Category : Blogs
Sub Category : Motivation
It was a beautiful sunny day here in KL city. The warmth of the sun brought out the side of people which is usually kept behind closed doors. Today, when I walked into the park to seek inspiration in the warmth of the sun, I saw a number of city dwellers, young and old, laying on the grass with books in their hands. It was a sight to behold as normally, I would see folks holding gadgets in their hands. Reading in the park while basking in the sun, isn't it a nice way to spend a sunny afternoon? You ought to try it if you have never done this before.
I am overwhelmed with the response I received in my message box to my previous post
Writers and Writings By Zee Zulu
So many of you wrote back and described your writing journey and how Writer's Outlet has helped you in some way. I was enthralled to read and respond to them. A lot wrote back asking for tips on how they can improve their writing and become a better writer. Well, I am no expert as I am also learning along the way everyday, but in this post I will share with you what I have learned so far through my own writing journey as well as from being on this app.
The most common question that was asked was: how to be a better writer? First of all, who is a better writer? A better writer isn't the one armed with fancy vocabulary and immense wealth of knowledge. In my opinion, a better writer is the one who is more self-aware than the rest. One who can dive within the recesses of their minds, their past and their imagination, and express what they feel or imagine in their most authentic voice. Fact is, the better writer is someone who is within us. There is no external teacher who can help you to distill that life experience that is so innate to you. The honesty has to be discovered by nobody else but the writer herself. Once you discover that voice, that honest voice that's within, the next step is to arm yourself with the necessary ammunitions to amplify the voice to make that voice worthy of being heard. And here in Writer's Outlet, we all have that one external teacher that teaches writing better than any human being out there - Reading.
There's no greater teacher for a writer than reading. Much like writing, reading is a personal act. Every person interprets a story differently, assimilating their own life experience with another writer's, and that's where reading someone else's work becomes more of reading oneself. Much like how when we watch our favourite sport and pick up techniques and style from maestros, or when we hear our favourite singers, we try to incorporate their style into our own singing, reading can inspire you to pick the style and craft from giants. It can develop your taste for language, teach you the basic of expression - from punctuation to paragraph change to metaphors to alliteration. Basically, you see a magician's act, and learn a bit of magic yourself. Reading can make you sensitive and can heighten your self-awareness that completes you as a writer, and there is no substitute for that. Here's another fact: there has been no great writer ever born who wasn't a reader.
Now the next question is, how to read like a writer? We all have read something or the other; from Ruskin Bond's short stories in school to maybe a bestselling rom-com in college, but for a writer, reading gets deeper. But what does a writer read? To answer that question simply in one line - a writer reads what writers read.
Let me elaborate. When you finish reading one book that your friend suggested, you more than likely will hop on to another suggestion, most likely another bestseller in the market. I suggest stopping right there. Don't do book hopping. Do peripheral reading. If you liked the book you read, take a few days out to study about the writer. Read their interviews, YouTube their talks, read what other writers have to say about them, find out which books they read and who were the writers that influenced them to be able to write their own book. As you do that, you will find out a wealth of information and reading recommendations which are hidden from the average mass reader. Your personal library will then become richer with quaint books, books that are recommended by your favourite writers, not some bestseller hopper. What on Earth can prevent you from being as good as them?
Here among us within the Writer's Outlet Community are many gifted and talented writers. I have been putting this out in many of my posts. If you haven't done so, go through the Writer's Outlet's Library and start reading. Discover the gems that are here within our community. Read their work, study them, communicate with them, ask them questions, pick their brain! Learn from each other. Get tips and pointers. Discover your voice, that honest voice that's within and then arm yourself with the necessary ammunitions to amplify that voice. Once you have done that, trust me, you will see the true writer in you that has been waiting to be discovered by you.
So to those of you who had written to me and asked me these questions, I hope this follow-up post helps.