Thursday, August 19, 2010

On Writing Well 

Writing is interesting. It is one of the few things that I can think of that are dependent on something else; no matter how great of a writer you are, you need to master what you’re writing about. It is not enough to know how to spell correctly, how to arouse sentiments in your readers, and how to use proper verbs and nouns. Writing is about so much more. You truly need to become one with the subject you’re writing about. Be it a profile about an emerging artist, a report on the latest Iraq related information, a review about the newest restaurant, or even a novel – you need to know about it in order to write about it.

I think that’s what has always intrigued me about the whole thing. Not only must I be good at exposing my ideas, but I need to be well-educated about them. I, personally, would love to write about culture. The fact that I am interested in all that’s always and endlessly happening in this modern culture of ours makes things easier. I actually enjoy reading about books, and movies, and art. As I read about it, my knowledge grows, and writing about it just seems so much easier.

Being a writer is so much more than stringing words together in a suitable fashion. Being a writer is everything all at once. You need to be something else, you need to have developed your full persona and have your interests and priorities straight in order to exercise the full range of your writing capabilities. So don’t stop at the thought “I want to write.” Tell me, what do you want to write about? What is it that so ardently burns inside of you that the only way to let it out is to write about it? What keeps your fingers moving? What is it that you want others to know about? What is it that you know so well, that the next step is to write about it? Right there, when all those questions are answered, you can sit down and, finally, write.

That’s what I learned at my internship this week. I interviewed the director of an upcoming, big Hollywood movie and wrote a pretty good story about it. But I also interviewed a woman that directed a documentary that I found. That was true fulfillment, and I learned so much about her industry.

It is not enough for me to tell my editor that I want to write; it is not enough for me to write, and it certainly isn’t enough to be grammatically flawless. I need to engage in the subject matter. That’s what pitching is all about, and, I think, that’s why writing a story that you pitched yourself is so much more fulfilling than writing one that was given to you. Pitching is about finding something that peaks your interest, and writing about that something is so much more engaging than writing about some to-you-irrelevant other subject.

Writing is about constant learning. Don’t sit there idly, because, eventually, you’ll run out of things to write about. Explore the world, even if your world is just that little niche of interests, and truly dive into it. 

What are your interests? What would you like to write about it? Do you have any suggestions on how to be the best writer you could be?

Web Intern

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree with you more. I too believe in completely submerging yourself into the topic that you'd like to write about. For me, that is fashion and beauty. I eat, sleep, and breathe fashion/beauty blogs, news on upcoming designers and trends, etc. I actually have two interviews for mag internships tomorrow (in fashion and beauty depts) and while I am definitely nervous, I also am confident that I know so much already about these topics and will be able to have an intelligent, educated conversation with the editors.

    Thanks for the post, this was great!