What your teachers never told you about writing

‘Jenny, dear, you can’t sit at home all the time in the company of only your books.’

‘Mom, I’m a writer.’

‘Sure you are. And I’m your mother, I want grandkids.’

‘Oh, Mom, please… don’t start this conversation again. Life is so much more than diapers and baby food. We got a chance to finally do what we want to. Remember that passage from “A Room of One’s Own” by Virginia Woolf? “No need to hurry. No need to sparkle. No need to be anyone but oneself.”

‘Oh, Jenny. Your brother is my only hope then, I got the point.

‘No, mom. It’s just that…writing gives me self-confidence. It gives me money for the self-realization. I won’t know what lies beyond the horizon if all I follow is the Instagram feed of my friends and the stories about their lunch, the countries they visited last summer, and the make-up trends of 2018. I don’t say it’s useless. But it’s not that important for me. Writing is what I like the most’.

What is the secret of creating a decent piece of writing? It can be either an academic paper for UvoCorp or a blog article. Reading. The more, the better. It doesn’t even matter much what type of literature you are into. You might be a fan of the Encyclopedia of Endangered Animals, know all the names of orchids growing up in Latin America, or have read all the books about the history of Canada between 1870–1950. Whatever you’re up to, whatever makes your world feel brighter and more colorful, go for it.

A few days ago I came across a book of the Norwegian writer, art collector, and entrepreneur Erling Kagge. It was about silence. Silence in the age of noise. The book is mostly about how to find some islands of peace and harmony in our everyday lives, regardless of time and place. But what really caught my attention was a reference to the words of the Roman philosopher Seneca. He once said, “Life is long enough, and a sufficiently generous amount has been given to us for the highest achievements if it were all well invested.” 2000 years ago Seneca already knew that everyone exists, yet not everyone lives. By the way, really well said, Mr.Seneca.

We already have all the answers. They are on book pages. Writing skills are not an exception here. If we take a closer look at the works of Agatha Christie, George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, Umberto Eco, they will show us all the secrets of coming up with a masterpiece. Did they have a detailed plan of a perfect text composition? Maybe the key to their success was just a matter of luck or a specially furnished workplace?

The answer lies between the lines of their work and biography. Is it possible to teach someone to write well? No, it isn’t. But what is absolutely possible is to develop your own writing style by testing what is already known about writing and the success stories of famous writers.

So, my dear reader, make yourself comfortable. Take a cup of tea, lie back on the sofa, and let literature classics guide you through your own hall of a writing fame.

Ms.Christie, please, come on in.