What happens most of the time is that we tend to enter into conversations to put forth our point, and whenever we think of the word “story” we think of a calamity, an event or disaster. But what I learnt in this workshop through various examples and assignments, is that each one of us here has a story of their own. And if we try to listen keenly, then we can bring out these stories.
Everyone finds out news about the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister - people are interested in knowing about them and their lives. But it is important to document the life of those in our surroundings such as farmers, golgappa vendors and cobblers as they play an important role as well. During this workshop, I understood the importance of documenting lives of people around us.
What I have learnt in the last two days has enhanced my understanding more than any of my previous writing experience had done. I realised that writing is a great art - it comes with a lot of challenges and one has to keep a lot in their mind. These session have given me tremendous clarity and helped me write better.
I learned that I should always ask for permission before clicking someone’s picture. I am very fond of taking pictures and I used to keep clicking without asking for consent. However, I have learnt the importance of taking consent.
I learned how to change the lens with which I view the world. Many times we go into a situation or a conversation with a predetermined idea of what to expect. I won’t do that anymore.
The greatest takeaway for me was gaining an understanding of first-person and third-person writing. I have also learnt how to connect photos with text and how we can add them to our stories.
Earlier, I had a lot of questions in my mind on which I gained clarity. We learned about context - and what context we should provide to our readers when we write. The socio-economic context of a person is very important in writing any document. All these discussions were very rich for me. All the exercises we did to learn how to collect, understand, and write stories were effective for me. They taught me about the flow of the story.
We used to write our experiences before, the ones we had with our students. But we learnt how to relate those stories to others around us and what kind of questions to ask to enhance our stories. Another thing I am taking away from this workshop is the desire to become a journalist. I feel I can pursue journalism now.
Earlier, we used to only write about the children we worked with in school - their names and their fathers’ names. We did not go document details like their ages, their fathers’ occupations and the number of siblings they had. But I have learnt that if I incorporate all these details, then others after me will be able to understand these children better. During the workshop, we also discussed how as a woman, we feel hesitant to speak in comparison to men, but it is not like that, we can speak what we want to speak about in our writing. We can say anything frankly.
In the three days of training I have learnt that observation is crucial to writing stories.