Skip to main content

Writing Style and Craft, Part 1

“Craft” is a word that reminds me of St Andrews School in Malawi, where we had art and craft classes. I can't remember enjoying those classes much because i had no eye for detail when it came to dealing with ribbons, glue, fabrics and things like that.

My sister used to be great at it. I still treasure the flowers she used to make from fabric. She used to knit, sew and make paintings with an artist's eye for things. It's amazing how different siblings can be. However, her love for crafts stayed at a hobby level.

Some one in my team asked me today what I would define 'writing style' as and to be honest, I felt stumped. I was reminded of the wise words of Dr. Joseph Schlessinger, chairman of the Department of Pharmacology at Yale's School of Medicine and the founder of three biotechnology companies in the US who stated "....... it's very hard to manage science when you have huge teams of people."

When it comes writing style, I know what it is but when i think about the hundreds of different writing styles that one comes across, the word “craft” is what immediately pops up. It is hard to define coz the writing style differs from person to person and subject to subject. If it is law that you are writing on, a specific technical style comes into play. If you are writing a novel, the boundaries are limitless. If you are writing a travel brochure, a creative but engaging style is what you need to focus on. At the same time, writing becomes priceless for the writer when it becomes craft.

"Craft" has a new meaning now because it is something I want to bring into my writing. We can't forget how lonely a writer's world is, though it is populated with thoughts about people, events and interesting scraps of conversations. Despite all of this, I truly believe a writer's job is very lonely.

In Maya Reynold's words( Source: http://mayareynoldswriter.blogspot.com/2009/03/self-doubt-and-writer.html), "We sit in front of a desk or table and pour our hearts into a manuscript. While I was writing that first novel, I didn't seek any feedback. But it wasn't so much self-doubt as it was shyness. I was embarrassed to share the fruits of my labor with anyone."

I think I can relate easily to this. When I sit down to write, there is so much i want to write about but the loneliness bogs me down and gets to me. Writing is never easy because it takes me hours to conceptualize and grasp why I want to write something and why that effort should translate into something enjoyable or meaningful for the reader. I work on honing techniques over and over again till I feel like I can't think another thought without feeling pain.

The famous writer Virginia Woolf talked about missing parties because she couldnt combine it with "keeping my imaginary people going.” Bingo! Now you know how lonely it can be, even for the really famous writers.

In Victoria magazine (January 2009, visit the source http://www.booksandsuch.biz/blog/2009/03/the-work-of-writing/#comment-634) Jan Karon says, “When I write, I dive headlong into the work as into a river, where I swim for my life, or, depending on the tenor of the story, float on my back, gazing at the clouds. I inhabit that river for five hours or two minutes, ten or thirty, whatever the day may yield. When there’s nothing more to say or conjure, I make my way to the shore, trying to separate fiction from fact, and get on with the business of living.”

I think this is very relevant because that is how intense the process of writing really is. I come about this topic today because nowadays I am dealing with so many queries from team members about writing and I consider myself a bit of an amateur writer even now. I look at an article and usually say to my team members, “Good work, please do it again.”

I think I do that because I know writing is a way of constantly evolving yourself. It can never reach an end. You have to go on trying to make it perfect and be grateful when it does turn perfect.

Over two decades, I am still struggling with my craft. People say they love to read what I write but I dont and that means I havent found my craft yet. But someday, i know i will.

Here are some links that are worth visiting for writers who are keen to work on their 'craft:'

1. http://robustwriting.com/how-to-write-error-free-a-10-point-checklist
2.http://robustwriting.com/the-1-rule-for-writing-with-style
3.http://robustwriting.com/how-to-write-more-creatively-by-acting-like-a-musician

Comments

Most Popular Posts

The Ugly Truth about Caste in Kerala

This post on Kerala's caste system has not been written with an intention to ridicule or glorify any caste as such. I do not ever judge or like to be judged on the basis of my caste. I do not support any form of caste discrimination because I know exactly how it feels to be treated differently because of one's caste. It isn't a great feeling.  

First Question is always "What is your Caste?" In Kerala, one of the first things you are bound to be asked by even new people you've just met is, "What is your caste?"  This is not a tirade against any caste but my experience, personally. And just for information, I have never used my caste name 'Menon' to this day. That is something I have learned from my father - who has never used 'Menon' in his name because he believes his destiny is shaped by values, vision and actions, not  by his caste.
As some one who is a Menon by birth, I can also tell you frankly that it often feels like a curse to be…

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Meaning, Benefit of Chanting and Who can Chant the Mantra

There are very few mantras that are as powerful as the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra. [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

Mahamrityunjaya Mantra: Benefit of chanting this mantra
This mantra is believed to have the power to remove all sufferings, diseases and bestow the one who chants it with good health and long life. It is also believed that constant contemplation of the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra can help spiritual aspirants to overcome the cycle of birth and death.
What got me fascinated about this mantra is something personal.  I learned this mantra from my father but it is my maternal grandmother who chanted it all the time and repeatedly told me of its tremendous power to protect. However, I did not chant this mantra regularly. 
But at the age of two, my son was taught some mantras by my mother who explained what it means to him and he became very enthusiastic about chanting the mantras. Following this, my mother taught him the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra and he took to …

Amazing Signs You are an Earth Angel

Doreen Virtue’s book, “Assertiveness for Earth Angels” brings to life the reality of Earth Angels in very easy way. It’s an exciting must-read! [ALSO READ: How to NEVER EVER GIVE UP on the spiritual path]

Earth Angels have amazing super powers in: MusicArtsWriting HealingManifesting miracles for others such as controlling weather conditions &  becoming invisible at will
DO READ: ASK MORE, FEAR LESS.

How to Identify Earth Angels by their Traits
To know whether you are an Earth Angel, take a look at their known traits that are explained in this book:


You have a graceful and compassionate aura that inspires people.Your presence “lifts” everyone to happier spirits – it is proof of who you really are.You don’t judge others but you overdo the “acceptance” bit. So, you tolerate even those who show no respect for boundaries.You cannot stand anyone suffering or being in pain. You are constantly “rescuing people” because it is in your nature to want to see everyone happy in this world. But y…

Gayatri Mantra as Panchamukhi: Get it right or let it go

Most people do not understand the importance of chanting the Gayatri mantra because they are not aware of its power. It is only when I began to read Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings that I learned how sacred and powerful the chanting of the Gayatri mantra is.
The Vedas represent the breath of God. The Gayatri mantra is the very basis of the Vedas. Try not to undertake chanting the Gayatri mantra as a light endeavor or as a hobby. It has to be chanted with faith, discipline and purity of mind and body. Be steady with your sadhana if you want to reap the spiritual dividend associated with the Gayatri mantra  and never once hesitate once you decide to do it.
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba said that the Gayatri Mantra is referred to as Pancha Mukhi, the Goddess with five faces that represent the five pranas or life forces. Here's more on it.


Chant the Gayatri Mantra correctly: Pause Five Times Here are some important things to keep in mind while chanting the Gayatri mantra:

1. Wh…

World Book Day: An Introvert's Perspective on Books as a Refuge

Books and bookshops have always been a part of my life. 
As a child stranded between cultures far too often, it suited me to find refuge in the world of books. I didn't know then that I was an introvert, but it was clear that my escape into the world of books was one of both necessity and protection. 
Books protected me. Back then, children of my age who considered themselves to be ''cool" would never sit next to me if I was reading a book - which is exactly the protection I wanted for myself. I wanted to be left alone.
As a habit since childhood, I carry books with me everywhere. It particularly helps when I travel - I can forget about my tensions and also get rid of strangers who try to open a conversation with me when all I want to do is escape into a book.

Books have been my best companion ever since the early years when I learned to distrust people's intentions - what they said had little to do with what they eventually did - and this continues to baffle me. But …

Say a little prayer for me in the language of love

Recently, I saw the blurb of a book which asked, "How many of you (Hindus) have seen the inside of a Muslim home and how many of you (Muslims) have seen the inside of a Hindu home?" The question provoked a spark of anger in me because I do not view relationships through the prism of caste, community or religion.

However, I understand what the distinguished writer was trying to say - we are so insulated in our ways that even when we talk about tolerance, we still don't dare step beyond the boundaries of our community, caste or religion. 

When I say this in North India, I am told, "You have only read about Partition. You haven't lost a family member or seen a tragedy unfold before your eyes - it's easy for you to talk like this." Maybe...

However, one of the many advantages of having grown up outside India and then during my teens, in Kerala, is that I never learned the social distinction between "Hindus"and "Muslims." There was never &qu…

Mahashivaratri: I'm loving it!

When I was a child, Mahashivaratri bhajans used to be conducted at home. It meant 24X7 work for my parents, especially my mother. But this is the one festival that we loved to get ready for. 
You had to prepare in advance for hosting so many people overnight. They had to be comfortable yet alert because no one who stays can be allowed to fall asleep unless they are unwell or on medication. So, if there were aunties who wanted to take a ten-minute nap, I would time it and call them exactly in ten minutes!
The joy of watching grown-ups make a fool of themselves over getting few more minutes of sleep cannot be underestimated especially when you are ten or twelve years old!
Perhaps it is those beautiful growing up years that make it difficult for me to stay away from an all-night vigil during Mahashivaratri. I can't stay away from it no matter where I am, even if the following day is a working day. This year too, I attended the Mahashivaratri bhajans at the Sai Center, Lodhi Road, and I …