The epiphany suggested,

There are two ways to write well.

You can invest all you are into your writing, put in all the thoughts and beliefs and hopes and dreams and prejudices and assumptions and emotions that you possess, and imbue the story (and the characters) with your presence. Tell the story as seen through your eyes, felt through your skin, remembered through your memories, thought by your mind.


You can write the story as it would appear if you were reading it. Be outside it, observing, narrating, analysing. Write what is, not what you think it to be**.

And that's it.

That's all there is. As long as one can remember that, and choose one over the other, all the conflicts and struggles in how to write can just....melt away.


And it reminds me of one of my favourite quotes about literature (and writing) - C.S. Lewis, explaining his motive for writing, saying, "I wrote the books I wanted to read" (many thanks for the quote, Space!). Which struck me then, and still strikes me, as one of the most profoundly simple ways to approach any form of writing.

You should write something you would like to pick up repeatedly, and which would have the power to surprise and thrill you even after many re-readings. And, extending that theory, you should write something that readers of the category you're writing in, would like to read.

Yes, there is also a need for those who show us what we should/could be reading, instead of what we're used to. People and books who defy us to step outside our comfort zone and see what else there could be, and who end up being labelled as 'genre-defying'. But there are far too few of those, and too many pretenders to the label.


....of course, all this doesn't really matter if you have no idea of what you want to write.


Space Bar said...

"I wrote the books I should have liked to read," Lewis said. "That's always been my reason for writing."

??! said...

Muchos gracias! Included now.

km said...

My favorite quote about writing is "Life is easy. Writing is hard".

??! said...

Nice - but not much help, no?

Thanatos said...

Is it possible that one leads to the other? You start by writing from the reader's perspective, but as the piece gets bigger, better, and closer to completion you find yourself increasing your physical and mental investment,and getting closer and closer to treating it like your baby?

Cynic in Wonderland said...

the problem is even after you crack all that, how does one write it well. that is the challenge.

??! said...

This is true.

But the reverse is also possible - that you start off with you want to write, and then realise how much bigger the story is, and choose to take yourself out of the picture.

and welcome.

This is also true.

Akshaya Kamalnath said...

Ha I guess I belong to the first category..writing from my perspective. But I hardly worry about writing what is enjoyable...I write what I enjoy writing. Maybe thats why I'm not minting money out of it:)

??! said...

Hello there. I suspect most of us belong to the first. And hey - as long as you're having fun...

The Bride said...

Now which are you? (since you're being all self-revelatory)

??! said...

The bride:
I'm not really sure. I know I tend to be option 1, but in that moment, option 2 suddenly felt so much more...right. Let's see.

E.H said...


*moment of clarity*