What good writing actually means
All my hope lies in the writing.
It’s been about two years years since I took up writing. It was an accident, one can say. In the latter half of the second year, when I was interning at one of the insurance giants, my colleague bought a kindle for herself, and showed it to me. I loaded a book up, flipped a few pages and fell in love with that device, at that very moment
The first thing I did when I reached home that night was to order one for myself.
I was always interested in reading. Though I never managed to read more than seven or eight books a year. With Kindle, something changed. Something clicked. And I was hooked on reading like never before.
That year I read twenty books. And fifty the year after that.
During my readings, I realized I was attracted to the shapes of the sentences. The way words were arranged to form a sentence. The way their combination brought out so many feelings in me. Every now and then I would find myself stopping and rereading a sentence, again and again. For it told me, more than what it showed.
Those experiences would open up my soul like nothing ever did.
It was the month of April, the year two thousand and fifteen. I was lying on my bed. I’d completed my post graduation in business management and was awaiting a call for joining. I’d been campus placed. The day couldn’t have been more mundane. I was thinking random things, nothing remarkable. My train of thoughts must have drifted to the recent trip I had taken to the Nainital, a hill station in North India, for I was remembering mountains and rivers.
I remembered the time when our group had camped near the river. It was winter, and I was standing with my feet submerged in the water. Normally, when one is day dreaming, thoughts pass from one to another. But this time, I felt teleported to that place standing on a river bank. Suddenly I remembered everything. The cold water caressing my feet, the balmy sun rays on the back of my neck. The fresh air, the rustling of trees, the sound of the birds from a nearby wood, the ripples in the water. I felt everything as if I was actually living that moment.
Then I don’t remember when after that, I clicked on the notepad icon on my laptop and started writing. To be frank, I wasn’t writing or thinking. I was only noting down what I was feeling.
Surprisingly, when I was there on the bank of that river, I never noticed consciously any of these things. I don’t even remember seeing them. I just know that I felt a serene calmness that day, and that feeling I’d carried with me and made it a part of me, even though I had no words for it, until the moment I actually wrote it.
I guess this is what the great writers do. But much more often, and regularly than I ever did. If you list down all the writers in this world, even the so-called like me, and make a huge list, I would rank among the last one hundredth of a percent. I know that. But I know this intuitively now, with a good certainty, that the best writings are not about planning or structuring, making bullet points and then going forward with the process of writing, the way we are taught in school.
On the other hand, it is a process exactly opposite to this. You have to let go of these constraints and write what you really feel. The structure and the arrangements come later. The experience comes first.
I’m far from mastering this craft called writing. Nor I’m not gifted with this art. But I’m trying to understand it.
I’m trying to understand what it means. Its nuts and bolts, and structures and scaffolding.
How good writing really works? How this alphabet of mere twenty-six letters can do so much? How can good writing make people cry and laugh and think? How can it transport them to the places that they’d never seen, never been there.
These are all a mystery to me. Though I’m hoping to shed some light on this.
Why I want to do that?
For I have tasted this feeling a couple of times — that trance-like feeling you get when you really enjoy an art; when you are in the zone, when you really put your heart and write or draw or create something new. In those moments you become free from your physical existence. Your body becomes merely a tool to give meaning to your higher self, supported by your sub-conscious — a plane which is above and beyond the three dimensions, where you become one with your thoughts and creates something new, something real.
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Like you, I have also pondered over, a many times, about our purpose on this planet. What does it mean and what we are meant to do here. Read the article, The Purpose that delves into this so common yet so mysterious thing called life and its meaning.