Writing Tip #2 Who Can Be A Writer?

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There is a general feeling that writers are special people, possessed of skills and talents that the rest of the world lacks.

I agree wholeheartedly with this feeling.

Yes, writers are special people and yes, they do posses a special skill that the rest of the human race seems to lack. This special skill is called imagination.

But I don’t believe that only some people are blessed with imagination while the rest are forced to make do with their dull, commonplace way of looking at the world.

The rest of the world obviously thinks this way and that’s why people often ask me, ‘But how do you imagine all this? How do you even think of it?’

This is a question that is on par with a question that a magician is usually asked, ‘But how do you make things appear and disappear?’ Both these questions are uttered in tones of incredulous surprise by people wide-eyed with amazement and disbelief.

When I tell them, with complete truth, that every one of us is born with the ability to be a writer, they give me a disbelieving stare. But I do believe that each of us is born with the powers of imagination. We muffle it, we suffocate it and let it die a silent, un-mourned death.

What if we nurtured our imagination? What if we fed it with words and phrases, with images and sounds? What if we allowed our imagination free rein, and let it write where it willed? Let it draw what it wanted to? To begin with, it might well be like letting a child loose with coloured chalks in a pristine walled house. But in time, the imaginative child in us is sure to graduate, just like children move on to notebooks. And that is when writing becomes serious, notebooks are a mess of ideas and computer documents stuffed with neat pages of politely spaced words, an organized, well-mannered line of ants going about their business.

So, does that mean that each one of us can be a writer?

I am not sure about that, but I am certain that all of us come equipped with the skills to do so. What we choose to do with this is up to us. After all, most cars come with at least five gears. What if we are happy to chug along at a sedate pace, content with the second gear? We are sure to envy others who have adventurously put their cars into the fifth gear, as they shoot ahead of us. When the truth is we have no one to blame but ourselves.

And that’s why I believe that anyone can write.

But not many choose to do so.

Writing Tip #1 Choosing to be a Writer

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How did you know, people often ask me, that you wanted to be a writer? These are people who have tried their hand at writing and enjoyed some success. But fear holds them back from chucking the job that pays the bill, uncertainty stops them from devoting all their time to writing. They look so hopefully at me, eager for any tiny crumb of comfort that I can offer them.

I know that I loved reading books from a very young age. I read anything that I could find, even the old and tattered copies of Reader’s Digest that we owned. I was always reading, very often the same books again and again.

Somewhere along the way, I began to dream of writing. But writing was difficult and dreaming so much easier. So, for a long time that’s what I did. During my days at college I began to write poetry and short stories. And then, a story was published in the children’s pages of a newspaper. All of a sudden being a writer seemed like something that I could actually do.

I wish I could say that this was the moment when I knew that I had to be a writer. But the real, shiny hard knowing only came years later. By then several of my stories had been rejected. Every single rejection depressed me and I went around for a few days convinced that I could never hope to be a writer.

But…I always went back to dreaming up another story. And I always wrote that story. I sent it off too, to magazines and newspapers, hopeful that this one would find a home and appreciation.

That was the moment of knowing what I wanted to do. I wanted to think up stories and I wanted to write them and send them out into the world. And I wanted my stories to give people the kind of joy books had always given me. And if facing rejection was part of the deal, I was willing to accept it.

If something gives you joy, then that’s what you should be doing.

If you find yourself willing to embrace it, warts and pus filled pimples and all, then that’s what you should be doing.

It’s as simple as that.