How practising photography turned me into a better writer.

I read somewhere that “Photography is the art of capturing a moment and making it live forever.” The same could be applied to a piece of writing.

When I wanted to write, and when I tried, I couldn’t write. I lacked the flow. I needed motivation. I needed something to inspire me to proceed further. That is when my mom got a book from one of our neighbors. The book was “Desandhri” by S.Ramakrishnan.

The book spoke about the travel experiences of the writer. One of the lines from the book said that world starts from outside your home. That made me realize what I lacked. It was experience.

I was looking for a way to make contact with the outside world and that is when I saw my friend’s photograph on my Facebook feed. He posted an album mentioning that he had taken it during a photo walk.

“What is a photo walk?” I thought. And, I didn’t waste any time. I immediately caught hold of him on chat and asked him what is a photo walk.

He said a bunch of photo enthusiasts will meetup somewhere; start clicking photos for a few hours and then discuss about it. The idea sounded interesting.

It was 2011 when I went for my first photowalk. I had a small digital camera with me and I started shooting whatever I saw. It was fun.

For the next two years, all I did was shoot pictures. I didn’t even write a single word. I got drawn into the world of photography and I completely forgot what I wanted to do in the beginning. Even though I read a lot of books in the meantime, I never really wrote a word.

Later, during the beginning of 2014, I started writing. It was a warm night, and I kept thinking about writing. One thing led to another, and I got an idea for a short story. I immediately got out of my bed, went near my computer, and started writing. And, for the first time, I got the flow. I found it surprising.

 But, later when I realized how it happened, it struck me that photography was the key to it.

Here are a few benefits I received as a result of practicing photography.

  1. Photography trained me to see things one would ignore usually.
  2. Travel doesn’t mean traveling to new countries. Traveling to the next street, or another part of the city also counts as travel. And the time spent there counts as experience. And, I got a lot of experience roaming around the streets of Chennai.
  3. Photography helped me in visualizing scenes while writing a story. Every street I’ve roamed came handy when I wrote a story.
  4. Photography made me interact with a lot of people. It helped me understand people better. Sometimes, even talking to a complete stranger can get you a new plot for a story or a character.
  5. It made my writing more vivid. (I believe so!)
  6. Photography enhanced my thought process. Every photograph I saw had a story and it kindled my imagination to think of a plot revolving it. I took it as a personal exercise and it helped me in a great way in taking a step towards my goal. (which is, writing novels.)
  7. Photography gave me great friends and mentors.

Since 2014, I published four short stories in a magazine; wrote and published my first book, a collection of short stories; and currently on my way into publishing my second book. All this wouldn’t have been possible without photography.

So, for those who wish to be aspiring writers, I would say practicing photography would be of great help. This doesn’t mean you should go to a shop, empty your wallet, and get a new DSLR. You can even shoot with a point-and-shoot, or a mobile camera. All that matters is the experience. Set foot outside and start clicking, and I am sure that you will have a great experience with your camera.

This is not a mandatory thing, or a rule. I found this useful, and I am sharing it with you.

Hope you guys had fun reading it.

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