A Story of My Writing in 2016
It’s been a fun and incredible year
I’ve always loved to write.
When I write, I enter a different world. All problems and distractions melt away, leaving me and my words alone. I become acutely aware of my senses, but they remain background noise. The sound of rain pattering against the windows. The smell of bitter coffee and toasted bread. The warm heat blowing against my skin from the vents.
When I write, the environment affects my words, influencing their tone and diction. If I’m sitting in a coffee shop on a sunny afternoon, my writing tends to become flowery and musing. If I’m laying on the window sill on a rainy night, my writing sounds reflective and brooding.
Guess where this piece was written?
When I write, I also feel an inexplicable joy. Ideas constantly swirl around in my head on a daily basis, and writing allows subconscious thoughts to take form in the shape of stories and narratives. It’s a form of creation. In my fiction, my favorite part is building the setting in which the story takes place. I love detailing the world around imaginary characters. When people read those words, they can imagine themselves in that world, completely immersed in a different universe. They could be knights riding along the shoreline of a lake, the bright sun beating on their armored backs as they race across the land through billowing winds. They could be a group of friends sitting in a bench in a park on a sunny afternoon, laughing and playing as if they had been there all along. They could even be me, sitting against a dark window alone in my room, watching rain fall from a moonless sky against the glass as blue light from my computer illuminates my reflection in the window.
Before I arrived in college, I had loved writing short stories and imagining worlds. But, shortly after that, I had stopped writing.
I entered college at Georgia Tech in the fall of 2014. It was a new environment, much bigger and much more diverse than anything that I had ever experienced to date. It was an exciting time. There was something new to explore every day, whether it was a club, a sport, a student organization, a class, a place on campus, and more. I had wiped my slate before coming to college, and I was filling it back up in those first few months. At the same time that first year, as I was joining clubs, applying to internships, exploring the city, finding friends, making Youtube videos, and taking classes, I had stopped writing.
By the time I came back as a sophomore in the fall of 2015, something felt off. Maybe it was a sophomore slump, but I wasn’t as positive or passionate about what I was doing anymore. At that same time, I began to hear more about blogging from my friends. It was at least every other day that I’d see another friend’s blog post on my feed. It was a different mode of writing than the fiction that I was used to making, but I was willing to try it out.
It was hard at first. When I write great stories, it all comes in a rush. I had to feel intensely passionate or energized by the topic. I couldn’t just write. I would sit for hours in front of my laptop, hoping that some idea would take me and I’d write my first blog post. But it never came like that. It was too unnatural. So I gave up trying to force the issue and simply waited.
That’s how I ended up writing How We Have Become a Generation of Flakes. It was something that had been bothering me for months. My friends always “flaked” when we had hangouts, or there was always churn at events I organized because it just assumed that a lot of people would “flake”. It ate at me, and in January I wrote the piece and published it on Medium.
As soon as I wrote that piece, it became much easier to write more. It was always the same pattern. Some thought, some event, some idea would consume me so much to the point that I just had to write it all down, usually in a stream of consciousness fashion. Over time, I learned to incorporate some form of research and legitimate argumentative rhetoric into my pieces so that they wouldn’t just be blatant rants. But recently, I’ve learned that what people liked the most in my writing was not necessarily how “right” I was or how well I made my point, but how genuine and authentic I was.
That idea culminated in my Looking Back at Stanford piece, my most “successful” piece to date. As soon as I left Stanford’s campus, I rushed to my laptop to write the piece and published it pretty soon after I finished it. I wasn’t expecting much more than normal, but I was blown away by the responses to the piece. It made me rethink the way I did my writing.
I still love telling stories, but now I just do it in the form of blog posts. This past year, my first year on Medium, I’ve written 11 pieces. It was actually a lot more than what I had been expecting, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found out. I’ll eventually move to my website at http://indrapsofian.com/, but I’m satisfied with Medium at the moment. It’s a fun community, and it’s much easier to reach people through this platform. The editor interface is also nice and minimalistic, too.
This year, I’ve decided that I’m going to experiment more with personal essays. It’s a much different flavor of writing than what I’m used to, but I think it can only help me, both as a writer and me as a person.
I hope that all of you who read my writing, whether you’re a first-timer, an occasional reader, or that rare person who reads everything for some reason, have enjoyed everything so far. If you ever have any sort of suggestion, comment, or criticism, I certainly welcome it.
2017 is going to be a fun journey.