know enough about your subject, then research research and research!

3) Make a contract with yourself or your friends and family to complete your project: Many of us procrastinate. I know I do so I end up not completing my Rainy Skies project as I should. =x BUT! If you make a solemn promise to yourself or your friends/family to deliver by a certain date, you can do it! As Mukul Deva mentioned during his talk, “Any fool can have a dream, unless you put a date to it.”

4) Give your readers what they want: A few questions that publishers will frequently ask aspiring writers/mangaka: will your book sell? Will it appeal to your target audience? Does it fill in a lack in the current market? While you’re penning your great work, do it with these questions in mind because according to the statistics compiled by Bowker, publisher of Books in Print®, an average of 336,814 books were published worldwide each year from 2002 to 2008. So to sum it up…how can your book stand out as a drop in the ocean?

5) Books sell best in series: What does JK Rowling, Laurell K Hamilton, Tite Kudo and Masashi Kishimoto have in common? They’re all bestselling creators with wildly popular series.

6) Come up with a plan: Shirley Taylor, who is another great speaker, showed us a template she used for her books. Since she’s a communication specialist, her books are more of the how-to variety. She divided her chapters into manageable sections that people can easily digest in an instant. Of course, we can’t do the same for fiction books or manga but at least come up with a plan. It’ll get you going when you run out of juice while writing or drawing. =3

7) Social media is your best friend: We’re now living in an age of social media. Involve your readers in your creation. Get them to run votes on the type of product they’ll like to see. Like what Eric Feng would say, “don’t just bake a cake, ask people what type of cake they want to eat.” Sounds logical hoh. He also mentioned that readers who get involved in your product are more likely to buy your book. Makes sense, doesn’t it? =3

8 ) Self publishing vs published by a publisher? Both have their plus points: We had this really handsome dude from Marshall Cavendish International (Asia) come in to talk to us about being published by a publisher such as MC. Chris Newson, who is the GM of MC told us that being published by a published is vastly different from being self-published because the publisher takes on the unenviable task of marketing. They will put your books in the bookstores, arrange for book signings etc etc. Oh, one thing he mentioned: bookstores are the worst places to launch a book because the general public don’t really give a damn about your book unless you are James Lee or JK Rowling or Tite Kudo. Chris then went on to recall how heartrending it was to organise book signings but no one turned up. =x

And if your book is launched at the same time as MM Lee’s book? Good luck, pal. =x Hence, social medial such as blogs are very very important in pushing your book into the public awareness. =3

Christian Chua is a self-publisher, but then again he owns a printing company of his own. While publishers sell in bulk, he sells his books by first doing a small print run, then sending free samples to his target audience. For example, Christian first printed 450 copies of a book before sending them as free samples to ALL the primary schools in Singapore along with an order form. Only after receiving orders did Christian run another bigger print run. =3

Another self-publishing benefit that Christian mentioned was the ability to cut side deals, like sponsorships if you happen to mention a particular brand/company (several times) in your book. =3

9) Work with the publisher you’re most comfortable with: Someone asked how to choose a publisher during a meeting and the general consensus among the guest speakers was this: work with someone you can click with.So what if Publisher A can give you 10 times as much upfront as compared to Publisher B, which makes a more affable partner? A long-term working relationship is what gives you the best opportunities and least headaches. =3

10) A book is really judged by its cover: I’ve said this before and I will say it again. Books are judged by their covers so do invest in a good designer or artist to do your cover or you will regret it. =x Go to the bookstore and sit there for a few hours like Eric Feng to find out what are the type of covers that attract people. Or run votes on your Facebook page to garner opinions. Trust me, a cover can really make or break your book sales. It’s just like how a pretty girl will catch your eye first before the average one will, right? =3

AND SO! The top 10 gems that I managed to glean from the meeting. It has been a really wonderful experience because everyone is such a good speaker! NO ONE, and I repeat, NO ONE stumbles over their words (like moi). T.T

And everyone was so energised, I felt thoroughly exhausted after the session. LOL. But hey…you guys should really go for such sessions if you can coz it’s really galvanising and inspiring. =3

In fact, I’m going to wake up earlier every day to write for 90 minutes! Girl Guide Promise! >.<


Image: domdeen /

Take A Risk – Stay True To Your Voice

The following post is by Jennifer Stanley, author of Stirring up Strife.

You’re ready to write a novel. You’ve outlined all twenty-three chapters and plan to write about vampires in a fresh, exciting, and bound-to-be profitable way. Soon, Twilight fans will have a new obsession and you’ll be raking in the profits from the bestselling novels, movie rights, and merchandising.

Or not. In fact, the rejections of the proposal it took you six months to create have cited something “missing” in your voice. How could that be? You penned a supernatural love affair for the ages! It should be sent straight to the most powerful editors, not to the slush pile!

Don’t despair.

I’ve been there too. I’ve written more than one less-than-stellar proposal, believe me. Back when chick lit was all the rage and any book resembling a Sex in the City episode flew off the shelf, I decided to pen a chick lit-style mystery. My agent (the fabulous Jessica Faust of Book Ends) regretfully informed me that my voice wasn’t working. She was right. My attempts to form a plot focusing on cocktails, high fashion, and one-night stands fell flat. Road kill flat.

The book wasn’t me. Chick lit was selling, but I couldn’t write it. These days, vampires are hot, but I can’t write them either.

Then what do we do, fellow writers, when we can’t put our spin on what’s already selling? We color our voice with personal experience.

If an experience can move you, then it can move your readers as well. Case in point: I’d returned to church after a twenty-year hiatus and, inwardly kicking and screaming, joined a monthly Bible Study group. Taking this risk changed me. The people in the group changed me. I assumed they’d be a bunch of stuffy, judgmental, humorless, blue-haired Republicans and, except for the Republican part, I was completely wrong. They were flawed, funny, courageously honest, generous, beautiful, and wise. I’d never laughed so freely or cried so openly as I did in their presence.

I wanted to write about these precious people. I wanted them to solve crimes, to puzzle over obscure clues, to ensure that good triumphed over evil. In the end, I wrote a mystery series about church folk and two major publishing houses offered to buy it. And there wasn’t a single vampire in my proposal. I was in heaven (sorry, I couldn’t resist).

Your richest, most believable voice will be born out of dozens of such personal experiences. So don’t get hung up on Carrie Bradshaw or Bella Swan or whatever the next trend may be. After all, you don’t want to ride a trend; you want to start one. Forget what you think people are looking for and write your story. Your voice will outshine even the glitteriest vampire.

Jennifer’s new release, Stirring Up Strife, is published by St. Martin’s Press.

Available at your local bookstore or, Barnes & Noble, Borders. To contact the author please visit

Character building

When I write a story, especially a long story like Rainy Skies, I will create a bio for each of my characters. The bio will cover their hair and eye colours, their personality, their likes and dislikes, their quirks and hobbies etc. I may not use all the details in the crafting of my story but I find that having them close at hand help to make my characters more real.

When you create your characters, ask yourself this: are they merely cardboard figurines or mindless puppets you’ve conjured up to act in your grand play? Or are they flawed individuals whom readers can identify with or root for?

How then, you may ask, does one create realistic and sympathetic characters for the readers? You could base your characters on people around you. It can be solely based on a person or you can use a myriad of personalities to mash into one memorable character. Or you could be like me and create characters as a cooler extension of yourself but be careful that your novel doesn’t turn out to be an overly egoistic tribute to yourself or readers could get turned off. =)

And on an entirely unrelated note, I leave you with this link to the truth about bestsellers. Are they really as “best-selling” as they claim to be? Enjoy.


How to start that story?

Are you finding it difficult to start a story because you have no inspiration whatsoever? Well, you can use what many writers use: The Story Starter.

Actually truth be told, inspiration can be found everywhere in your life. Simply sit and observe what goes on around you. Then ask yourself the question, “what if?”.

Many stories begin with “what if?”. What if the aliens attacked us? What if cities were overrun by zombies? What if that ordinary looking man hides a secret so horrifying, that he would kill you if you knew about it?

The “what if” questions will naturally lead you to discover the next plot build-up. Always bring a notebook out with you when you’re out shopping, or simply sitting on the bus. You can just jot down whatever ideas that spring to mind and tidy them up later.

No more brain juice for you to squeeze? Put down your pen or switch off your computer and go for a walk. Thinking about it simply won’t make the ideas come flowing into your brain.

You probably won’t finish planning your novel or manga in a day but that’s alright because it’s an ongoing process. Ideas that may seem good now may appear ridiculous later on. So keep working on it, and one day, you may just have the finished product in your hands. =)


It’s the salt.

A friend recently sent me links to two articles on the art of game writing. One spoke on whether writers are really a vital asset in the development of games when one could have another designer, who arguably could be a writer as well. Inevitably, his post drew quite a number of flak and negative comments from writers and designers alike.

The second article addressed the misunderstanding in the first one and pointed out that while writers are never meant to be food that brings nutritional value to a project, they are nonetheless salt that adds taste to any project.

I must say I agree with Kelly Wand, the writer who wrote the second opinion piece after he was discussed in the first article. In any project, every link is important. I personally believe that no one is more important than anyone else. Drawing from the example that Kelly Wand gave in his article, a typical meal (well, a Chinese one at least) consists of rice, a meat dish, a vegetable dish and maybe a bowl of soup. This meal wouldn’t have been able to come to fruition if different ingredients, spices and seasonings hadn’t come into play.

You can’t cook rice without water, you can’t make the meat dish to taste without salt and so on.

Just as no man can be an island, you can’t expect a designer to be also the writer. Sure, there are people who could do that. But trust me, when you have to “cum” this and “cum” that, the result probably wouldn’t be very good.

And while you’re at it, you might as well hire a designer who can be the producer, music composer, writer, programmer, toilet cleaner etc. =x


The hows and whys of writing

Yo guys!

Sorry for not blogging lately but I managed to invite Ms Ju-Lyn, who was featured in the TODAY newspaper sometime ago on her self-publishing endeavours, to pen her thoughts on writing. Quite insightful. =3

So have a good read.


Hello, how are you?

A few months back I received an email from moon to share on my experiences of writing and self-publishing a book. I was excited to find a community of like-minded Singaporeans and flattered to be asked to write an article. I asked her what I should write about, and she said pretty much anything. Then I asked her how long should the article be. Then she said it’s pretty much up to me. It’s been hard trying to decide what to focus on – writing and/or self-publishing, to me, is very complicated. So, I thought perhaps I could share broadly about how it’s complicated. It is, perhaps, something that I wish I sorted out for myself earlier, and I hope that the brief outline that follows will be helpful to you.

To me, writing (or whatever it is that I want to do) is at least complicated in two aspects. Firstly, there’s the technical aspect of doing things – the “HOW” of getting things done. How to write, what to write, when to write… How to spell a certain word, what is grammatically correct… How to work what software, what is typography, how to design the cover, what shall I put on the cover… and the list goes on and on. Effort must be dedicated to researching, studying/learning, doing, reviewing or editing… I had wanted to do everything myself (including writing to laying out to publicity) because I wanted to have control over all these details, it was important to know what I needed to learn so that I could do what I wanted to do… and how much time and effort each phase (e.g. learning, training, doing phases) would take so that I can allocate my time and energy accordingly.

The second aspect is the psychological or philosophical aspect of things – the “WHY” and reason behind wanting to get things done. In some ways, I think this aspect is often less considered, although it is as important as technical competency, if not more important. This is simply because I could have used the time I spent on writing to do many other things. Similarly, everyone could spend his efforts on doing anything, for example, on doing other things, like studying harder, or doing something for his parents. Why do I want to spend the effort to edit my stories again and again and again, when it gets boring and tedious and trying? Why do I want to do what I want to do? Why do I write?

Understanding this was important to sustain my self-motivation. And even though I always gave different answers to different people asking me about my self-publishing project, it helps when I have the real reasons and motivation firmly establish in my mind. This also prevents me from being hurled into a whirlpool of self-doubt whenever someone asks about what I’m up to, having given up a cushy job, facing zero security with no income, etc.

I recommend putting together a “scrap-book” of why you do what you want to do, so that it’s convenient when you need reminding. It also helped me to have explained my motivations clearly to my closest friends and family members, so that they could better appreciate my pursuit, and helped to remind me, or at least, don’t question me too much.

On this, I recommend reading “Why I write” by George Orwell. You can probably find the full text online or neatly summarized in wiki. Broadly, Orwell discussed 4 motives behind writing and it can kind of get philosophical. Whilst Orwell’s personal reasons did not always apply exactly to me, I generally related to the 4 motives and it greatly helped me organise for myself “why I write”.

In this way, I should think that every individual would have to figure it out for himself, why he writes, or why she draws, or acts, or dances, or become a lawyer or teacher, or whatever it is that he does or wants to do. This is because everyone is different and have differing background, etc, thus everyone’s motivation differs. Which brings me to my next point, writing, to me, is very personal and that it’s SO personal that it complicates things even further. (This is something that I really wish to have been warned about earlier.)

Say for example, taking in other’s criticism or feedback on my work. Because it’s personal, I can’t help emotionally reacting to these inputs and feel bad or upset or happy or proud, and my emotional and psychological reactions would affect how I might assess the criticisms and applying them constructively. On bad days, my psychological reactions to my work – whether I’m good enough to write or not, blah blah – it can even hinder me from writing altogether.

But say then, on the other hand, if I didn’t take my writing personally at all, i.e. I took it totally from the objective point of view, then would I take other people’s opinion or feedback more easily and improve my competencies faster? Yet if I didn’t take my writing personally, then what would I be writing for and what’s the point of improving anything?

Ugh, so how?

I don’t know of a better way, but I try to balance when to treat my writing personally and when to be objective. For example, I treat it personally when I must motivate myself (or put my personal point of view into my stories, but that’s calls for a different discussion). I treat it objectively when I must critique and edit my work, and I find it helps pushing towards higher standards. And this balancing-personal-or-objective-act is difficult. For myself, it demands more self-control, self-awareness, and self-discipline than is required to overcome all the technical complexities combined together.

And I suspect if I didn’t harness the power of how writing is personal, then I wouldn’t have enough energy to complete my project. If I don’t manage to keep it tame, I would not have the energy or self-confidence to continue writing (find my stuff on meakfreak). Aside, I think “You’ve got mail”, the movie starring Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, illustrates the difference between taking something personally, or not, quite well.

Okay, I hope my sharing helps.


Plans and whatnots…

As with any other things you do, whether you’re working out or making out, you need to do a little warm up to smoothen the process and make it a pleasurable one unless it’s a chore. Other than work (school work, house work or simply work), nothing else should be treated as one. Not especially when you’re writing or drawing.

If it’s so difficult to write or draw, why do we persist in torturing ourselves in doing something we can’t? Self torment doesn’t have to be painful, it can be enjoyable too, masochist.

After wading through the walls of text from various sources Moontique dug out, I realise a lot of people (especially those who don’t draw or write frequently), are doing it wrong. For us seasoned ones we can simply wave our magic wands (pens and pencils) to write or draw something ‘magically’ but have you wondered ‘was that really magic?’ We have had our blocking bad times too; so where did the magic go then?

Thinking can be either a fruitful process or a killing one. Try recalling the times when you were blocked — have you sat in the chair for so long nothing comes out? Well, that’s because you plan too much. The solution may not be applicable to all situations, but it does apply to a lot, if not most. Sometimes, we grind too much of our brain juice we forgot the purpose behind our works.

Instead of asking ‘what to draw’, try musing on ‘why’? Maybe you’re just practicing or training but ‘why?’ Why do you want to draw or write in the first place? What do you wish to achieve in the first place?

I can still vividly recall one of the methods prescribed by some author is to have your own ritual to get into the mood. It is a very practical advice I’ve come to rely on for months. Of course, repeating the same ritual everyday will wear out eventually. Thus I went one step deeper into hurting myself.

A popular magician said, “Don’t think, feel.” His advice comes in handy even we’re not enjoying his illusional feats. Before you begin thinking what you have to draw, gather your emotions and feel what is it you wish to convey to your audience. Is it a pinch of regret? A startling revelation? Or simply a moment of joy?

Let these emotions wash you away into the ocean of imagination and let your fingers wield the wand in freedom. Though it may not be ideal all the time it is one way of starting and getting into the mood.

Happy tormenting yourself!