What is it about writing that gets some people thinking it is an esoteric art that originates from a magical place, while others feel that anyone who can read can be a writer? I belong to the school of thought that the truth lies somewhere between these two extremes.
Good writing can be taught, and I have conducted training sessions on English grammar during my stints with several corporates, but I do believe one must have some basic pre-requisites to be able to grasp what is being said. Nothing can take the place of reading. Some writers may not be entirely on top of the nuts and bolts of English grammar. Still, due to their extensive reading, they have developed an ear for the right word, imbibed the art of crafting a good sentence and developed the ability to tell the difference between good writing and mediocre or below-average writing. Others never read but sign up for content writing courses, and, unsurprisingly, have a tough time stringing two sentences together in flawless English.
Another thing that is oft overlooked is that a good writer has to be a good thinker. Everything that he or she commits to the page must flow well. A series of sentences must flow into a paragraph, and a paragraph must convey a thought. A string of such paragraphs with varied sentences must convey the meaning that the writer intended. One must have the ability to translate ideas onto the page by using precise words. That’s the power of an array of words. I believe that a love for the language is non-negotiable. Above all, consider the audience: the reader. Business communication would entail a different vocabulary and emphasis distinct from that of a novelist.
I know so many people who think that “anybody” can get into content writing. The difference between such writers and those who are serious about their craft is as stark as night and day. And then others say they don’t get the “time to read.” For a true bibliophile, reading is like breathing. You don’t “try to make the time for it”. It is like survival. You somehow find a way to do it. True bibliophiles make the time to read, and not because they “have to” but because they “want to.” And that makes all the difference.
This post first appeared on my LinkedIn