Since childhood, I have been a storyteller. I remember owning a locked diary – a tiny one in which I would write stories daily. I considered it to be a secret affair so I kept it closed most of the time; but, since I did not have a personal closet, I could not hide the keys away from the eyes of my elder siblings. I recall them reading my memoirs and laughing aloud. I hated it, but I was too little to do anything.
As I grew up, what I carried with myself was not the journal, but the fire to grow into a writer. I accept that I have a lot to learn, and I am yet to write my best piece. But, this is something I am passionate about.
When I became a journalist, the initial years were quite frustrating, as I was working on the desk. I wanted to develop into a storyteller. A talented correspondent is one who is an excellent writer. This is what I believe. I do not mean you should sensationalise a reportage; but if the narrative has no heart, it is not a story. I was always inclined towards social issues because that is a living story, something that humans go through every time, live every day. Journalists consider it their report, but it is somebody’s life.
I have reported on some alarming issues, child rights, child abuse, sexual assault of women, acid attach, medical negligence, so on and so forth. Very few stories made me smile. I feel this is what current journalism has developed into. Negativity sells more than positivity.
I still watch for the time when a Booker Prize is announced, or when a Noble honor in literature is revealed. I wonder what it takes to turn into a successful writer. When will I be part of the waitlist–the longer list? Well, there is no harm in dreaming.
Words are exciting. As a child, I owned a journal in which I would include one unique word daily. I was not consistent with my practice. I would do it during the holidays and then lost the course of it. A terrible habit, I say. Only if I persisted with it, I would have been a superb novelist.
So what it takes to become an outstanding author. Well, a seasoned novelist is a better person to give advice, but if you are still holding, you can take a few tips from here.
Read a lot: Reading at least ten pages every day will make a drastic improvement in the way you write. Do not read to count the number 10, understand every word, and learn. It could be a novel, a work of non-fiction, a biography, anything you are interested in. Once you complete ten pages, think about it. Some times we don’t read with full concentration, our thoughts start roaming around the world, and our eyes are moving from one sentence to another. Careful, focussed reading is essential. Read a variety of books. Do not be very choosy. Humans keep developing steadily, and you never know which one word, one phrase, one sentence becomes your inspiration for life. So keep reading.
Write a lot: If you can read, you can write. Writing is the second pre-requisite to becoming a better writer. Scribble about anything, life, books, movies, food, children, parenting. Wherever the thoughts take you, write about it. Different people get inspiration differently. New ideas crop up my mind when I drive. Figure out what works for you. Maybe it is walking, cycling, exercising, cooking – it could be anything. Usually, it happens when you are alone in your thoughts. Pick that one thought and write about it.
Learn a word Daily: Choose better and strong vocabulary in your writing. It makes writing more engaging and clear. Make a habit of learning a new word daily. Incorporate it, create few sentences, and repeat the word so that you become familiar with it. Keep a dictionary handy. Smartphone has made it even more comfortable. Interactive games like crossword can be engaging and educational. At the end of a week, revise all seven words you have learnt throughout the week.
Be Engaging: Everybody loves a story. The story fascinates a child, an adult, and the elderly alike. Write as if you are narrating a story. Some people are gifted storytellers, some may need practice, but remember, each one of us is a storyteller. Bring that storyteller in you alive once again – engaging piece of writing appeals one and all.
Be Consistent: Nothing beats being consistent in your writing. You can perfect anything when you are consistent in your life – be it exercising, walking, reading or writing. Practice makes you perfect. Writing every day will magically hone your skills. Keep writing every day. At least 200 words daily will do the trick. But remember to write every day. Review yourself at the end of the month. In about three months, you will see much improvement in yourself.
The Covid-19 epidemic has given us time to focus on our passion. If writing is your passion, take action now. Follow these few steps and become a writer. You never know, you might win a Booker or a Noble Prize someday. Happy Writing!!