I recall an interesting memory. My cousin is a crewel craftsman. One day, when I was a school-going kid, I heard him talk about the counterfeit crewel. He said, “Nowadays markets are flooded with fake crewel and unreal Pashmina shawls, etc.” I asked him, “How do you know that?” He said, “I can identify and differentiate real art from a fake one.” I was curious to know how. I went on inquiring, “How can you differentiate a real piece from a fake one by just looking at it when they look alike?” He smiled and explained. He asked me some questions and I understood. He said, “Suppose you come across a beautifully hand-written paragraph in English. It has no overwriting and no cutting. It looks so beautiful. However, there are misspellings and grammatical errors in the para (my illiterate cousin mentioned the use of commas, capitals and full stops). Who would be able to identify these errors? An expert in the English language. You too can identify these errors because you are learning English at school. But, an illiterate like me, cannot identify these misspellings and errors. Just like you differentiate such a paragraph from a grammatically correct passage, in the same way we identify counterfeit crewel.” His example was quite comprehensive. And it happens to be relevant here with the content of my writeup today; our work, as writers, must be error-free to the best of our knowledge and hard work. And then we must ethically aim for the market. Writers are the torch-bearers of society. A writer is a thinker. A writer is an important member of civil society. He crafts his emotions and thoughts masterfully into a bead of words. His words reflect his thoughts and feelings. A writer sings through his words. A drop of a writer’s ink makes millions of people think. Words prick our sleeping brains. Such is the charisma of a writer. It is not just a dose of guidance for the people, it’s the writer’s escape therapy for himself. It is a harsh truth that writing has evolved and depleted with time. Today some craftsmen of this art perform irresponsibly. They have forgotten the etiquettes of writing and publication. We have been witnessing mushrooming of people who call themselves authors. They write books and compile poetry anthologies. There are others whom I learn from. They are masters of the craft. Yet, they hesitate to call themselves authors and writers. Once I asked a writer—whom I have learnt so much from—why she wouldn’t write a book. She replied, “I have learnt so much. Yet I am afraid whether I could write a book or not.” She was being careful and responsible. “I want to learn more and hone my skills so that I achieve a standard where I may write a book” she added. A reader may wonder does writing also have rules, regulations and etiquettes. Yes, which part of life doesn’t have etiquettes! Just like every Tom and Harry writes on Facebook whatever he wishes, throwing etiquettes to gusts of indecent winds, today many scribblers forget some basic etiquettes while writing and publishing.
I have been into writing for long. My writing has evolved with time. I have comprehended a lot and I am still learning. On contrary to the notion, writing is not just being good at grammar, vocabulary and content. This is just a small step towards writing. Writing the piece is just the beginning of writing. The essence of writing lies in editing, modification, rewriting, revisiting the matter, adding and deleting, singing the text and coming up with a perfect blend of words and sentences. It is about making the reader stick to the craft. And all this forms the craft of writing—not just piling up of sentences. The beauty of writing doesn’t lie in printing bombastic words and long sentences. The beauty of writing is embedded in using easier and common words—and their beautiful pairing and blending—and striving to write smaller sentences. In writing, the smaller the sentences, the better the para. Our aim as budding writers must be to understand this mandatory process of writing and we must work towards achieving the same. Write, rewrite, revise and refine. Now, when you have written a good piece, it is time to make it public. It’s time to contribute through your write-up. The need is to pass on the message successfully. How do we do it; we sprinkle our article to multiple editors at the same time. Wait a moment; don’t just shoot the same piece to multiple publications. Send it to where you wish. Then wait for their response or space to your work. Let them take some time. If the house publishes, congratulations. If they do not give space to your writing, then you may explore another possibility. It’s unhealthy and uncivil to toss a single email to many editors at the same time. We often come across a same write up being published by multiple newspapers or magazines somewhere around the same time. Shun this practice. Write a piece for a single publication. I humbly discourage the practice of sending a piece to multiple destinations. It doesn’t lend any credibility to you in the eyes of the editors. It is not the sign of being a great writer.
Postscript: Writing should heal and soothe. It should satisfy your scholar self. When you work hard to learn about writing and apply the learning to come up with a beautiful piece, it would satisfy you. Your article is your baby. Throughout the process of writing, you see it taking birth and you prune it to grow. Then its persona gets polished with step by step editing and rewriting. Each step adds jewels to the crown. Do it with responsibility. Remember, when you write, it is not just about you. It’s about all those who have been learning and writing. You represent the whole writing community. A blemish on the forehead of a writer is a deformity on the face of every other writer. Take this noble job with utmost care and caution. Develop writing etiquettes in yourself. Grow up as a writer. Read more and more. Read about the laws that govern this part of life. Happy writing!
(The author is MBA, NET, IBPS. He is Manager Scale-II in the Middle Management of a reputed PSU Bank. He writes features and columns for various newspapers and magazines. The views are personal.)