Thursday, September 18, 2014

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Creative writing lessons: 4-step DENT model

Dr. Anil Maheshwari is an Associate Professor of Management Information Systems at MUM. He directs the new MIS Graduate Certificate program at MUM. He completed his Ph.D. in MIS from Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH. He has taught MIS at many universities, including 3 years at the City University of New York. He also brings 20 years of rich IT industry experience including 9 years at IBM and a few years at fast-paced start-ups. Among other adventures, he successfully ran a marathon.
 
 
I recently completed writing my first book called Business Intelligence and Data Mining Made Accessible. It is available on Amazon and has been well received by students and practitioners.
 
This book came after 30 years of work experience, after 3 years of my thinking about it, and then the book almost wrote itself out effortlessly in just 30 days. I like the book, and I enjoyed the process. There are some lessons in this for creative writing projects.
 
Here is a four-step model for making a creative DENT in the world. The first two steps are internal to the author, while the last two relate mostly to the external environment.
 
D is for Desire. One needs to have a strong and clear intent to write. People write for many reasons, including recognition, money, and the sheer pleasure of contribution. There can be an urge to make a difference in the world. The desire can come from being pressed, or encouraged, by others; it can come from watching friends become successful authors; or it can just be something that one badly wants to do.
 
E is for Expertise. One can develop certain areas of expertise over a period of time. It could be scientific knowledge about an area; or it could be a fertile imagination and a way of expressing it in fiction. One can hone one’s talents over a period of time. This expertise could be self-evident when one is helping others out just for fun; or doing something by oneself in a playful spirit.
 
N is for Need. There should be a need out there to be satisfied. The need could be a general one, such as a continuous need for good fiction, or a need for a comprehensive reference book on a topic. The need could also be specific, for example addressing the needs of a particular audience known to you, including friends and family, and your students. The now famous Khan Academy emerged from Sal Khan creating small video lessons to educate his niece on mathematics.
 
T is for Timing. The timing too has to be right for it to happen. The writer must find the time to create the content; there should be access to the right channels for expression; and the intended audience should be ready and receptive to the content.
 
Finally, of course, there is no substitute for hard work … one has to just sit down and make it happen. However, if the above four factors are present, the work becomes effortless, and the results become extremely rewarding!

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