Most writers generally follow a norm in writing. Think extra hard, plan, research, and write. Is it really important to think ‘extra’ hard before you write something? The major object of this thinking extra hard may be to get ideas for your writing. But the object of this article is to see if it really important or not. We will see why when you create your first draft at least, you needn’t strain your brain too much like that. However, the general assumption is that you are privy to what you are going to write about, because otherwise you just can’t write it.
I, most of the time, write an article on the spur of a moment, without giving much room for thinking at all. Most of my highly successful articles were the products of a leisurely, relaxed mind.
Now, what’s its advantage—the advantage of impromptu writing? Why I insist writing crap before you delve into details?
Why the moment’s offspring are most productive?
The only way these questions can be answered is experimenting. This is what you should do. First, just think up an idea to write about. Like “How to drink that hidden bottle of whiskey without your wife knowing?” Okay, we have an idea here. Whatever your idea may be (it may or may not be logical), think it up, and write it down. Now, it is time to create the article on “How to drink that hidden bottle of whiskey without your wife knowing?” Write a crap article first. Just go about it with your instinct, and write up the crappiest piece of writing you can make; just make sure you create it in an order arriving at whatever you want to say. Here is what craze took me to…
A cow is an animal that loves to get milked; so, logically milking the cow should be pretty easy. It should be easier than gulping down that bottle of whiskey you preserved since last year, without getting noticed by your wife, in the ‘deepest corner’ of your toilet. Now, it comes really hard on you as to how you can have that bottle of whiskey from this ‘deepest corner.’ Just imagine how easily you are going to learn how you can milk the cow. In that inspiration, you can really get your hand down to the deepest corner, and take the bottle out all right. Now, an extra effort is required to drink your milk, right?
See that, it is pretty neat, huh? I guess you can write something like that. Go crazy, that’s good to do! All artists are crazy in one or other way anyway.
Be very relaxed. Being relaxed puts your mind at the most comfortable level it can be in. In such a state of mind, you are well open to ideas. You can manipulate these ideas, and you can arrive at your own conclusions (most of which may be plain dumbness, which you can weed out in editing).
Now, reason hard. Since you can reason really well when you are completely relaxed, and never so well when tensed, reason well now. Include goods and bads, dos and don’ts, advantages and disadvantages (pits and crests, rises and falls, and lights and darks). Everything that you can think of in your reasoning.
Look at how the language flows: Extremely important. When you are writing, make sure your flow is correct, you are really arguing and reasoning to arrive at an important point that you try to make. This is your aim, an excessively important thing to a piece of writing. One is never complete without an aim (though most of the time, the aim is a product of experience). Secondly, are you arguing toward or away from your aim? Since it is very important, you should see if you are slowly approaching your aim or not through your writing.
When you have got your crazy first draft finished, you can give it a day and rest. Next day, when you start working on the article and reworking, think hard. You can reason better, weed out unimportant points and reword the content. But you will notice that your work the day before was really rich in ideas. All you need is weed out dirtiest regions and fine-tune the voice. Now, you don’t think very haphazardly or indiscriminately, but very carefully and methodically. You can reason better, and see if a particular construction is apt for the place or not. You check out meanings of words in confusion. You proofread for grammar, errors, punctuation, mistakes, and whatever is needy. This is the most painful phase of writing, and most unappealing. Editors are real hard workers.
Metaphors and Similes
They are very important, though not so for the highly abstract writing. However, creative non-fiction is an important branch of study. Great writers indulge themselves well in the sea-deep expanse of metaphors.
When you are sure you reached the aim, you can stop working on your article and get yourself rest for the day before starting on the work of editing as I described above.
One other point I wish to make is that most people think that thinking hard before writing is a professional quality (methodically thinking, researching and finally writing). However, this is no longer true. It is at the time of editing that you put your brain to work. When writing, it is to play that you put your brain to. Moreover, realize that when you do something you love to do, you are most productive and efficient on that.
Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008