>> Saturday, July 16, 2011
There are far too many writers on the internet, especially in the blog world who think of themselves as great writers. After having received some comments like “awesome” ,‘excellent’ ,‘fantabulous’, ‘fantastic’ , ‘brilliant’ and so on, we are inclined to believe that we have written some great stuff and continue writing more or less on the same style, assuming that it has become perfect.
Some of my friends used to invite me for food when my family was away. Over lunch or dinner, the conversation would naturally turn to discussions on food and recipes. The lady of the house would expect to hear compliments on the wonderful creations she has done. If the food was good, I would definitely say so and wouldn’t hesitate to give some compliments. But had it been badly cooked, I wouldn’t say it was good. I was afraid, had I said so, they would make it the same way the next time and then I would have to suffer the same stuff again. Some women think of themselves as good cooks. Their only judges would be their own husbands who would have been afraid to make a proper judgment, for fear of losing his daily food.
I was thinking of blogs the same way I was looking at food. If I get a one word comment like ‘awesome’ and 'brilliant', I don’t usually take that very seriously. Like someone who says the food is good without tasting it.They don’t generally mean it. I am inclined to think that the commenter had probably not read it properly or just wanted to write some comments, the way you mark attendance at the school. You make an opinion to disagree, and there goes a follower!
How to become a good writer is a matter of serious discussion. There are no short cuts other than that you should have the real inherent skills, the way some people become singers and painters. Practice can make you perfect in many other things. But I am not sure if it applies to writing. A writer must be sensitive, emotional and able to react and then express it in a way that it affects the readers.
Even though we would find it difficult to become good writers, there are many ways we can look like and act like one.
When Paulo was young, he told his mother that he wanted to become a writer.*
His mother asked him” Do you actually know what it means to be a writer?’
“Being someone who writes books’
“Your uncle, who is a doctor, also writes books and has even published some. If you study engineering, you can always write in your spare time (She was trying to make it safe for her son, like most of the mothers do)
‘No, Mama. I want o be a writer, not an engineer who writes books’.
‘But have you ever seen a writer? Have you ever met a writer?’
‘Never, only in photographs’
‘So how can you possibly want to be a writer if you don’t really know what it means?’
To answer his mother, he did some research. And this is what he learned.*
(a) A writer always wears glasses and never combs his hair. Half the time he feels angry about everything and the other half depressed. He spends most of his time in bars, arguing with other disheveled, bespectacled writers. He says very ‘deep’ things.( In our set up, I would add the dirty sling bag, and unwashed pajamas faded over years of use, and a smoking beedi on the lips. And if he gets drunk and sleeps on the road side, he becomes a writer of the masses))
(b) A writer has a duty and an obligation never to be understood by his own generation; convinced as he is, that he has been born in to an age of mediocrity, he believes that being understood mean losing his chance of ever being considered a genius. A writer revises and rewrites every sentence many times. The vocabulary of an average man is made up of 3000 words; a real writer never uses any of these, because there are another 189,000 in the dictionary, and he is not an average man.
(c) Only other writers can understand what a writer is trying to say. Even so, he secretly hates all other writers. Also the writer and his peers compete for the prize for the ‘most complicated book’
(d) A writer understands about things with alarming names, like semiotics, epistemology, neoconcretism. When he wants to shock someone, he says things like: ‘Einstein is a fool’ or Tolstoy was the clown of the bourgeoisie.
(e) When trying to seduce a woman, a writer says,’ I am a writer’ and scribbles a poem on a napkin. It always works.
(f) Given his vast culture a writer can always get work as a literary critic. Half of any such review are made up of quotations from foreign authors and the other half of analyses of sentences, always using expressions like ’the epistemological cut’ or an integrated bi dimensional vision of life’.
(g) When invited to say what he is reading at the moment, a writer always mention a book no one has ever heard.
(h) There is only one book that arouses the unanimous admiration of the writer and his peers: ’Ulysses by James Joyce. No writer will ever speak ill of this book, but when someone asks him what it is about, he can’t quite explain, making one doubt that he has actually read it.
Now you are armed with all the necessary tips from an expert author. Go ahead, start writing!
*'Like the flowing River'. Paulo Coelho