Want To Become A Better Writer? Here's What To Do...
Written By: Reema Mittal
As I pen this down, my mind is beginning to get entangled in a dilemma whether it is my voracious reading which influenced my writing ability or is it my divergent writing career which influenced my equally diverse reading interests.
Writing happened to me serendipitously. Fresh out of college, I dreamed of exploring the wide world around me. And to live my dream, I decided to earn some money and landed up in a publishing company as a trainee copy editor. Although the decision was not well thought of, it eventually proved to be the beginning of a new interest in my life. During my one-year stint in the role, I learnt the relevance of an error free copy, thus, developing an eye for fallacies as minute as double spaces before punctuations and as grave as the mis-spelled name of the author. However, what I found difficult to resist was the temptation to play with the language. But alas, my copy editing job never offered me much freedom to heavily edit the text, even though it was required.
A year after, as the luck would have it, I got a wonderful opportunity to work as a Technical Communicator with a leading software company. Technical Communication involves writing, editing, designing, training, user interaction and many other aspects of communication. Initially, the role proved to be very challenging as it demanded competent writing skills; more so because until then I had never ever tried my hands into writing. Nevertheless, through sheer hard work, I slowly learnt the elements of good technical writing --- Crispness, Conciseness, Completeness, Coherence, Clarity and Accuracy. While I was busy in acquiring the new found expertise and two and a half years had already passed by, another new chapter was waiting on the sidelines to unveil itself.
I married, much to my parents' relief, and moved to my new pristine abode in IIT Kanpur where I currently reside. Contrary to my apprehensions, the place offered me a perfect break to continue honing my writing skills. My assignments now ranged from writing short personal stories of IITK alumni to field case studies, from covering cultural events to interviewing eminent personalities, from scripting radio shows for the community radio to designing content for the website. Besides putting to use all that I had learnt in the preceding years, it was here that I actually gained new insights into the nuances of good writing. For instance, writing field case studies demanded sharp observation and keen attention to details like body gestures, facial expressions and surroundings. Similarly, being a good writer differed from being a competent writer in that the purpose of the former was to completely arrest her readers' attention from start till the end whereas in the latter it was just to succeed in getting her message across to the audience. This itself was a revelation to me. It indeed made me contemplate over my reading trajectories as well which were evolving simultaneously.
Though an avid reader since childhood, it was only much later that the profound works of great influential writers – Chekov, Gorky, Toni Morrison, Roberto Bolano, Amrita Pritam, Himanshu Joshi, to name a few – permeated my being. The depths of their lucid writings intrigued me and inspired me. The Depths that remain fathomless. Time and again the timeless works seized me and transcended me to a different world – a world conceptualized by a writer through magical interweaving of words. Emanating from deep recesses of the writer's mind, these webs of words evoked myriad emotions in me. Tears, smile, anger, joy, sympathy, fear.... As all this was happening, I had no control but to be carried away. This power rests only in a good writer. It was this power that inspired me to write and improve each day in my craft.
Looking back in time, I realize that my admiration for writers and their varied writing styles and expressions developed during the course of my writing career. The more I wrote the more intelligent choices I made as a reader and the more classics I read the better writer I became.
More than seven years have passed by. So far, it has been an incredible journey with all its triumphs and tribulations. I continue to dabble into new genres of writing both as a reader and a writer. Consumed by the passion of yielding magic through words, I have started to work on my next big independent project, which is a book on Entrepreneurship.
There is so much to share and so few the words. But we must stick to the principle of good writing 'Less is more'.
Reema Mittal is a freelance writer, editor and trainer with more than 7 years of experience in the field of communication. She has written extensively for various media and has worked on many prestigious projects. She holds two Masters degrees but none of them is in literature, and, still, she dreams of reaching to the pinnacles of writing one day.
Author: Shuchi Singh Kalra