The writing looks bad. Foggy. Uncertain. Meandering. It will get worse before getting better. So, keep writing if you wish to see any improvement. Try any style and manner. Improvise and indulge your explorative nature. Some days you may even be totally baffled at where your writing is heading, but trust this period of curious wanderings. It will surprisingly yield good fruit … eventually. Every writer needs to pass through this valley of illusion before arriving at a stage of meaningful clarity and direction. 

Don’t be too quick to come out of this period prematurely. Sometimes when you explore in this manner, you may find pathways into other genres and fields. And when you do venture into other fields apart from writing, don’t be afraid of the creative fire within disappearing. It still grows, trust me. Creativity is a gift that once received will not depart any time soon. In these new fields you may not even be writing, but doing something completely different. Take those times to discipline your unbridled self. Some slothfulness will go through that! That procrastination will be clipped somewhat. 

Take the time to grow your craft as well by observing the people around you. Character is king. Notice their whims and fancies — how their outward behaviour is almost always purported by the inner hidden workings of their egotistical self, no matter how innocent it may look on the outside. But do so without any condemnation, preferably with an open mind. Absorb like a sponge, but do keep the filth in a locked box in your mind. It is so easy to fall into the trap of judging other people negatively without taking stock of your own vulnerabilities. And sometimes in judging others it is inevitable that you will be judged too. Even so, while you are running in judgemental mode, you lose culling insights into the human psyche. 

One habit you should start developing early: be mindful. Carve out a time daily to be quiet and sit in that place of mindfulness. The benefits are advantageous not only to your writing but also to your interpersonal, affective, and intrapersonal development, or in simpler words — something you should always veer towards — your social, emotional and self development. Creating that habit of self-awareness will certainly help you in times of disappointments and disillusionments. Everyone, who is striving for purposeful meaning in life, will sooner or later, encounter those hard times. So, remember to breathe. 

Final words: don’t look for magical breakthroughs, or overnight success. Hard work, perseverance and a love for what you do will always bring you to a more wholesome sense of fulfillment and contentment, something your society unfortunately do not always teach or bestow honor. But as you read constantly and in every genre, you will find that to be true. Clarity in your writing and life comes only through daily practice. By exercising that muscle consistently, you will grow in ways that will amaze you. The magic is truly in the writing. 

 

 

By Mr Timothy Wong, Lecturer & Coordinator for Monash English Bridging