Towards Better Democracy

Good words, well written, better the world. Good literature betters the world immeasurably.

Take the writer


The writer emerging into the profession of writing, in all its many forms of interest to him, with ambitions to make a living from his efforts, wishes to find his voice, that which is distinctive, authentic, and is of his true self. The writer, as a starting point where we explore this topic of emergent artists into their chosen field, written of in previous posts, cannot write at all unless, and until, he has knowledge of himself, and of how he might express it. He is going to make errors, write less successful pieces, some of which are going to jar him and his intended audience alike. You might say this is akin to relearning to play the piano after many years of little or no practice in public. Of course, no one in their right mind would tolerate such a situation. How awful  would be the experience. But a blog is different. Is a public arena where mistakes and fumblings are par for the course. It is the nature of the medium. No one expects every blog writer to be superb and widely sought after, gains a huge and wonderful audience all but overnight. Some write in a manner which appals certain audiences and they will never go near such blog. They may be self serving, written by people who have never grown up and do not wish to do so. Such people cannot be called writers and never will be such. Such people lack self awareness, the first prerequisite of a writer, as noted above.

In writing one learns by doing. No writing school on this earth is going to teach you how to be a writer, far less a good one, never mind a successful one. One does that on one’s own. Should you have the skills and knowledge for writing got from any of those workshops and classes, such tedious things, filled largely by those who want to write but who have no talent nor drive to do so, those rudiments will serve you well. The rudiments of writing, the skills required are hard earned, and workshops and classes serve well to equip a person desiring to write, seriously write: If you have the patience for them and they are led by someone who is competent to do so. You cannot learn this craft from the web, nor from books for dummies. No writer of whatever kind is a dummy.

For writing, like any field of human endeavour, worthwhile activity, is hard work, and the basic knowledge of it, to gain a real footing in it.

One learns by practice just as the pianists. The writing skills are practiced every day. Every day without fail. The nature of the human requires this. Any professional runner, as an example, will tell you this. Now, one does not to be an obsessive driven with a kind of manic insanity, though it may, heaven help such people, but a reasoned, thoughtful approach where one is conscious of what one is doing.

This finding of the voice is not easy. No examples of other writings efforts can serve. They may act as influences but too readily and anxiously taken aboard will result in the newly emerging writing in him or her being derivative, an imitator. This suits some and not others. If such a writer is not ambitious and does not or is willing not, to strive for higher levels, will be content and accept the results of his labour. He sells and that is what matters to him. For no professional writer, let us be clear about this, wish to not gain an income. It may be little and may supplement other income. But no writer, a professional writer worth the name, works for free, or seldom does, only with specific non monetary gain in mind.

As in the mastery of music writing and reading, for the composition of music spoken of in an earlier post, so for the writer. At the very least the use of commas, and all punctuation and the like have to be mastered. No editor is going to tolerate a writer careless or unschooled in such things. Editing any and every writer is already hard enough. Editors work against deadlines, usually with an overabundance of writer with whom to contend. They simply do not have time nor patience for the incompetent. No judge in a full session court would tolerate an incoherent lawyer unable to represent his client. His client would not be pleased either.

One does not wish to extend the length of any post unduly. After all, future posts can carry extensions of the topic. Let us consider the case of a writer who wishes to develop as a fiction writer. Rare would be the case where that writer wrote the equivalent of War and Peace as a first work. Writers usually start small, short stories. The would be fiction writer, if he is realistic, will recognise that the first efforts will be risible and editors will return manuscripts or not at all. Either way the attitude of the seasoned publisher and editors behind them will be, “Don’t waste my time.” They may say, if you are lucky, “Try again later when you have developed your craft.”

Those of who write blogs are lucky, perhaps the word is fortunate. We do not have to write in small, cramped rooms, with little heating, and little food to put upon the table. We can have jobs and live in comfort while we sweat and labour to meet the requirements of that publisher, that editor, who know what sells and what does not.

Every writer wishes to write successful books, books that sell and make a lot of money. For a writer with such goals and aims who does not, I wonder what he is.

Here, in front of you and me, is a remarkable medium. Look at the Huffington Post.

Oh, and patience; the writer learning to write, needs patience, as in any of the arts.

Malcolm D B Munro
Thursday 10 August, 2017

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Filed under: Arts, Book Review, Current Events, Media, Memoir, Music, poetry, politics, stories

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