‘You must always write with your reader in mind.’ This was one of the first pieces of advice that I received when I began my writing career. Honestly, I found this extremely hard to do because more often than not, I couldn’t picture my ideal reader. Slowly, this advice changed to ‘Write for yourself.’ While that seemed easier, it didn’t necessarily fulfil the reality of the situation, meaning, writing for myself didn’t translate into sales of whatever I wrote. As time went on, though, there were a few things I understood which made writing far more pleasant and lucrative, namely, writing was a transfer of emotions, the ability to keep a subtle journal and collecting gibberish.
15 Habits of Writers Who Are Mentally Tough
by Aneeta Sundararaj
Earlier this year, I read an article by Travis Bradberry (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/248234) where he sets out 15 habits that mentally tough people should have. I analysed the same 15 habits, but applied them to the writing/publishing industry. Here’s what I came up with:
In the wake of the dramatic political events in the Middle East in February 2011, there are many who wonder if some countries there will now embrace democracy. Indeed, since the revolution in Egypt, there is analysis of how fast its citizens were able to start the revolution to oust the regime of Hosni Mubarak. Also, there has been debate about the blueprint for democracy that Egypt will now adopt. From a writer’s perspective, however, one question remains strangely unanswered: what, actually, does the word ‘democracy’ mean?
When I started writing many, many years ago, a friend referred me to 2 resources. One was an essay by George Orwell called ‘Politics and the English Language’. I studied the essay, summarised the points and have used the teachings ever since. The other was a book called ‘Plot and Structure’ by James Scott Bell. I’d like to share what I learnt below.
“Go to the bookstore and you’ll see my new book on the shelves,” said a recently published author. Her book was a fictionalised account of her spiritual journey and finding God a year after her divorce. Two days later, I was at the Customer Services desk of the bookstore, giving the lady the title of the book, name of author and even the ISBN. This was after I’d already looked for the book in the ‘Literature’, ‘Asian Writers’ and ‘New Releases’ parts of the Fiction section. The lady entered all the details into the computer and voilà, she knew where the book was.
You’re delighted with the bonus you’ve received for a job well done. You spend the holidays with your family and it’s a happy time. A month later, you find that you’ve been promoted and this adds to your happiness. By the end of the month, though, that happiness seems to have paled. A mere six weeks later, you admit that this is a recurring pattern in your life where your initial happiness gives way to sadness; after all, these are yet another set of achievements that you’ve checked off your list. It’s almost as if that absolute happiness is fleeting and momentary.
“After 40, you should be valued for your experience, know-how and judgement, rather than for the ability to work 18 hours every day.” (Korda, Michael. “Ten Steps to Success Before 40.” Reader’s Digest. Jan 1988. 49-51). Korda, the article also states, was editor-in-chief of Simon & Schuster and author of half a dozen books, including the best-sellers Power!, Success! and Queenie.
“My husband cannot come to kenduri because in our kampung, we have scum session,” said this gentle lady I was giving a lift to. She was very helpful to our family in the last few days as she had been assisting with the housework. She explained that she needed to return home early because her niece was getting married in the evening and she wanted to attend the festivities at the ‘kenduri’.