"If you cannot write well, you cannot think well; if you cannot think well, others will do your thinking for you."
— Oscar Wilde
You have your desk ready with the tits and bits of information you need…. You have actually decided the topic that you want to write about…. You’ve had your coffee, switched off your phone, but you spend the next fifteen minutes staring out of the window…. Unable to get going…
Dreadful……?? Now let’s make it more scary!!! He he…
Your desk is piled up with the most unwanted things of your room, you don’t know what you want to write about, your coffee is stale now coz you forgot to drink it……. And then you spend nearly an hour bogged down on the table…. Unable to get going….
Phew…!! I guess now you would prefer the former situation…. Right?
Now I know half the people are going to kill me for this… How to write…? How to write…? Now this girl will teach us how to write…? So to relieve all of you let me clarify that………. YES …you are pretty much right about it…. Actually this is in answer to one of my best friends at cci who has lately become A Doubting Thomas and feels that being proficient in a language is different thing and writing is different and somehow is refraining from writing for reasons unknown… So this is to make him and others realize what it actually takes to write well?
Now to encounter the greatest of all questions…… “Why should I write?”
Of course no one except you can force you to write but I’ve seen that those who have never written usually don’t know how writing can enrich your life, mould your personality, fill you with self confidence and last but never the least becomes the greatest stress buster…
I couldn’t have found words better than these…
“Writing wasn’t easy to start. After I finally did it, I realized it was the most direct contact possible with the part of myself I thought I had lost, and which I constantly find new things from. Writing also includes the possibility of living many lives as well as living in any time or world possible. I can satisfy my enthusiasm for research, but jump like a calf outside the strict boundaries of science. I can speak about things that are important to me and somebody listens. It’s wonderful!”
So now… first to settle scores with some myths about writing!!!
Myth No. 1 – The most basic thing needed to write is …… ‘ a pen’!!
No my dear its paper too….he he… anyways, actually to write we need much much more than that…. Vocabulary, proficiency in language, the will and of course the burning desire to transform your thoughts into words…
Myth no 2 – I should have my own writing style from day 1…
Lucrative… but not true…Common now… don’t try to be J. K. Rowling or Jane Austen from day 1…. Even they weren’t what they are today when they first started out…. Developing a particular style of writing demands time and also a great deal of understanding of the subject matter about which you are to write…
Myth no 3 – There is a need for writing only when we are lonely… (maybe away from home or so…)
Again a big cross… No doubt writing drives away loneliness but no need to feel that it needs to be practiced only when you are away from homo sapiens…. i.e. Humans… Actually the very presence of your loved ones and friends will transform your lifeless words to animated events… further enriching it…
Myth no 4 – A bird in hand is better than two in the bush… (eh?)
Yes you read it right… when it comes to writing its nothing more than a myth… just reverse the above phrase… It’s always better to yearn for something better and push yourself to achieve it than be satisfied with what you already have written!
Myth no. 5 – You need to be a great writer to start writing!
No No No… writing skills are no gift… it is essentially just a skill and like any other skill can be developed with the will and practice!!!
Prerequisites of writing
· Read Read Read….. Nor any better deed!!
When you read good books then the same good will come out when you write… Never never try to write in the first instance before reading deeply others works… read more and more, develop an understanding of what is good and what is not, evaluate your views from different angles… and then dare to reach for the pen… else you are bound to savour the taste of your own medicine…
· Get your words right… with all your might!!
Don’t ever use words whose meaning you doubt… they have the potential to hurt others and even harm your reputation… While reading make it a habit to have a dictionary with you for ready reference…
Where to start from?
Now this is the place where we all land in the same boat… As Joseph Heller says “Every writer I know has trouble writing.” We all ponder… where do I start writing from? What do I write first? The simplest answer to this question is… don’t think at all… As William Campbell Gault says:-
“If you haven't got an idea, start a story anyway. You can always throw it away, and maybe by the time you get to the fourth page you will have an idea, and you'll only have to throw away the first three pages.”
Just close the door and with no one looking over your shoulder… ask yourself… what have you got to say…. And decide how you want to say it… You’ll get the answer!!
THE STEPS TO WRITE EFFECTIVELY!!
· Have A Goal!!
Please don’t write without knowing what you got to write… you know coz then you would be the only person knowing what it is all about!! Write keeping in mind that the written word is intended for humans!! He he! Stop beating around the bush and just decide and let your thoughts grow around that topic!!
You don’t need to write the final draft at one go!! This is the stage where you decide what you’re going to say. You may write your notes, assemble facts, organize your thoughts or draft an outline.
After you are done with prewriting, cut to the chase… this is the step where you can just get it down. Resist the temptation to say everything perfectly and don’t correct grammar and punctuations. Just keep going!
When you are done, start revising the write-up. Rework your sentences until you are sure that they are apt for humans to understand!!
This is the most crucial and most difficult stage of the writing process. At the end of each sentence ask yourself: Does it make any difference if this is not included? And decide! That’s all… Edit well or your own situation will be like Steve Martin. Here’s what he has to say:-
“I handed in a scriptt last year and the studio didn't change one word. The word they didn't change was on page 87.”
All that is left to do is to look for typographical errors and grammatical mistakes. Keep in mind that errors could undermine the impact of the whole work!
Some Do’s and Don’ts
Ø Say what you want to say in the fewest possible words. Coz otherwise the readers are bound to skip them showing the futility of those…
Ø Take a break if you are not able to write… don’t force it on yourself… a time will come when ideas will again start floating in and out of your mind…
Ø Don’t use language that’s too gaudy so as to conceal lack of substance…. Something that’s written without using ornamental language and has more substance in it is to stay longer than something that lacks meaning!
Ø Don’t ape anyone’s style… and try to bind yourself in the clutches of one particular style… Experiment, discover and decide. Henrik Ibsensaid something very apt about this… “If I cannot be myself in what I write, then the whole is nothing but lies and humbug.”
Ø First write for yourself, not for public. Coz if you think of others then you are bound to write to please others and start thinking from their perspective… As Brenda Ueland says:-
“I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten - happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another.”
Ø No subject is dull to be written about. Only the writing is dull. Try to make it interesting!
Ø Don’t go by numbers when you are writing…It would just be a drop in the bucket… it’s the quality of your work and not quantity!! Once you get grip of quality you are free to run behind quantity… when you are going behind quantity you’ll without doubt affect the quality and may have to face the wrath of someone like Dorothy Parker( she was once so enraged at a book that she said)… "This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."
So these are some of my thoughts on writing… and yes I took an awful lot of time writing this…( I always do)… hope it helps all!!
And please don’t write ‘Thanks for sharing’ and ‘Nice post’… else I’ll make out that this wasn’t good enough… that this didn’t help you in knowing… “HOW TO WRITE WELL”
I want your views…
“Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader. Not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.”
The ball is in your court now… Lets see what you do!!