Thursday, June 19, 2008

Peace and Quiet

Peace and quiet is a must-have for most writers, in order for them to think and write creatively. These days, however, peace and quiet is almost impossible to achieve. Whether as a passenger onboard public transport, a driver in a car, a pedestrian walking on the street, or a worker at the workplace, there are noises, sounds, and chatter everywhere.

Take public transport for example. In a bus or train, we hear people talking over the phones or to one another, people playing music on their mp3 or mp4 out loud, parents teaching their children or telling stories from story books to their children, among other noises. One of the ways for writers to get away from all these s to go a place of quiet peace, such as in a room of your house, or out at sea, or to a nature reserve or park some distance away from the noises of vehicles, mobile devices and the kinds.

If time does not permit for the writer to go to the world of nature or to be away from the daily hustles and bustles of life, however, the next best thing to do is for the writer to have his or her own mp3 or mp4 player plugged in with soothing music, such as the instrumentals. One audio CD which I particularly like that helps me put my mind to rest is Peace Instrumental by Integrity Music. If you, like me, need to calm your mind before you write, you can try listening to this CD.

With noises surroundings us almost every moment of our lives, it is important for us to find peace and quiet in the midst of all these. Without a heart of solitude and an environment of calm, it is often hard to produce good writings, and good writings are what we must have if we want to be good writers.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Colons and Dialogues

Colons are commonly seen in dialogues within news stories, but they are never seen in fiction writing because colons hinder the flow of reading.

Take for example the following dialogue in a newspaper:

    A witness of the accident, Howart Steward, 47, said:

    "The boy was running across the road while the traffic light was still red."

In fiction writing, the example above will have to be reworded to exclude the colon, and this may be done in several ways. For example:

    "The boy was running across the road while the traffic light was still red," Howart Steward told the policeman.


    Howart Steward was at the scene of the accident when it happened.

    "The boy was running across the road while the traffic light was still red," he told the policeman.

From the examples above, it is clear that news and fiction writing requires dissimilar styles in writing. The use of colon while acceptable in news stories is a no-no in fiction writing, so if you are writing fiction, remember always to exclude colon in dialogues.

P.S. This is one of the reasons why many journalists find it hard to write a novel!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Writers' Block: Clarity of Mind

Writers' Block
As a writer for a corporation, I sometimes encounter creative blocks in my writing, especially when under pressure to get something done within a short deadline.

A few days ago, I was assigned to write a corporate email to a Minister of State on behalf of the top management to give an account of the events that took place while she was visiting our country. It was evening, and I was expected to finish the writing on the same day so the mail can be sent out first thing in the next morning.

After three hours of struggle, I managed to complete the draft, which I deem as not exactly up to standard. What I was unable to achieve in three hours that evening, however, I was able to complete within half hour early the next morning, entirely re-written and with the needed punch.

The fact that an article can be better written at a different time shows the effectiveness of writing with needed rest, and the importance of clarity of mind. By the end of a day, writers are often too tired to think, and when pressured to come up with something within a short time, the written work will never be as good as when it is written with a clear mind. Much can be achieved with better results when a writer is given the needed rest and a fresh mind on another day. However, such luxury is usually hard to come by, therefore, alternatives such as a break in routine can help.

To find out more about overcoming writers' block, read my article on Inspiration vs Hard Work.