Writing About Writing

How do writers write?

You might say its a pretty stupid question. Considering how everyone knows they probably use a pen and paper, computer or laptop or phone or something. But really, no kidding. How do they do it? We had a lit fest in our university last week and we heard from many playwrights, poets and novelists. All of them spoke about different genres in literature and also about different languages. In my country we have rich literatures in all regional languages too. But I have always wondered how people go about writing something like a novel or a play. 

A visiting author was asked about it in an interview at the fest. She said that it isn’t something that is fixed. Obviously. Everyone has a different way of looking at things and so everyone will write differently, will have a different creative process. She said that the first thing one should do when one thinks of writing is the reason behind it. Do you think you should write because you want to become famous? Earn money? Because you think its the ‘in’ thing to do? Or because you feel that there is something that you want to write about, you feel, really feel, that what you want to say has not been said before and that you think the only way you can get your point across is through writing about it? If that’s the reason then go ahead and write. I attended an interview of an Indian novelist named Jerry Pinto who said that people criticize an author’s work and say that ‘I don’t agree with you’ or ‘You could’ve written it in this way’ or something like that. But he said that his answer to such questions and comments is ‘Why don’t you write about it?’ He said that if you have something you really want to say there’s nothing better than writing about it. It is one medium which can reach people world over in one go.

Then she said that once you have decided your reason, your motivation to write, don’t stop and think about it or ask people what they think. Just go ahead and write. Whatever it may be, however it may be. Once you have written something, try to read it objectively, like an outsider would. See if you like it then. If you do you’re good to go.

Okay so when I heard all this I thought it sounded kind of easy. But I know it isn’t really. I have been writing this blog for seven months now and I know its not easy. I mean its not that I don’t enjoy it. Now people might say that if you enjoy doing something then it shouldn’t be difficult to do. But its not always true, is it? Atleast I don’t think it is. Writing takes effort, especially if it has to be good writing. I definitely don’t think I am anywhere near ‘good’ yet, but its ok. I am going to take efforts and I am hoping that I will eventually get there. 

Let’s get back to the question I started with. How do writers write? I have heard many writers say that they take from their society. They develop things and incidents they see in their surroundings to make a beautiful poem or a play or a novel. I understand that, I can see it, I can read it. But its not just developing something that is already present. You need an imagination, you need a way with words. Why is it that not everybody who writes becomes a writer? There is that talent one needs alongwith an imagination. An amazing sense of observation, another thing that a writer needs. I don’t know why I am listing out these things, like qualifications for a course or something. But anyway. 

I have always thought how amazing J.K.Rowling is. She thought up an entirely new world. I mean, I find it difficult sometimes to put into words things that are already present around me. But to make an entirely new world and base an insanely successful story on it! That need skills and talent. Her writing makes the wizarding world seem so real. I have been waiting for my Hogwarts letter for ages, but I know it isn’t going to come. But I can’t help thinking what if Hogwarts or wizards do exist. I just can’t see them because I am, sadly, a Muggle because Muggles don’t see wizards even when they are right in front of their noses! Very unobservant, Muggles. This is dangerously close to becoming an HP post again….

Let’s talk about some other author. I have read a couple of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, Jeffery Archer, John Grisham and many many many more. These are some which take stories based in the real world. Even romantic stories by,say, Julia Quinn or Meg Cabot books (okay so these have a lot I can write on but now is not the time, I am just giving examples here). There are so many people who write biographies and autobiographies. An imaginary world is not necessary for an interesting read. Books are written about all sorts of things and people read everything. 

If what is written is good it is read. So that’s my whole point. So many good books, poets and plays, so many good writers. How do they do it???

It would be so totally awesome if I could write a good book! But there has to be a good reason for writing and there has to be something interesting to write. Till then there’s my blog. I have written an entire post about how people write! That’s kind of funny, isn’t it? 

Until the next post then.


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