Writing is not like plumbing, bricklaying or a farming job where physical strength is a must. Generally, people perceive it as an easy task. Only those who write know the huge extent of effort they have to put in. “Mental toughness is to physical as four is to one.” These words of Bobby Knight clarifies how hard it is to put mental effort (like in writing) than in works that require physical effort. In order to write a small piece, a writer usually spends more time in reading and finding relevant facts.
If you are a freelance writer contributing articles for various newspapers, magazines or blogs, then you will know how difficult it is to come up with a constant flow of new ideas. Often, it seems thoroughly impossible. You need to make your mind active all the time to find a good topic.
Only one out of three write-ups I start with gets a final cut. This holds true for most writers, even the professional ones. Usually, I start to write on a particular topic, type words on a free flow until I get stuck. I find it difficult to continue. When something appears incomplete, unbalanced and sluggish, then I postpone it and start on the other one. Even when I am doing other work, I continue to think about it and finally come up with a better idea.
Usually, I find it difficult to express my best at a single attempt. I am from engineering background, and I have never taken the English language subject seriously. This might be the reason for my difficulty. To write a small article of 500 words, I type more than 800 words on my Microsoft word document, erase them, rewrite, copy-paste at different locations, and sometimes delete the whole paragraph. It requires a lot of editing before it appears well cooked.
Pulitzer Prize winner Australian-American journalist and author Geraldine Brooks once said, “Writing is like bricklaying, you put down one word after another. Sometimes the wall goes up straight and true and sometimes it doesn’t, and you have to push it down and start again, but you don’t stop.” Writing is difficult even for professionals like Brooks.
Most aspiring writers read the articles of professional writers and try to copy their style. But, writing has no specific rules and style. “Style is to forget all styles,” famous French author Jules Ranard said. Many of us try to search difficult words from the dictionary and insert them in our articles. It might end up being vague. An article with simple words and phrases is no less significant than one with strenuous and obscure words.
Anyhow writing is always fun. Writers do not need an alarm clock, their ideas wake them.