Writing is an important skill and kids are encouraged to write in their own words from a young age. Most young people learn go through training to do some descriptive writing in high school or in their undergrad years. The problem with writing is this – it appears easier that it actually is. A lot of people think it’s an easy job to write; cook up words together and throw in some punctuation.
Well, I would love a magical cauldron like that. Perhaps it could bubble on logs of knowledge and be made of an alloy of perseverance, patience and some ferrum(got to show off my Latin here!). I could have pantry staples like punctuation marks and grammar basics. Bags of grains/flours like words and legumes. White space could be my water. Other spices and herbs like phrases and proverbs. Articles could be by salt and sugar. I could pep it up with tangy emotions. I could go on and on, but my point is made I think.
I would need a magical wand to wave. Perhaps the words would flow out and get served on my page. Fancy printer types. Or Harry Potter’s friend Ron’s mum type.
The Process of Writing
Writing is a process.
Some start and just go on writing, till they reach the end. It’s like they had it written in their minds.
There are others who research it and meticulously store it all in one place. As and when they progress they reference and write on.
For many a writing prompt helps. A gentle nudge now and then gets them chugging on.
Whatever the process, it is never easy. It is an exercise in creativity. It is even harder when you have to write something that you are not interested in, but have to, whatever be the reason.
That is a challenge. So here are 5 writing tips which I think will help:
- Let the topic play around in the back of your mind. As and when you go about your day, let it simmer on the back burner, so to say. Throw in whatever pops into your head. Alternatively, sit and let your mind float free. When the first thought forms, jot it down. Then it’s like putting a garland together as other thoughts flow by.
- Research the topic, read up other essays, and put all that you want into a document. Many students who need to write assignments do this. Once they gather the information, they find an interesting angle. Jot down interesting points and write an outline. This breaks down the topic into manageable chunks.
- If you feel you need additional help, there are people who help you write better. They are like trainers, who shape your writing. Feedback is good, but Remember this rarely comes without an expense attached. Of course students might have access to free writing help(virtual or in-person) if their college has set up such a service in the writing center.
- When you are really close to giving up, switch to doing something you are good at. Take a break. Read about how other successful writers reached their goal. (Keep the goals simple silly). If you are writing academic articles, take a break and write something frivolous. Play with your words. Have fun. Rejuvenate your mind.
- If you can get a spare of ears, nothing like it. Especially if they are empathetic. Read aloud and see if your work makes sense to them. When you read aloud, many things come into focus – flow, poor sentence construction, wrong choice of words, unending sentences and paragraphs, and a flatness to the text.
You might not need all these tips. Some bits might help. Throughout our writing lives, we finetune our writing process. Even accomplished writers go to writing retreats and use additional help that might be available.
Legendary poet and wit Dorothy Parker knew it made complete sense when she quipped, “Writing is the art of applying the ass to the seat.” It implies that we have to get to it and do this everyday. Sit and write. Sit and write. Sit and write. Well there are those who planted their feet firmly, stood and wrote, like Charles Dickens, Lewis Caroll and Hemingway. Then I would say – stand firm and write.
Use the tips others offer, but find what works for you. It’s not easy, but stay at it until you find it.
Have a tip? Share it!