Summer Outing: A Pantoum

The summer before I started university, I did a few creative writing workshops. Once, we tried some verse poems (I wrote a villanelle). I liked following a template. It gave me a guide in the otherwise limitless and daunting realm of poetry. So I thought I would try it again for this week’s post. This time, I tried a pantoum. I followed the format of Another Lullaby for Insomniacs by A. E. Stallings as a reference point.

summer outing

the icy water’s sweet
as I wade in the river
pebbles scratch my feet
it sets my limbs aquiver

as I wade in the river
the fish begin to scatter
it sets my limbs aquiver
to think, to them I matter

the fish begin to scatter
their skin glints in the sun
to think, to them I matter
to others, I am no one

their skin glints in the sun
they think they’re in my thrall
to others, I am no one
to them, I rule them all

they think they’re in my thrall
the icy water’s sweet
to them, I rule them all
but pebbles scratch my feet.


© Sohini Kumar
Photo by John Salvino from Unsplash

When I’m not blogging, I’m on…
Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

How to Succeed at Failure

As I’ve written in the ‘About’ section, this blog is a documentation of my journey towards my dream: to be a successful, published writer. I never imagined it would be easy. In the past, I’ve written about comparisonlosing and gaining inspiration, originality and getting my writing to more people.

Now, the more I get involved with the publishing industry, the more I realise that it’s not an understatement to say it’s competitive. So inevitably, failure has become a part of my journey, as has a question I frequently ask myself:

How am I supposed to stand out if I’m average?

True, I have a list of work placements and extracurricular activities on my CV; so does everyone else. I have good grades; so do many people. And I love books and writing, as does everyone in the industry. So how can I be anyone’s first choice if I’m not extraordinary in any way?

Continue reading “How to Succeed at Failure”

Five Little Tricks to Keep Writing

Hello everyone!

If you read my last (slightly doom-and-gloom) post, you might know that I’ve been struggling to motivate myself recently — to write, to work, to do most things (except to eat… I’m always ready to eat). Initially I was letting this get me down, but I’ve thought about it, and realised: if your brain doesn’t want to comply, sometimes you just need to let it be. But if it’s being too stubborn, sometimes there are ways to trick it.

Take writing, for example. Sometimes even the things that are supposed to be fun and enjoyable seem like chores. Yet most writers recommend writing everyday if you want to improve.

How can you do this if your brain is telling you to stay in bed until 2 p.m. to stare at the endless void that is the Internet?

Trick yourself into it. Write without letting your brain know you’re writing, in the following ways:

1. Post-it note stories

Forget filling a blank page, how about covering the surface of a post-it note first? I don’t know about you, but the prospect of an empty document or a fresh notebook page can be daunting, especially if I’m feeling empty of ideas. In comparison, a post-it note seems like a much more comfortable step to begin with.

Because it’s nothing official like putting pen to the perfect page of a new notebook, you can doodle, scribble, try whatever your heart desires. Maybe challenge yourself to tell a whole story within the limited space, or see if you can fill the note without saying anything at all. Doodle with your eyes closed and then tell the story around your drawing. If an idea begins to blossom, you can always advance to the next step: the revision card. 

kelly-sikkema-273133*Cue dramatic music* | Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

2. Tales of post-its past

If you’re having trouble even filling out a post-it note, worry not. Try taking a look at notes you’ve written before, whether those are reminders, shopping lists, whatever. Instead of starting from scratch, change one aspect of something you’ve previously written. Maybe your shopping list suddenly has dragon meat; or your reminder mysteriously instructs you to hire a fruit juggler. Take the story from there: what would happen next?

Continue reading “Five Little Tricks to Keep Writing”