Step 1: Substance
It starts with reading more
Growing up in the 1970s, our childhood revolved around books. Every book was a portal to another world – a fantasy we could live in and transport back to and go back to re-live in whenever we wished. If ever there were real magic in this world, it would be books. And the magicians would be the authors who wield their mesmerizing powers expertly through the narratives, the plots and the final caressing of minds and thoughts.
As wonderful as books are, they are also a powerful indoctrination of the mind. You escape into different thinking, sometimes beyond what you have been thought or perceive as normal. You start thinking bigger….as Belle sang in Disney’s Beauty & the Beast “I want much more than this provincial life”…she knew that there WAS much more than her provincial life because she was a voracious reader.
Armed with this vast knowledge of different philosophies, thinkers, fantasies, countries, histories, espionage, love…. One becomes a time traveller, a global citizen, a savvy politicist and a confident person who can see the world from a much broader vantage point.
And one also becomes a better writer. Because you cannot write without this rich diversity of knowledge tapped from many minds, it’s like a succession of information stored across time in your brain, that you go back to and tap when you want to express yourself.
We have the internet now, and we google everything, but that’s where the danger of being a cut-and-paster and not a writer looms. Because when everything is so easy and superficial and instant, you have no context to what you read. When you take bits and pieces here and there and paste it together, you get no context in what you are writing either.
So just like there is no skipping hard work and the gym to get a well-toned muscular body, there is no skipping the basics in getting great writing skills. It begins with the gym in your head, and books being the weights you add on to get the strength you need for the masterpieces you want to write.
Step 2: Structure
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