Friday, July 20, 2007

Sharing Nugget #46

#46: Why I (Don't) Write

It has been a long time since I wrote.

And I think it is because it has been a long time since I did reflection. Reflection is harsh, tiring, and at times painful. But one must do it sometimes.

My favourite prof once told me, "Writing is the purest form of thinking".

Thinking is tiring, harsh and at times painful. Thus it took me a while to get back into writing (once the summer work slows down).

Anyway, I am writing an article for a magazine about a community service event. There is a great story to be told, and I am under some pressure to deliver it as it is. Thus, I am revisiting "Why I write" by George Orwell - a master of writing - to reflect about how to tell a story well.

Here are some of the gems he shared which I want to know by hard:

"A scrupulous writer," he says, "in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: What am I trying to say? What words will express it? What image or idiom will make it clearer? Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? And he will probably ask himself two more: Could I put it more shortly? Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly?"

Then I remembered another of my prof who told me that a good essay usually takes three drafts for us mere mortals. Then I also remembered a very sensible line from a movie about a great writer who said, "Write the first draft with your heart. Then write the second one with your head."

I had done the first draft. I tried to tell it as I felt it. And of course, it can be improved much much further. Now I have Orwell's guidelines to write my second draft.

Watch this space.


Anonymous Steve said...

I found your post by Googling "Writing is the purest form of thinking." I love the quote and I wanted to find the origins. Can you tell more about your professor, and perhaps where the quote came from originally?

1:48 AM  

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