Well, being simple is most difficult, isn’t it? Being simple, living simple, thinking simple, writing simple. But when it comes to writing, I feel, it’s furthermore difficult. Let me tell you about my writing experiences so far. Like every other person when I started to write, it wasn’t just the fear of rejection that clouded my brain. It had more to do with my quality of writing. Now, since I am not from a literature background academically, I find it difficult sometimes to write down my thoughts without changing the meaning of the script.
In school, at all levels, I was fairly good with the language. I always scored well in essays, grammar, spell-bee contests, and speeches compared to other students. Thinking about it now, I guess, I used to be a lot like Hermione from Harry Potter movies. One who always had her hand shooting in the sky every time a teacher asked a challenge question. The only difference being I wasn’t ever an all-rounder like Hermione and consequently, you would find me overly active only in English classes. I was always either jumping in my seat for a reading chance or restless about solving a grammar challenge on the blackboard. Well, yes, let me admit it – I was quite a pain for certain peace-loving students of the class. It felt good then to always score the highest marks. English language was always my favorite subject.
My love for the language was a major reason to try my hand at writing. And before I knew, I had entered into the world of blogging. I found WordPress the most user-friendly and followed the instructions and started to write. I have encountered myriad challenges since that first day. Majorly, my writing skills based challenges as I found writing simple very difficult. I have always tried to develop my nascent writing and take it to the next step. The constant struggle with thoughts is one thing I need to master and this I very soon realized. There are things I’ve learnt with practice and close observations. Experience is the best teacher and it is 100 percent true. I learnt mostly by observing the style of fellow-writers. Their experience has been a kind teacher to me. I learnt that while writing is important, writing simple is utmost important. There are many of us who might have recently taken up writing; here is something I would like to share with you. Now again, while this has been a brilliant help in improving my writing skills, I cannot assure if these suggestions will prove to be of same help to you. Thank you for reading through anyway.
i) Avoid use of complex words –
Keep your script as simple as possible. Try and keep your writing free from complex words. This I learnt from Stephen King’s novel On Writing. For example, when you want to express a confused state, just simply use the word ‘confused’ rather than using words like bamboozled, bewildered, flummoxed etc. While using complex words might be easy to understand for proficient writers who have a fairly well knowledge of the language, it only plays on the feeling of being ignorant in writers like me who are yet only learning and starting to write. It also helps give a trimmed look to your writing making it effort-free from understanding what you’ve intended to share with your readers.
ii) Avoid long sentences –
Long sentences can be real killers sometimes. A personal experience on that front. Let me tell you this. When I started writing, my sentences would end up being very long with about 28-30 words and hell lot of commas and semi-colons. This made it difficult for me to retain the meaning of the sentence as by the time I would finish reading it I would forget what I started with. Worse even, sometimes, the former part of the sentence would be in no way related to the latter part. This is annoying from a reader’s perspective as one might have to re-read the particular sentence several times in order to know what was spoken about. Hence having short sentences helps keep your writing simple. If a sentence is too long, try to break it into 2 shorter ones taking care of the grammar, especially clauses.
iii) Use live examples –
If possible, always provide live examples to support your writing. It helps explain your point better as readers can easily relate to it. I, as a person, like to imagine situations when I read one and having personal experiences as examples in the text makes my chances of reading the complete script double irrespective of whether it is a 200 word or 1200 word content. Therefore, I feel its advisable to try to get into the habit of including live examples whenever and wherever possible.
iv) Keep it short –
As much as possible try to have your writing short and crisp. By this I don’t mean you need to end up your script in 150 or 200 words. No! But always make sure you write only what is of interest and importance. Unwanted content only degrades the quality of your writing. Also, I feel it is imperative to remember that not all like to read lengthy scripts unless it is some interesting story or matter of experience. Keeping it concise, short and precisely up to the point might help you get into the habit of writing simple.
v) Be the reader, not the writer –
Last but not the least; be the reader, not the writer when you write. I have learnt this and I try to bear this in mind each time I sit down with my pencil and notepad. I write only what I might like to read as a reader. As writing is just once, but reading the same thing happens a lot many times by a lot many people. Now, let us not over-rule the fact that when we write we do expect our readers to read what we’ve poured over the pages. Hence, blending our script with a pinch of wit and humor always does the trick for our readers to keep them glued right till the last written word. Think of it like this, would you like to get bored with reading what has been written? Would you like to abandon it half way? No! Then why would you want your readers to feel that way about your writing? So, always be the reader and not a writer when you write.
These are certain lessons in writing that I’ve learnt in my writing expedition so far that I wanted to share with you. And of course, all this will only come with practice. And that will happen only when you write and write a lot. I haven’t used any research material to support this post since I wanted to write it based purely on my personal experience. I’ll consider this worth the effort even if it helps even one person to write better.
So, what are your writing experiences? Share your ideas as they are precious. Also, do share your thoughts and inputs on the above write-up. I’m sure you can help to make it a hell of a lot better.
– Asha Seth
- Crucial Editing Tips for Bloggers (bloggingtips.com)
- my writing (grownupsummer.wordpress.com)
- How do they do it? (morememoir.wordpress.com)