Name: Thirangie Jayatilake

Age: 21

University: New York University Abu Dhabi

Nationality: Sri Lankan


TEMPO: How and when did you first learn of your love and passion for writing? Was it something you really studied intensively or just a hobby? How long have you been writing stories?

Thirangie: I was around 9 when I started writing poetry and I decided that I wanted to become a writer. I did it as a hobby and only started taking creative writing classes at univerisity.

TEMPO: How were you able to come up with your piece? What inspired you to write it?

Thirangie: This picture I took at the beach in Sri Lanka during the last winter break. There was an old fisherman who walked towards our direction with a little brown dog trailing him. I took a picture of him when he was standing in the shallow water with the fishing rod cast into the sea.

TEMPO: Give us an excerpt of your favourite line or two of what you submitted for the Flash Fiction Competition.

Thirangie: Her loss came like a large wave, the current pulling him down by his ankles, his body collapsing towards the ocean bed and the saltiness stinging his eyes and every little wound on his body.

TEMPO: Name top 5 traits that each aspiring writer should have.


  1. Experiment with different writing styles and forms. See where it takes you.
  2. Write as much as you can and try to figure out which style/styles that you are most comfortable with
  3. Read
  4. Remember or jot down quotes or pieces of writing that you really liked and use it as inspiration
  5. After you finish writing, go back and try to revise your piece. Try to look at it from a fresh perspective and from a reader’s point of view to see if you’re missing any details, if you need to take something out or if you need to change anything.

TEMPO: For sure you have experienced what they call a “writing slump” where you get stuck for hours, not knowing how to continue… how did you manage to overcome this situation? What tips could you provide to get over that phase?

Thirangie: If you’re in the middle of something, leave it and come back to it later. Sometimes, having that distance helps you look at it from a fresh perspective. If you can’t think of anything to write, then maybe try writing a journal entry just to get your thoughts flowing or write down a list of lines or thoughts that you’d like to use as writing prompts and start with one of them. Look at something that inspires you and try to write something in that specific style.

Originally published in Feelyourtempo Magazine in the second quarter of 2016.