The Truth About Writing and What Is Not

Writing is the art of putting our feelings, ideas, beliefs and arguments on paper.  By forming visible letters and characters, we can communicate and convey meaning. The Blackwell Encyclopedia of writing systems defines it as a set of visible or tactile signs (Braille and Moon for the blind and impaired) to represent units of language systematically.

I want to believe as from the above description everyone can write. Well, we’ve been taught the writing skills since we were children. All you need is organise your thoughts and write a lot and boom; you will make it.

However, That Is Not True

Writing as a career and craft is far more complicated. You will need to develop new skills upon the old, practice, research on writing until the simple sentences evolve into elaborate stories. To write exceptionally well, you need a union of skills: spelling, grammar, editing, vocabulary, punctuation and organisation skills and that may force you to go for writing classes. The writing process is linear, and the ability to grasp a new skill depends on your mastery of basic skills.

It Is Painful

Writing is not easy and undoubtedly not fun when you are struggling to put your imaginations into words. An experienced writer will tell you it never gets easy, and it just gets faster. It takes effort, and there are days you will grasp for structure and lack of motivation.

Just because the story follows every rule of grammar, has the right characterisation, has a unique plot and is classy does not mean it will pass for a good story. Often your stories will be declined over and over again, but you have to build tolerance for failure. It’s a tormentor’s love, demands much, challenging but returns little.

It’s a Habit

Anne Lamott makes a light comment when she says; it’s about getting your butt in that chair every day at the same time to do the work. To write or research actions that will support the writing. It requires practice, only through writing will you become a better writer. It takes some mad skills for you to sell that brilliant work.

Meaningful writing comes from a habit of turning yourself inside out, being ruthless and unbiased. It will take years and millions of words for you to find your voice. When you need encouragement, do read books like The writer’s Manifesto.

A Solitary Activity

When writing you do it alone with your pen and paper or while sitting behind your laptop. The late nights, the early mornings and the days away from your loved ones will get lonely. There is a need for that sweet solitude when you are alone in the world in that place where you are immersed in your thoughts not knowing where you are going and no one is calling you back. In addition to your work learn to find a balance it’s important to create time for family and friends.

Not All Battles Are Worth Picking

There are thousands of writers out there desperately looking for ideas. Other writers will steal your ideas and generously share it on writing forums. Learn to battle with the demons that frantically push you to be a sleaze.

Instead, silence the demons and create new ‘real friends’. Network with influential people, do favours and serve your way to the top. Grow a thick skin that is inevitable to all that comes.

Writing Is a Compulsion

Is that so? If writers were always compelled to write, there would be a lot more writing. “I have to write, or else I’ll go crazy”. In my opinion, these phrase is just a mantra for an aspiring writer that push them to write. There are days you will lack enthusiasm and eat the back of your pencil because you’ve written your mind dry.

It Is Okay to Be Rejected

A work of art takes several drafts before it is finished, and several pieces of art before it becomes publishable. You have to make no money writing for a no-name publication before you eventually make it in the Wall Street Journal. Do not sweat over rejected manuscripts, write not for the fame or recognition but because it’s a calling and you cannot, not write.

Must Love Writing

If you enjoy writing, you will weather the storms before it pays off. Write for the pure thrill of entertaining, educating and because if you do not, no one else will. Writing is a serious vocation,-“a tedious process of continually dying to yourself and being reborn” not for the light-hearted.

Need for a Spell Check

It does not matter how many years of experience you have or how brilliant your work is, we all make mistakes. Even if your story is so brilliant that it throws the readers straight into your story world, if it doesn’t follow every rule of grammar, has spelling errors it will not be published.

The truth is, writing is a passion. It requires discipline, persistence- even when everyone is not paying attention to your work, tolerance for failure and rejection and hard work.

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