Becoming a writer

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


  1. much to think about. we encourage, not critique our blog friends - and this is OK.
    writing is our affliction and cure, Dr.

    Aloha from Waikiki;

    Comfort Spiral


    > < } } ( ° >

    < ° ) } } > <

  2. Thats a nice thought Doc. You know blog is one window through which any amateur can just start scribbling to express his/her thoughts. Few turn out to be decently fair enough to express their veiws, few are not that great.

    But anyone can write and publish - thats the beauty of it. Yes, ambiguous statements like "awesome post", "brilliantly written" are all you scratch my back, I scratch yours kind.

    Few times, people really dont read but just want to make their presence felt. Its better to ignore such and get encouragement from genuine folks and improvise. thats what I have learnt. More than anything, I have met some wonderful people here :)

  3. Doc, you have to take a bit of care when you crticise the comments like awesome, fantastic, beautiful, so nice etc. Though it may be debatable as to whether they mean it or not is one thing , but there are people who also become so conscious of a bloggers right to say so, that they would prefer to mince you.

    You seem to be a great admirer- fan of Paulo.

    The privileged points that has to be borne to become a writer is a bit daunting. But interesting indeed. It is easy to identify the ones who talk about a literary creation and claim to have read it cover to cover while not having read it.

    Many of us took to putting down in letters our thoughts and though not all of us can claim to be in the mould of a great writer, the space here has given much to tell, and know.
    A good argumentative culture and tradition with respect to the dissenter is what is required foremost to become a good writer.

    Nuances of good writing may follow.

  4. Awesome, Doc! ;-)

    Stereotypes emerge from a 'monotype'. a)- i recognize Ayyappan, John Abraham, Pavithran and a host of others, whom I do not think to be 'psuedos'. That the original was imitated does not make the original less so.

    Like in all other worlds, that of the writing too has only two kinds - the honest and dishonest. However skilled the writer maybe in his craft, the dishonesty, the intolerance, the contempt for others would eventually show up the writer for his worthlessness.

    In ridiculing the less vocal of one's readers for their one-word comments such as 'beautiful', etc - why don't we gratefully accept that single word of complement? There are so many who don't even do that. Is it correct to belittle them if they cannot express their appreciation better? But then, write a few blogs or poems, quote a few great authors, make the readers reach out for dictionary for every other word - we do presume that we are much better than the plebeian.

  5. I'm really sorry doc, for using that cliched word again, Fantastic and brilliant, that's the only terms I can attribute to this beautiful post..

    years before, when I wanted to do a course in media, my father advised, only people with writing abilities can do something in media, so, son, my opinion is to do some other courses..

    Dear doc, I also got some brilliant, marvelous comments to some of my posts also, but I'm aware of that many of those comments are of the nature that u just mentioned in this post..

  6. I do get awed by beautiful writings and sometimes words fail to express what i feel .There have been many instances where i have felt and wished in my heart that some of my posts were written by Balan , Anil ,you or Insignia .Writers are born not made .I am glad that blogger world is not just about writings ,it is also about sharing ,connecting and interacting.Have a nice week Doc.

  7. Hi Doc,
    m thinking hard whether i should write wat i always think abt your posts. They are always amazing and yes I do read the entire post, before commenting ;)
    I agree with Kavita, "Writers are born not made" this is one art that can not be learned. if you know how to express yourself properly only then you can put things in the right order.
    And the most important part is making your readers understand the message/idea that you want to share. If they get hold of the gist that means the communication process is complete.

  8. Totally agree with you. I also get these one word comments sometimes which I think are more by way of invitation to visit the comment person's blog through the back link created. But sure, the blogosphere is an interesting one as in it gives an opportunity for all of us to express ourselves. But the kind of writing that writers do is often difficult. My blogging I think is more by way of thinking aloud. I have started a fiction blog ( and I found that writing fiction was really difficult. It is very emotionally draining and takes up a lot of time ( add understanding wordpress as another challenge). But I like your honesty about the comments. A good comment is always welcome as also a positively worded constructive criticism.

  9. Thats why i feel elated wen i get proper comments ot the posts, big long ones rather then awesome and otherwise ..

    It is important that IF we comment we say the correct things cause is helps the writer in knowing whats right and how they can be more creative.. and be better..

    Writing does come with a responsibility especially when people read us , so we have to be careful ..

    I have always admired your posts and the way you write ..

    and thanks for the tips and the pointers I got a lot to learn a LOT Lot to understand . thank you for sharing


  10. Nice one Doc.

    I try to be honest Sir :)))

  11. Awesome ,excellent ,fantabulous, fantastic , brilliant and so on...


  12. nice. awesome, excellent on and so forth..
    I always admire your style of writing and trust me I read the whole post in silence switching of my cell and music on my desktop :)..
    your writings inspire us about reality and people who go through suffering...
    your post on Annie was too good!
    I got emotional,another good writer is "Alka gurha"
    every-time I read her I admire her writing skills...
    Bikram is very good..he writes frm heart...very emotional..I guess punjabi puttar are like that!

  13. Features of a writer made me laugh. But, it is true most of the times. And may I say your finding that writers are sensational, emotional and reactive is a good one too. I'd been trying to write for a while, but i just can't get immersed. I wish I was back a college girl, I used to write so much so effortlessly. Best luck to you doc.

  14. it was really nice and you are a good writer!

  15. Well doc, you are right. No one like insincere comments and every one -- the one posting it and the one reading it knows when a comment is just said. But really, what does one write for pictures or poems that many bloggers post :).

    And writing blogs don't necessarily make one a writer in my opinion. I am a professional writer,and it is my job to write grammatically correct stuff with the right punctuation and explain the concept well. But, blogs are about sharing a slice of life and hearing different opinions. And, bloggers really enrich your life, lift your spirits and even the criticism is welcome.

  16. You are an excellent writer. Your each and every post is fantastic and I love to read it. I appreciate for your wonderful post.
    You are welcome at my new post-

  17. Dear Friends
    Thanks for your comments.
    I was not at all trying to make fun of us,bloggers.Blogging is different.We communicate on simple terms.There are some writer bloggers who maintain exclusive sites for their creative works.And also some who write exceptionally well.

    I know very well my limitations,when it comes to writing.My vocabulary is limited too.And I just try to write something in simplest of words.

    I think there is nothing wrong about self criticism.When I said blogger writers,that includes me and you. The rest of the stuff on writing, I just meant it as a joke. Dont take it seriously.

  18. Your acknowledgement is awesome.
    Guess these cliches like awesome, fantastic,etc can be the idea for a blog post itself

  19. Over a period of time, you know which comments are sincere! Also, all bloggers are definitely not good at writing. But I think a blog is to express one's thoughts, and if it does that - the job is almost done. And in addition if you know how to do it well, there will only be appreciation. Good post.

  20. interesting read
    like the story full of thought and knowledge

  21. I agree with u doc. in my country, we have so many courses of writing, such as via online or school. I just think is not necessary since writing is not kinda math or something. moreover literature, we can't take some courses than we'll become an literatur's writter.

    btw, happy weekend, please sent my love to your family :)

  22. Well this one was truly great, I promise, I mean it!

  23. Doc,

    You certainly write well and your posts are worth reading and appreciating.

  24. Doc.. After reading this.. the only thing that came to mind was.. I have a lot more to learn about writing.. :(

  25. In a few week before i start my blog "My world", i am also writing in my blog about the single and great moment in my life. You are right, there are so many people who write in blog and they think about they are great writers. I know i am not a good writer, am only writing for my satisfaction, and i don't want to became a bad one.
    Thanks for put like this type of post.

    And sorry for my bad English.

  26. very nice write up doc...
    you have a great blog here..!
    Tasty Appetite

  27. This is a lot of information to digest. You are right, it is hard to become a good writer. The knowledge of words is a good start, knowing their meanings and the want to substitute words for one another. This is one reason I like to post about things I find browsing the internet. How is things going with you?

  28. You are welcome at my new post-

  29. I wasnt to say excellent post but you warn me that I won't be taken seriously. Are you being modest by the way? I know I am repetitive and like cooking the south Indian Idli sambhar I tend to stick to what I can cook/write reasonably well. Tried and tested you see. My readers have a way of running away after a few visits should know since I did not get inputs from you recently.
    Padma (Hip grandma)

  30. Interesting. What's heartening is people are attempting writing more.

    Most arts, be it writing, painting etc. progress in a direct proportion to their prevalence in the culture of the society one is a part of and as well as the value or lack of value the society places on it.

    Been watching a few plays adapted from Munshi Premchand's writings, and two of them were on the state of affairs on the writer / writing profession. And things have not changed much since his own time.

  31. You have just been awarded with a set of awards sir..please receive them ..visit my recent post.

  32. so true, even I cant praise just like that, everything or person should be real good in my eyes, then only I praise, otherwise just thanks is enough for dinners etc.

    And blogging world is like you scratch my back, and I yours sort..everything is praised by blogger friends creating a virtual world.

  33. आप अपनी तरह की यात्रा दोस्त, के लिए धन्यवाद!

    Aloha from Waikiki;

    Comfort Spiral


    > < } } ( ° >

    < ° ) } } > <

  34. @Mishi
    Thanks for the awards.I will soon pick them up.
    @ All my friends
    I am in the process of settling down at the new work place.The work is entirely new,quite unlike my previous job.Less free time.
    Kindly accept my thanks for the comments. I will write to you personally when time permits.
    Welcome. keep on blogging.Who cares about language!

  35. I laughed at the writer's description. It was cute!


  36. ha ha love it.................. were u looking at the mirror n describing yourself ???????????

  37. Being a writer is very difficult to be a writer known to many people. But each person must always be trying from the small things, then they developed into a great writer because of the experience and talent they have. Talent is better, because it is one of the most lucrative for writers. If someone is talented in creative writing, then he will easily find so many ideas and way of thinking to create a post which attracted many readers.

  38. This is true, because it is only by understanding the other that we can describe the other in ways that make readers believe the other exists.

    Empathy, dare I say it, also lies in the heart of a good salesman, teacher, lover, or religious icon.

    We are drawn to those who reflect ourselves.

  39. This is one reason I like to post about things I find browsing the internet. How is things going with you?

  40. Evocative images, provocative thoughts, tension without pretension -- that's what makes for good writing.


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