It’s not about myself or my blogging. I have always been trying to understand the meaning of the writing. Writing is not the process of writing with your pen or pencil or typing on your device. Even from childhood, when we teach the children to use the paper or drawing material kids scribble, they write what they want. But it is their way of thinking or conceptualising. We feel that the kids are doing something meaningless, but it is how they visualise things, and they are trying to reproduce them. Once as a child, Priya, my daughter painted an apple blue. When she was told that apples are never blue, she said, “I feel that the apples are blue!”
But the fact remains that if someone had told me that I would be writing a blog every alternate day, I would have laughed. I used to consider myself very smart when I was a student and felt that there was no need to write down anything. After all, I thought that I was the most intelligent guy around, so my brain was capable of storing every detail!
But now I realise that my thinking from student life was the folly of the youth. Writing is the result of many processes. I feel that everyone has a writer in him or her! In olden days, writing something involved a stack of papers or a notebook, plus writing material and not to forget erasers and sharpeners. Now a cell phone or a laptop is good enough- I prefer a laptop. Publishing what you write is getting easier and easier day by day! Here I am only talked of tools of the trade but not about how the writing results into an essay, novel, poem or an article; this I had never thought into details.
The practice definitely makes one a reasonably good writer over a period. It is not that you wake up one day and start writing poems after poems. Another vital thing is self-doubt. Self-doubt can be an ally. It is because it serves as an indicator of aspiration. It reflects love, love of something we dream of doing, and desire, desire to do it. If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I a writer? Am I an artist?” chances are you are.
If you have a doubt and discuss with someone or ask someone, do I think I can write a good travelogue on my European tour? Such thoughts indicate that you have an inkling to write but have doubts or don’t feel confident to do it. In such cases, you start putting down things that come to mind on whatever medium you are comfortable with. A friend of mine still prefers to write on paper. He shares the images of what he writes on digital media.
Anyone who struggles with writing (or any creative pursuit) knows that when it doesn’t feel right, it’s not something that you can force. And if you do, you end up with a blank slate covered in inadequate words.
But what most people don’t realise is that the resistance to writing is not unlike the resistance to other skills. And what is the antidote for this? Practice. Exposure. Iteration. Practice makes any seemingly impossible task familiar. You can learn to write.
The most important aspect of writing is to realise that there are no metrics that can define somebody as a writer. When somebody boasts that he or she is a great writer, he is not telling the truth. It is quite straight forward, every time you write a page on your own, you are a writer, if you play the guitar on your own, you are a musician. Each time you encourage your colleagues to do something, you are a leader. A writer need not be writing an article a day, or a novel every year. It is the act of doing it yourself can define you as a writer.
Don’t forget that writing is just sharing your thoughts with others; you do it with others while chatting or on the phone anyway. As a writer, you share your thoughts in writing. Writing itself is not difficult, but it is the thought behind it that is difficult. Writing is thinking, and that is why it is so difficult. It not only thinking that is important but thinking correctly is important.
Writing is essentially a robust tool that enables us to clarify and communicate our thoughts. While writing, you are forcing yourself to think critically and exercise parts of your brain that are typically on auto-pilot. Einstein had once said, “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” In attempting to formulate a written piece, you are going through the exercise of transforming vague ideas into clarified concepts externally, but also internally.
Correct thinking is critical in life. In my software business, I have observed many problems were reported as tricky and difficult to resolve. But what I used to do is to ask the person resolving the problem to create a problem statement. I found that in more than 95% of the cases, people could not write the problem statement correctly. When you are not able to explain the problem correctly, how can resolution be easy?
Writing and thinking are two peas in a great pod. Critical thinking leads to good writing, which leads to clearer thinking, and so on. By improving your writing, you are also improving your ability to think and vice versa. So then the question becomes, how does one activate this process?
In some rare instances, one may be able to write about a subject or an event. But it may be something like a tribute or writing about a specific event or an achievement by individuals or organisations. But it will be more like a newspaper piece!
But one thing is definite, it is not an easy thing to write consistently, but keeping your grey matter active all the time will help. One can write consistently about a subject by writing a series of articles or take a difficult path of writing on different subjects. Reading and researching consistently is important to activate grey matter.
Friends, I have observed one of our WhatsApp group. People have suddenly started expressing themselves in short bursts. Let me assure you that there is a writer in everyone, hidden from everybody, including yourself. Let it come out. It is not a writer hidden, but a painter or poet may also be hidden. Photographer? Maybe. When I have spoken to a few friends they are worried that people may not appreciate them, people may not like what they create, but don’t forget that creation itself is a beautiful idea, give it a chance and start doing it.