Writing is tricky.
At least till the point that it comes naturally to you. Expressing ideas seems simple on the outside, which it certainly is not. Given that a creative mind generally has several ideas bouncing around at any given time, the challenge lies not only in identifying the right idea but to nurture it to the point that you can write about it.
This brings up an important topic, nurturing ideas.
There is an art, a certain kind of mental balancing of how much one should think about an idea and nurture it in the mind before starting to write about it. The trick then lies in listening keenly to one’s intuition, been able to differentiate between the signal and noise and identify those ideas of yours which are really unique and worth writing about. A writer has to develop an ability to run the appropriate number of improvisation cycles over an idea before it is fully baked and ready to be carved on the paper.
One other thing that has changed for modern day writers is the ergonomics of writing.
It is safe to assume that more writers write on a virtual screen today than on physical paper. This has changed the way they think or don’t think about an idea.
An easier tool to write and edit results in lesser amount of deliberation that each idea goes through compared to how much it would have naturally received, had the writer been using a more traditional medium for writing such as paper and pen. I am sure that the dynamics of a writer’s thought process tend to change a lot depending on the medium that she uses to express the idea.
Hence, a good writer has to take into account the evolving nature of tools used for writing while forming her mental makeup for thinking about ideas.
Reading is trickier.
All this translates into more stuff written today than ever before, not just because of there been more writers and readers and stuff to write about, but also because the threshold for anyone to be a writer today is negligible, if any.
This is not necessarily a bad thing in itself. More writers means more literature, more literature means more chances of good literature. The problem is that the ratio of above-average literature to below-average literature is exponentially degrading.
Today we have more folks with an expertise in any given field, more bloggers with an opinion to voice, more salesmen with an awesome product to sell, more charities in need of funds, in fact more of everything which is in need of the attention.
Magic then does not lie in being the absolute best, it lies in creating art and telling a story around it.
Thas is what Einstein did with relativity. That is what Google has been doing with search. That is what Rolls Royce used to do with its luxury cars. That is what Apple does with every new product that it launches. They all tell a story, one which gives their idea a context, one which resonates with their audiences, one which makes them connect.
They all realize that awesomeness does not lie only in creating great products, it lies in telling a compelling story around those products.
This essay was not so much about writing as it was about the art of story telling. Think of the term “writing” as an analogy to just about anything that requires art and a considerable amount of effort, for instance starting a business or composing music. Skim over it again with such an analogy in mind, and you will know what I am saying.
I told you a story, thanks for listening.