Shilip Somaya Gowda Encourages Students To Think Creatively

Author brings heart to workshop

March 2, 2022

With captivating activities and inspiring discussion, author Shilip Somaya Gowda was successful in collaborating with students and getting them to surpass their writing limits during her presentation.

Gowda has written three books that have sold over two million copies worldwide and holds an MBA from Stanford University as well as an Economics degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  

At the beginning of her presentation, Gowda started off with an exercise. 

She asked students what they first think of when they think of a beach on a summer day. Students gave answers like hot, sunny, waves and vacation. Gowda then asked the students questions like ‘what colors?’ and ‘what’s in the sky?’ to help students think of more ideas that could go on a white board. 

After coming up with enough phrases to fill the board, Gowda then instructed students to take out a piece of paper and a writing utensil to write a poem or paragraph about a beach on a summer day without using the words listed on the board.

I was intrigued by this because it made me think about ways to capture a beach on a summer day in a way I had ever practiced before. 

Students were given ten minutes to write and at the end of the ten minutes, they shared their written pieces with the class. 

I noticed how encouraging Gowda was and how obvious it was that she wanted students to be able to better understand how they can improve. This made me smile. 

After students shared their written pieces, Gowda shared hers and commented about how everyone will have a different angle. 

When this was over, Gowda introduced a second exercise. 

She instructed students to close their eyes and think about a strong emotion they have felt within the past week. Gowda mentioned that it could be the circumstances when that emotion was present, how it felt, the person they were communicating with when they felt that emotion and how it felt in their body. 

Once students thought of their emotion of choice, Gowda requested that the students write a manual for the human form of that emotion if they were to stay over at their house starting with ‘dear chosen emotion.’ She told them to think about how they would feel, what that emotion should and should not do and how they play their role in the student’s life.

After another ten minutes of writing, Gowda shared an anecdote about when she wrote her book “The Golden Son.” 

Originally, her book was told in the third person, but after receiving feedback, she decided to rewrite the whole book in first person so the reader could better feel the characters emotions while getting in touch with their own feelings as well. 

Gowda then asked her students to share their examples, which consisted of a variety of emotions.

Her example was about the emotion excitement and I laughed when she said that “you inevitably bring your little sister along, disappointment.”

At the end of her presentation, she asked if they had any questions and a few students asked about her career and how she started becoming a writer.

Overall, this workshop was very enjoyable and Gowda succeeded in engaging students in her exercises and guiding them to becoming great writers.

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