“Just because you fail once, doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don’t, then who will, sweetie?” — Marilyn Monroe (the famous US actress)
You must have heard of Somerset Maugham, one of the famous British playwrights and short-story writers of his time. Once the great writer was invited by his close friend to address his students of the English literature class. During the address, one of the students stood and asked Somerset a question which virtually baffled him, “I am greatly interested in writing and aching to write a best-selling novel. But I am in a great dilemma of how to start it. Please give me some tips to write a novel.” The great writer answered, “There are three rules for the writing of a novel, unfortunately no one knows what they are.”
What it simply connotes is one of the basic facts that the art of writing is an inborn flair which can be harnessed and mastered with hard labour and consistent practice. It is also the matter of patience and perseverance. Regular and passionate writing habit makes a perfect writer over time.
However, it does never mean that the writing has not any set of rules and principles. There are an array of treatises on the art of writing which work as the beacon light for a writer. In fact, to master the art of writing an aspirant must keep in mind the following important dos and don’ts –
- Ernest Hemingway, the famous US novelist of his time, once said, “The first draft of everything is shit.” So keep on writing without minding any grammatical mistakes and logical irrelevances in the beginning. When draft is finished, we can edit it to make it a flawless piece.
- Avoid using jargon words until you are writing on some specific and technical topics. Using words like those of demystifying, reconceptualising, judgementally and others makes the writing hard to read and also less interesting and entertaining. Clichés must also be used sparingly.
- Stephen Hawking once had said, “If you do not have time to read, you do not have the time or the tools to write. Simple as that.” So, you need to become a voracious reader. Read as much as you can and, that too, on as many subjects as possible. Reading broadens the horizon of thinking and arouses the imaginative power. It also teaches you the various arts of the writing style.
- Writing must be simple which can be read with ease and sunk in effortlessly. Using hard and big words which may require the readers to look up to a dictionary for their meanings is not appreciative. So it is always advisable to use the simple words and structures.
- All writings must be coherent with a clear-cut beginning, middle and a meaningful end. The end of the writing must be the reflection of the topic with what you had begun the writing.
- Read the autobiographies and memoirs of great writers. This will provide you a valuable insight into the struggles and the hardships suffered by the great writers to reach out to the pinnacle of their fame and fortune.
- Jot down important guidelines and rules on writing and refer to them while writing. It is necessary to avoid any grammatical mistakes which are nothing less than a crime for a writer.
- Always write in active voice. It gives clarity to the meaning and understanding becomes easy. However, it does not mean that use of passive voice is absolutely banned. In a few cases, the use of passive voice becomes inevitable and so we cannot ignore it.
- For the mastery of any skill one needs time and patience and the art of writing is no way different. So trying to make your writing immaculately perfect first time is not only discouraging but also against the timeless rules of writing.
- It is usually said that there are no more than two rules for writing -having something to say, and saying it. Writing only for the sake of writing would not make you a great writer. You must have a very powerful theme, persuading idea and enlightening thought to write about. This would not only help you write effortlessly but also make your writing touch the hearts and stir the minds of the readers so naturally and deeply.
- Do not copy the style of writing of others. Nor ever try to write like someone else. Yours style of writing is unique on this earth which no other writers can imitate.
- Always keep on looking for new topic and idea which others fail to notice. For this learn to observe the world, people and phenomena around you. Doing so will provide you with plethora of ideas to write about.
- Starting a sentence with a conjunction is not considered as a good practice. Avoid beginning your sentences with it. Also keep in mind not to end a sentence with a preposition.
- Like rivers, writing too has a smooth flow. A good, coherent and perfect writing must flow majestically just like that of water of a river. So read your write-ups as many times as possible and find where writing ceases to flow smoothly. Remove the obstacles from there and go on making it like free-flowing-water stream. Writing of this ilk bewitches the readers.
- Last but not the least, stop fearing of failure. Failures are nothing but the experiences which help you become the master of what you so longingly try to achieve. Every great writer initially was a budding writer who would not give in despite a series of failures. So, even if you fail initially to succeed as a good writer, do not quit…rather keep on trying and some day you will be surprised to find that failures have taught you to become a successful writer.
To sum up, writing is not an easy task. Nor is it a simple profession – it is a passion. It calls for hard labour, consistent practice and consummate dedication. The world is full of the galaxy of the famous writers who rose to the pinnacle of the art of writing due to sheer hard work and perseverance. So, if you earnestly want to become a famous writer and also want to earn the fabulous wealth from this, you must get ready for the path which goes directly to the hard labour and life-long struggle.
- The author is Principal Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Mamit (Mizoram) and can be reached at [email protected]
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