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Meme: What strengths should a writer have?

October 7, 2007

Suburbanlife tagged me for a meme, to list out a writer’s strengths. She listed out strengths which she feels a writer should have and hopes she will attain…and asked me to do the same…

Out of her five points I am picking one (Incredibly acute ability to listen, to hear) and making it my first point.

1. An incredibly acute ability to listen, to hear. Add read. Whether one is writing a news report, non-fiction, or simply writing a poem or a story…you need this ability. Otherwise the writing will come across as arrogant, one-sided and at the worst, mediocre.

2. I am afraid I must snatch one of Surburban’s second points too… commitment to labouring mightily at their craft because I believe that brilliance does in fact consist of 90+ percent perspiration! The greatest inventors of our time were in fact obsessed with their work. Such obsessions produce brilliance.

3. Passion. Without passion for the subject one writes about, and for writing itself…the writing will be lifeless and will not draw people in.

4. Honesty is important too. Being true to oneself…writing what one really believes in, even if it means exposing oneself, is really the underlying thing. Readers are smart, they can sense the hollowness of words…

5. Curiosity. A desire to know things, find out, explore…

6. My last point is usually taken for granted, but I have to mention it. One must be well up on grammar: sentence construction, editing, vocabulary, spellings. There are very few people to whom this comes naturally and so one has to make a conscious effort to improve oneself. There is a nice ebook, Paragraph and Section breaks by Noah Lukeman which is worth a read.

I always strive for the above qualities, which I have only in varying degrees!

As an aside, I must mention that one thinks one knows the language but actually one doesn’t! I didn’t know the exact meaning of ‘meme’ although I had read things with the word meme in it. 🙂 That sounds dreadfully ignorant huh, specially for someone who thinks of herself as a writer! For those as ignorant as me, this is the definition of meme:

…any characteristic of a culture, e.g. its language, that can be transmitted from one generation to the next in a way analogous to the transmission of genetic information

It’s a small word with a big meaning! Go figure it out!!!

I am tagging a few fellow bloggers, for whom I think blogging is more than just blogging. Those whom I feel have a love for writing. I feel they can add to this meme and, they can do it in their own way. Either qualities that a writer should have, or what they would like to see in their own writing, or the strengths/weaknesses they see in themselves as writers. Or even how their writing has changed/improved because of blogging. Its flexible…in fact there is no compulsion to take up this meme at all! Its okay if you excuse yourself, although I rather hope you won’t.

So here goes (not in order of preference!):
Qweenminx, for her awesome ability to let the words pour out…and pour out honestly.
Rambodoc, for the superb wit evident in his writing.
Gabriel, for some of his remarkable insights into human behavior and good writing.
Ordinary Girl, because of her writing, and her posts.
Mahendrap, an IT guy with an intense desire to learn the craft of writing and excel at it.
Shefaly, for her intellectual curiosity.
Paul, for his prolific flow of words and ability to write concisely and clearly.
Bharath, whose writing seems to be getting better and better day by day!
Mariacristina, because she loves to write and learn.

Give us your thoughts people!

(For all those who are wondering why I am taking up this tagging thing (I generally refuse!) its because I accept tags only if they are awards 🙂 and I accept tags if they are about writing 🙂 )

Thats about it. And I repeat, no compulsion at all.

22 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2007 10:13 am

    Great list, Nita. I like what you list – passion, honesty, curiosity – you have these qualities as a writer, and you obviously work very hard at your writing, checking for thoroughness of information, but what I value in your writing is you seem to follow up on information provided to you by others to check your opinions, and when you are not sure of something you are honest and humble in admitting of this.
    You have provided more blogs for me to check out, and I look forward to what these other bloggers have to say on this “meme” and other ideas. G

    Thanks G. 🙂 And thank you again for tagging me for this wonderful meme. Nita.

  2. October 7, 2007 2:48 pm

    Er.., um.., okay.. gulp.. I get it.
    I have to write about writing skills needed, right?

  3. anuragsaurabh permalink
    October 7, 2007 3:31 pm

    Hey Nita ,
    Do you have the link to ‘Paragraph and Section breaks’ ebook ?

  4. October 7, 2007 4:47 pm

    Rambodoc, yeah. Needed, have, whatever!

    anurag, I have sent you an email

  5. October 7, 2007 7:31 pm

    Hello Nita,
    Thanks for these neat suggestions. They are very helpful especially for a new blogger like me. I have also transitioned to a wordpress site. Will let you know the address soon.

  6. October 7, 2007 7:40 pm

    you are welcome!
    And also, welcome to wordpress !! 🙂

  7. October 8, 2007 12:58 am

    *sob* i did not get tagged…but then again, have been MIA
    I agree with you completely.
    U also need a good agent when u finally get published cos apparently, publishing houses will not take your work without representation of an agent….

    so in other news, this weekend had a bollywood movie binge. Saw Dhoka, Cash, Provoked, Page 3 & Corporate.
    Number one was suprisingly good; slow to begin but had some good points that maybe better experienced actors could have delivered better
    Number Two was a waste of my DVD player’s time (I left it on and went to do my homework so my time was well spent). I was so dissappointed in Ajay Devgan. Is he unaware that he is too much of an adult man to pull off those type of characters. Who wrote the script for Raincoat? He needs to remain friends with that person.
    Number three was lack luster. Aishwarya Rai is the same. Naveen Andrews is watered down and maybe something was wrong with my DVD copy but the entire movie was too short.
    Numbers 4&5 I got cos I am now hooked on Madhur Bhandakar. Corporate was the better of the two. His movies always start out slow but by the end, you have got the message and you are in. I have seen traffic signal twice.

    So how was ur weekend?

  8. October 8, 2007 1:56 am

    1. Write about things that interest you.
    2. The ability to create compelling fictional characters.
    3. Respect the reader’s intelligence.
    4. Be able to summarize when needed.
    5. Know the difference between filler and background.
    6. Become a narrator of imagined scenes.
    7. Have passion for the written word.

  9. October 8, 2007 7:08 am

    Catwalq, hi. sorry!! you know that is one of the reasons why I don’t like this tagging thing…really its so hard to choose. But your comment has confirmed to me one thing…even if I take up a tag again, I doubt whether I will ever tag anyone else. In fact even for this I almost didn’t..!
    I had a pretty dull week-end anyway! Nice that you saw all those movies. Haven’t seen any except for Page 3 which was so so. I want to see Corporate though as I have heard its good, and traffic signal, yes I liked it a lot, more than page 3!
    Look, do this meme, I will be very happy if you do. You are a writer!

    Brian, thanks for those inputs. 🙂

  10. amreekandesi permalink
    October 8, 2007 7:34 am

    This tag idea is a great way for the established(famous?) bloggers to share their knowledge/tips!

    Thanks Nita, and Brian.

  11. Bharath permalink
    October 8, 2007 9:15 am

    Thank you.. Nita

    I never knew this tagging thing.. It looks to me very helpful.

  12. October 8, 2007 1:38 pm

    Thanks for tagging me, Nita! This looks like a very interesting meme.

  13. October 8, 2007 2:49 pm

    Thanks Nita. It is indeed a challenging one since almost everything one would think of would already have been covered by the previous ones!

    Just blank it all out, and write from your heart! – Nita.

  14. October 9, 2007 2:25 am

    Thanks for the tag, Nita!

    I have received a lot of good writing advice in the past and so it shouldn’t be too hard to put it together into a post. My main problem is following the advice! Sometimes I get in such a hurry that I don’t really do a good job of thinking through what I’m trying to learn. 🙂

  15. October 10, 2007 6:26 pm

    Thank you, Nita, for thinking of me. If I were to create a meme for you, it would be “the jouranlist with a dscerning mind” award. The problem is, there aren’t too many bloggers who are as thorough as you, especially when it comes to the subject matter you study – your beautiful country of India.

    I’ve been reading a book by a SF writer I admire, Orson Scott Card. If you don’t mind, I’d like to outline some of his ideas, because they’re very interesting, and somewhat contrary to popular thinking. I’ll post, and then ping back.

    I’m looking forward to checking out your list of blogs. It’s time for me to update my blogroll!

  16. August 1, 2008 6:47 am

    thanks for the list. I am still immature blogger and writer..
    writing is the best way to express yourself

  17. October 25, 2008 9:25 am

    Came here via Shefaly’s blog on the same topic. I guess its fair to say that if passion and curiosity exist, most of the others will follow.


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