By Tinky Ningombam
I was loitering around the city one evening and suddenly chanced upon a small standee in a squiggly writing. It said “Books sold for Rs.50 each”. I rushed to the spot, with a steal like that who wouldn’t? Or so I thought. A closer scan of the books on display and I knew why it was sold for that price. Even the hard-bound books disappointed me. I admit I was judging by the cover(s) and the author’s popularity or unpopularity (in this case) but nothing impressed me, not even the fresh covers. So I walked away after 10 minutes of futile digging into the piles. And I thought to myself that it is sad to be published and not be liked and bought and worse: not to be bought even on a discount.
It is a tough life for the creative kind: the artists, the writers, the singers, the exhibitionists. Public acclaim is fleeting and unpredictable and Public criticism can be quite unforgiving. And to display your work, pouring out your words in public, to be judged and measured and analyzed bit-by-bit is definitely a huge obstacle.
Writing for starters can be quite scary as one tries to find his/her style, the lingo, the genre. The written word is more concrete than a conversation. Putting ink on paper or type-fonts on a document is like a binding contract with one-self. First and foremost, from the many forms of writing that can be explored, what one needs to find is a form that one is comfortable with. We have different kinds of writing to pick from: factual recounting, reporting, story-telling, procedural recounting, reviews, event narration etc.
Leisure writing or writing for a hobby is a great habit to cultivate while one is young. Not only does it provide an outlet to explore one’s thoughts, it is an art that can be honed if given the right push. I have seen time and again that young experimental writers dabble themselves in poetry initially, moving on to prose and sometimes real-life accounting. It takes quite an amount of experimenting to find one’s genre. While practice makes perfect, it is important to eventually find the form that one is comfortable with and to create one’s unique personality. Keeping a journal helps in cultivating a writing habit and becoming comfortable with words and in expressing oneself. Kids nowadays are fast adapting to public journals and have started keeping diary blogs and notes online, which is a good start for open conversations.
To start with, the most effective step to creating a writer’s own personality is by being true to oneself. Unless in ghostwriting, where we write in character without disclosing ourself or where we create an alternate identity. But most writers have found comfort in writing from one’s own unique perspective. For example, News reporters and journalists are trained not to write with a bias, so most of the time they will write mechanically most of the time so that it doesn’t give away too much of one-self on paper. But not always in the case of a feature-writer. A feature writer will reveal his/her likes/dislikes, his/ her opinions and verdicts. But that is what will make the audience love or hate them. First and foremost, a young writer needs to know how to pick his own side and stick to it. No-one loves a writer without an idea or a point of view. That is how one creates his/her identity, a stand. One can start writing about what one is passionate about, unbiased thoughts irrespective of how unpopular it may be. And most often than not, it will turn out to be the best piece of work.
Writing is an art that only a few are talented in, but it can be a satisfying hobby for self-expression. Some golden rules that can help a starter:
• Write about what you are passionate about
• Think about who you are writing it for
• Be sure of how you want it to be read
• Read and learn from your favorite Classic writers and Authors
• Have the courage to erase your own words again and again
• Accept criticism and try to use it to your advantage to improve later
As William Faulkner also said “Read, read, read. Read everything –trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You`ll absorb it. Then write. If it`s good, you`ll find out. If it`s not, throw it out of the window.”
So for all the dear young boys and girls, if Writing happens to be your thing and if you plan to pursue a career in writing, there are many options to explore from. There are many many types of writers : Copywriters, Reporters, Online Article-Writers, Bloggers, Columnists, Novelists, Poets, Content Writers, Scientific Journal Writers, Business Writers, Resume Writers, Speech Writers, Song-writers, Screenwriters, Scriptwriters, Freelance Writers, Corporate Data Writers, Press Release Writers, Translators and much much more.
The idea is to find the natural Writer in you. And it always works to just keep it simple. No point in confusing your readers and yourself more than they already are. Happy Writing.