Some Orwellian advice towards writing content

Some Orwellian advice towards writing content

George Orwell - in his essay titled Politics and the English Language

“ A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 

What am I trying to say? 

What words will express it? 

What image or idiom will make it clearer? 

Is this image fresh enough to have an effect? 

And he will probably ask himself two more: Could I put it more shortly? 

Have I said anything that is avoidably ugly? 

But you are not obliged to go to all this trouble. 

You can shirk it by simply throwing your mind open and letting the ready-made phrases come crowding in. They will construct your sentences for you — even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent — and at need they will perform the important service of partially concealing your meaning even from yourself. It is at this point that the special connection between politics and the debasement of language becomes clear.”

No one can teach anyone to become a writer. There are no “ten tips” to becoming a writer. There are no tuition classes and expert tips to becoming a writer. 

The 1000 articles that you read on this subject  online, are click-baits driven by slideshows,  racking up page views and ad rates.

Instead try this.

Read. Read a lot. Read different authors across different genres. Then try emulating some of them. Copy their style if you feel like. It’s ok. It’s just a learning process.

Do it for a few years and you may just end up finding a voice. Your voice. A compelling voice that forces people to go on a journey in their imagination.

Then let it flow. Yes you will encounter those grammatically perfect people. Those who make the comma, the cornerstone of an article. Those who will render perfect english, but whose words won't move you to imagine beyond.

They don’t matter. Find your voice (then edit sober or hire a editor)

You will know you are good, when people who DON'T know you take considerable pains to tell you that you are. They will even pay to read what you have written.

Until then you are not good. You are just trying, just like most of us.

PS: While you are at it, also try reading a bit of Orwell, Wodehouse, Dickens and some of the other victorian oldies. They are gold. Even now.

 

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