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Reflections on Improving the Craft of Writing

Creativity and the flair for writing are considered as natural traits, and the generally accepted notion is that writers are born and not made. To a certain extent, this is true; the ability to write is an inherent quality in an individual and one cannot expect all humans to be blessed with this talent. On the other hand, writing skills can be developed by any person who possesses some interest in literature, by proper guidance and motivation. This is why students are given the opportunity to take writing classes in colleges. In the case of those who have some natural flair for writing, such classes will help them in honing up their skills and making them good writers who can employ their talent to achieve success in the world of literature.

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I have had a natural flair for writing, even since my childhood. My Father was an ardent reader and, therefore, I had received a very high degree of exposure to literature from a small age. By the time I reached college, I have started reading Kafka, Hesse and Sartre. Though my father’s library consisted mostly of novels, my interested slanted towards short fiction, and I really enjoyed reading the short stories of writers like Hemmingway, Fitzgerald, Poe etc. My admiration for the genre mainly stems from the fact that it provides the writer the leeway to confine a poignant idea in a very small canvas, and thereby convey the intended message to the audience. In the modern world where time is everyone’s constraint, readers may also be more comfortable with shorter forms of fiction because they don’t have to spend too much time reading the work. Therefore, I have always felt that short stories and flash fiction hold better prospects for the future world, and chose this as my genre of writing.

However, the actual process of becoming a writer, from dreaming to be one, has been a tedious and demanding pursuit, which called for immense perseverance, dedication and hard work. I have had to make a lot of sacrifices in order to grow, develop and improve as a writer. My father, of course, has been the main inspiration I had; his enthusiasm and guidance have been factors that helped me in my incessant toil for achieving my goals. He constantly exhorted me to read a lot and practice writing. Following his directions, I embarked on the activity of relentless reading, devouring story after story, exploring the literary devices that the authors employ, in creating the mood atmosphere, emotion etc in their works. After I write something, I used to read it over and over again, each time finding scope for improvement in structure as well as content. Upon endless revisions, I will give it to my father who will offer me a detailed feedback on each aspect and then I under take the next revision.

I have kept exploring other venues that could help me improve and develop my skills in the craft of writing. One of my tutors has advised me to join a writers’ group and suggested that Zoetrope Virtual Studios, available at www.zoetrope.com, will be an ideal place to hang out. My interaction with several prominent as well as budding writers at this portal has been a determining factor in my growth as a writer. My ability in the craft of writing has registered a tremendous improvement within a few months of my joining this writers’ group. Now, looking back, I know I have traveled much farther from where I started up as a writer; but looking ahead, I understand that I still have to traverse endless distances before I reach the point where I can derive the satisfaction of being an accomplished writer. However, to any one who aspires to become a writer, I can confidently suggest that by exhaustive reading, expanding vocabulary and intense interaction with other writers, a person can grow, develop and improve his or her writing skills.

Above all , I believe that the writing course I undertook in the first year of my college have helped me a lot in understanding the mechanics of the process of writing. It is a fact that aspiring writers harbor some misconceived notions about the art of writing. They believe that ornamental writing makes one a great writer and, therefore, they tend to use a lot of adjectives and adverbs to embellish their prose. On the contrary, from the writing classes I have taken, I learned that such redundant words only help to add extra flab to the text and do not render any true value to the writing. I also came to know that simple writing is more effective than complex blabbing which distracts the readers. The writing classes have also made me conversant with several technical aspects like different styles of writing, how to format the text, what are the specific points to be kept in mind while submitting a manuscript for publication etc. All in all, I can say the courses have helped me in honing up my inherent talent as a writer and made me explore literature in a new perspective. The motivation from my teachers, coupled with the inspiration from my father, has prompted me to make sustained efforts in improving my writing, as a result of which I have become a better writer than I have been, before I joined college.

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