Picture a child in a sweetshop, shelf upon shelf of brightly wrapped confectionary ascending around them. Each treat promises a satisfying rush and is competing against all the others. Now make that shop a supermarket stuffed with buying options. Now make it a whole city. Now a world.
Regardless of whether you are writing a poem, a novel or bestowing thoughts on Twitter, the essential context is the same. The potential reader is surrounded by a constellation of other bids for their attention.
This is why writing should:
- Be something that offers value to the writer
- Be an evolving practice if you want others to read it!
Authors are the original directors: the people with a vision. If you already have a strong concept, the good news is there are many techniques you can sharpen to better bring it to life.
But here’s another thought: writing is something a person can do for their improvement. As Oscar Wilde remarked, ‘If you cannot write well, you cannot think well; if you cannot think well, others will do the thinking for you.’
The more we write, the better we are able to pick up our own thoughts and examine them.
And this the first task of every writer – to cultivate observation. To watch our own thoughts and feelings as much as we experience them. To annotate the transactions of life, even as we battle through them. To unpick the scenes of our own lives and in their deconstruction unravel the mysteries of being human.
Before imagination’s arrow takes flight, see that your eye is keen. Wherever your genre lands, the credulity and wisdom of your work will fly upon the steady aim of your observations.