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5 Years of On My Canvas: What I’ve Learned

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Thank you for coming along on this journey with me and supporting me always.  If I have learned one thing in these five years, it is that the joy of creating should be enough. When we work hard and persist, we arrive at the goal, destination, or prize we have our eyes on. The much-planned …

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Van Gogh on Delving Deeply, Hardships, and Doing [In a Letter to Theo]

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Letters From Van Gogh The celebrated painter Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) regularly wrote to his brother Theo, his ardent supporter and friend.  Out of the hundreds of letters by Vincent van Gogh, the Vincent van Gogh organization has put about hundred on their website. The book Ever Yours: The Essential Letters contains a broad selection of …

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What is Good Writing – With Ideas on How to be Good at Writing

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What Makes Writing Good and Some Principles of Effective Writing

What is Good Writing?

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Best Articles of On My Canvas From the Year 2020-2021

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Best Articles Published During On My Canvas’s Fourth Year (August 2020 — August 2021)  My blog On My Canvas just turned four. Congratulations to me and to all you brilliant readers who give me a reason to write every day. Read the above link to know about the indefinite travel journey I’m on, another big news, …

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On My Canvas Turns Four – Big News and Five Lessons Inside

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Celebrating Four Years of On My Canvas – Learnings and Updates

Phew! 

It has been four years since I published the first article on On My Canvas. From then on, these four years have been a non-stop roller-coaster ride. From the first year of impenetrable determination but absolute ignorance to helping out other bloggers from my two years of blogging journey, and the third year of accomplishments, I’ve come a long way.

The journey started with writing. But every artist needs an audience. I want to thank you all — my beloved readers — who have helped me make the blog the meaningful resource it is. Though I know On My Canvas has to reach a lot more people, I really appreciate the love and support I’ve received so far. At least, I have not been hit by spoiled tomatoes or stinky eggs.

So thank you! 

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An Itinerant Writer’s Life in Mashobra, Shimla (Along With Things To Do)

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This piece is different from usual travel guides. I wrote this narrative while exploring Mashobra, Shimla. In the write-up, I speak freely about my writing journey. You are taken to the nooks and corners of an itinerant writer’s life who manages her work on the go. 

Hope you enjoy the reality.

Oh, I have mentioned all the things I did in Mashobra throughout the piece, and you can find a list of them at the end too. Or go to the places to visit in Mashobra Himachal Pradesh now.

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Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own — A Meditation on Writing and Life

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Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own Quotes — Wisdom on Writing and Life

 

Virginia Woolf was once asked to speak about women and fiction.

Woolf wandered the streets of London, sat by the riverside, pored over shelves full of books in the British Museum, went to luncheons, and considered the then state of literature. While working in a constricted space in that London where women weren’t even allowed to walk on turf paths in colleges (only men and students could), Virginia created a masterpiece on why there were limited women writers and even more limited writings by them.

Woolf delivered the lectures in October 1928 at the women’s colleges of Cambridge University. Published in September 1929, A Room of One’s Own is an essay based on those lectures.

Woolf went back to the works of Proust, Shakespeare, Emily Bronte, Jane Austen, Aphra Behn, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, Kipling, Keats, and many more known and unknown writers to understand the truth. She read fiction written by women and studied her contemporaries’ books. She contemplated why the writing of men scorned women and if women were writing good fiction.

In the essays, Virginia emphasized — while showing her detailed thought process — “that a woman needs money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

In addition to being a seminal work on feminism, A Room of One’s Own is an infinite pool of wisdom on writing and life. In the essay, Virginia Woolf argued passionately and statistically about how cultural, spiritual, and financial restrictions may limit our creative freedom.

Given the essay has so much to read into, I will only delve into the lessons on life and writing that Woolf was so benevolent in sharing with us.

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Best Non-Fiction Books I Read in 2020

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Out of the 48 or so books I read in 2020, 25 percent — that’s only 12 books — were non-fiction. The rest were fiction books and children’s tales.

I started reading non-fiction in 2017 when I started this blog On My Canvas. I always read stories and novels, but nonfiction wasn’t a big thing around me. Not that reading fiction was a trend in my social circle either. I can count the selected few readers amongst my friends, batch mates, and colleagues at my fingertips.

There was one guy in college who loved Shakespeare and read philosophy. There is a poetry lover and creator who is still a great friend. Some of the elites from Vidya Mandir and other high-class Delhi schools could talk about Mark Twain and J.R.R Tolkien but only seldom did I see them with a book. Or maybe I wasn’t noticing books at that time myself. 

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Best Fiction Books I Read in 2020

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I write because I read. I grow because I read. I can never be bored because I read.

Out of the 48 or so books I read in 2020, 75 percent — that is 36 books — were fiction. The rest were non-fiction books, children’s stories, and travel books.

Even though most of my writing is personal growth and travel-focused, I also write short stories and personal essays.

And for any kind of creative writing — travel, short stories, and even self-development — reading fictional books is crucial. Otherwise, how would I know how to describe a scene on the street or a conversation amongst two people sitting in a cafe? How would I keep the articles interesting and give them a story arc? A beginning, a middle, and an end, you know.

Apart from helping me write, fiction short story books and novellas are interesting and entertaining. They teach a lot about the history of the world. Fiction books also unravel the behavior and inner workings of human beings. (Here are 21 books that changed my life.)

So while The Outsider taught me how straightforward life can be, Gora and Anna Karenina showed me a lot about the desires and limitations of human beings while telling the history of India and Russia. I wouldn’t have known so much about the Brahmo Samaj and the Russian high class if not for those two books.

I’m thankful.

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Three Thriving Years of On My Canvas – And Future Plans

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And just like that, On My Canvas completed three thriving years on the internet.

Congratulations to us all who have been part of this budding platform through which I want to spread love, life, and hope. I cannot thank my readers enough for sticking with me all the while, for sending me immensely inspirational messages day and night, and for asking me to write more and more. On some hard days, I could not have done it without your endless emails and witty comments.

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21 Best Books To Change Your Life [They Changed Mine]

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Has anyone ever asked you to read books to change your life? I would go as far as to say reading is one of the synonyms of personal growth.

I started reading books, both fiction and non-fiction, sincerely only for the last five years. But during this time, I read some books that shifted the course of my life. They exposed me to unbelievable facts. They laid open the science I didn’t know exist. They told me stories I could never imagine. They made me cry like I hadn’t before. They made me laugh as if I had nothing to worry about. They accompanied me when I was lonely. They told me life can be lived in many ways. They reassured me it was okay to be who I was. But that I could learn, too.

By a life changing book, I don’t necessarily mean a bestseller.

By life changing books I mean those in which the most obvious things have been said in the simplest form; or those that tell the history of life not as how people want us to know but how it happened; or those that show life writhing out of the mouth of suffering with full force; or those that remind us of adventures we had as little children that give sense to our today, too; or those that seem long and convoluted but essentially they talk about things we have always ignored; or those that make us reconsider if the thing is worth beating ourselves about; or those that make us look at life with a child’s eyes again; or those that make us ask questions we were too scared to even think about; or those that unravel the science behind all this and help us be a little less clueless; or those that give us hope that change is nothing but little things done every day; or those that show us compassion and tell us we are okay as who we are.

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9 Creative Writing Tactics to Enrich Your Travel Writing

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My Top Travel Writing Secrets I Probably Shouldn’t Share

I have been writing about travel for two years now four years now (update 2022). When I started this blog, I wrote about personal growth and life inspiration. But because I travel constantly and I relish writing about nature, people, and experiences, I began writing travel articles on On My Canvas. (I’m an itinerant writer now.)

When I first ventured into travel writing, I panicked every time I put down my solo excursion tales and travel guides. I didn’t know how to write about traveling. I didn’t have the right tools. I remember telling my partner it would be a long time before I write good, relatable travel stories readers will enjoy. (my ideas about good writing.)

But even as a beginner travel writer, I wrote subjective articles such as why I travel and how can we stop ourselves from turning into the worst dictators (inspired by Cambodia). I have always preferred penning down personal travel memoirs rather than writing about the five things to do.

Some of my travel writings turned out to be good and some bad. So while this piece on the love and hate relationship with India won accolades, I’m still ashamed of this Vietnam photo essay.

I continued writing about trips to Southeast Asia and South America. As I published frequently, I started getting a hang of travel writing.

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