On Writing Skills and Becoming a Writer


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by Jayaram V

So you think you are not a great a writer because you tried a few times and thought it was not good enough? If you did, it is not a problem. A lot of people think they cannot write. Yet they speak, everyday, everywhere. They can speak even when they are not thinking. If they can speak, you should wonder why they cannot write. Is not that a contradiction? Is not it strange that people have no problem speaking but most of them think that they cannot write? That does not make sense, unless one never went to school. If you are reading this, it means, you are educated and computer savvy. You can make sense of things. You can understand what others are saying. Therefore, with some effort you should be able to write, like everyone else.

If you can speak, you can write.

If you can say few words about yourself, you can write.

If you can tell a joke, tell your friend what you did today or how you felt at the gym, you can write.

Writing in the present-day world is easier.

You have many platforms to write, many opportunities to express yourself.

If you are afraid of long sentences and paragraphs, you can tweet. We have integrated writing into our lives so much that perhaps presently we write more than we speak.

Some myths about writing

Myth 1: You need to be creative. Creativity does not make good writers. Good writers make use of their creative and with effort anyone can be creative. If you have learned in your childhood how to lie to your mom and dad, you are indeed creative.

Myth 2: You need to be well educated. Many writers came from humble background and self-taught themselves how to read and write.

Myth 3: Not everyone can be a writer. That is a biggest myth. Writing is a skill. If you can write a letter to your friend, send an email, you can as well write. If you have written essays in the schools and for your college education, you can write.

Myth 4: You need inspiration to write. Inspiration can help you to write well. But writers do not depend upon inspiration alone to write. They train themselves to write under all circumstances. With discipline you can learn to write in different settings and circumstances.

Why should you write at all?

You may wonder, why writing is important. What good does it do to you. Well, writing is a skill and like any other skill it has its own value. It can give an edge in standing out, in making yourself clear, in making yourself known and understood and, most importantly, in being yourself. Besides, there are other advantages.

1. Writing is therapeutic. It helps you relieve stress and pent up feelings.

2. Writing helps you to clear your thoughts. When you begin to write you will realize how difficult it is to express some of your thoughts and feelings. If you persist, soon you will learn how to use words to crystallize your thoughts.

3. Writing helps you to discipline your own mind. Writing requires both concentration and meditation. When you write, you are forced to think with focus and attention, which helps you to see to things differently.

4. Writing helps you to discover yourself. Writing is a journey of self-discovery. Writing is a means to find a way to your heart and your deepest self. It is a way of going back into yourself in a reflective sort of way to bring out the creative and imaginative person in you, whom you have forgotten long ago since you childhood. There is no doubt. Writing brings out the deeper aspects of your thinking and awareness. Your  writing is an extension of your consciousness. When you write, you become the words. You become a creator who sends forth his word to touch the hearts and minds of others and make them think, dream and imagine. With written words, you extend your reach, far beyond your spoken words. By bringing them into open, you uncover a hidden aspect of your own personality, to which you would not usually pay attention when you speak or when you are engaged in some other activity.

5. Writing helps you to unburden yourself. With writing you free yourself from the burden of carrying unwanted and negative thoughts, memories and emotions.

6. Writing makes you a good thinker. Writing forces you to think. Since as a writer you have to make yourself known and understood, and write clearly, you are automatically forced to improve your thinking skills.

7. Writers have a greater chances of being remembered. If you are a writer, you have greater chances of being remembered and appreciated even after you leave the world as people may still find your work useful for their study and research.

8. Your writing may outlast you. Written words play a significant role in the progress of humanity. History is able to remember only those whose words have been preserved for posterity by themselves or someone close to them. The words of the Buddha, Jesus, Mahavira, and Guru Nanak influence our minds and thoughts even today because someone cared to record them for posterity. Imagine, how much knowledge and wisdom we might have lost in the past 10000 years because people had no facility to preserve their words or leave their mark. I wish my grandfathers of twenty generations before left a great message for their descendants. I wish we had many writers in the past who had a sense of history and left a detailed account of what happened in their times. the world would have been a better place, if there were many writers who left biographical accounts of their own lives, what they saw and experienced in their lives and what they felt about their lives and relationships.

How can you develop writing skills and become a good writer?

Here are a few suggestions to make writing a regular habit and becoming a skilled writer in the process.

1. Write as if you are a writing a letter to someone

2. Write from your heart

3. Write as if you are speaking to someone

4. Write a few words everyday

5. Write whatever you like

6. Keep a journal

7. Start a blog or a newsletter

8. Read books on writing

9. Have a few mentors

10. Join a writers club

11. Attend a book fair

12. Keep reading and expanding your knowledge

13, Become a good observer of life

14. Attend a writer's workshop

Techniques to improve your writing

Here are few techniques to improve your writing.

1. Write whatever that comes into your mind about a subject, without judgment, fear or hesitation. Just write and then edit if after a gap of a few hours. Keep improving the draft until you are satisfied.

2. Take a passage or a story written by a well known writer and write it in your own words. Compare both.

3. Take an incident from your life and try to write in different ways shifting you emphasis from one aspect to another.

4. Read the major works of past and present writers to observe how the writing styles have changed and how freedom of expression took shape.

5. If you know more than one language, try to translate an existing writing from one language to another.

6. Write a story for your kids or for children ask them for their opinion. If you can write for children you can write for everyone.

7. Learn to express the same idea in different ways.

8. Take a poem and use its theme to create a story or an essay. Conversely take an essay and see whether you can write a poem with the ideas presented in it.

Everyone is unique. You have a message drawn from your life's unique experiences. That is your resource, your treasure chest. Bring out that message and share it with others to the extent it does not hurt you or those who may be part of it. Right now, write something. Scribble a note, write a poem, or a short story about how you struggled to translate your thoughts into words or how you felt last night when you were eating dinner or watching a movie. Write something, write anything to let the words flow out of your mind. If you are not getting any ideas, write about not getting enough ideas! You see, a writer can write on everything and anything. He just needs a little mental preparation, some times a few positive affirmations and an urge to write.

Suggestions for Further Reading

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