How To Begin Writing

Christian Writer Training Course 2, Lesson 1

Even the best instruction in the world is worthless till it is put into action. Therefore, beginning with this lesson, we will ask you to write a lot. Do not be discouraged by the initial difficulties. Persist, and you will be a different person by the time you reach the last lesson.

In this lesson we will first tell you about the types of writing, and then guide you into “how to begin writing”.

All writings (essays, poems, stories, novels, etc.) can be classified into two broad categories: factual writing and creative writing. All factual writing will have a lot of creativity going into it and all creative writing will be aided by factual information, yet they are clearly distinguishable one from another. One does not read a novel and a dictionary alike because they belong to two entirely different categories of writing.

Factual Writing

Essays, news, textbooks, research reports, any other kind of writing that deals with facts is called factual writing.

Almost everything in print that can be classified as “non-fiction” is factual writing. The aim of factual writing is to present facts in a captivating way. The purpose is to educate, entertain and even motivate the readers towards a specific action. All Factual Writing Begins With Collection And Statement Of Factual Information. Creativity Is Limited To The Way Information Is Presented — Which In Itself Is A Great Art !!

The field of factual writing is very broad. The number of subjects available are uncountable and the opportunities to write upon them are unlimited. These statements might puzzle or surprise many who have not launched yet into the field of writing, but I assure you that the above statements are not exaggerations.

Consider a very simple and commonplace topic like “Water”. A beginner might consider it nonsense when I suggest that dozens of articles can be built around this subject. But before you become too sure that I am wrong, consider the following titles:

Water: The source of all life
Water: The greatest tonic for health
Water Pollution: Causes and effects
Water-loss (dehydration)– the greatest killer in summer
Drinking Water: How to purify it
The chemistry of water
The physics of water, the wonder liquid.

I have suggested only seven topics, and that also by spending only three to five minutes for thinking. Further, I have not mentioned many obvious and interesting subjects like, Conserving Water For Summers, Water As Source Of Hydro and Tidal Electricity, Water And Industries, Water And Transportation, etc.

Thinking up for an hour or two per day will bring up at least a hundred interesting subjects, and just a month of such effort will swell up the list to at least 3000 subjects ! Believe me, even the most successful writers find that too many titles for their whole life.

I’m not suggesting that you spend the next month filling your diary with possible subjects. On the contrary, the above illustration has been given to show you that the field of factual writing is so vast that all the writers of the world together will never be able to exhaust the available subjects.

All what you need is a bit of self-confidence, a little creativity, and a desire to find subjects. I guarantee that in three to five years you will wish that you could write with all four of your limbs. Believe me, you could still not exhaust your own list even if that wish were granted!

Creative Writing

All writings classified as fiction come into this category. Songs and poems can also be placed into this category because their creative part is more dominant than their factual one.

Stories, novels, most poems, songs, many satires, dramas, etc. are included in creative writing. They have been given this title because they are “created” almost out of non-existent material. While the main attempt in factual writing is to explain pre-existing facts, the main attempt in creative writing is to produce an entity that did not exist previously.

Even though the creative writer creates a story that did not exist before, he needs an idea or a “plot” to create it. Since plots for stories do not drop from the skies, the creative writer has to develop skills necessary to capture, conceive, and develop new ideas.

Both factual as well as creative writing are challenging jobs, and each has its own unique difficulties. Most writers confine themselves to one of these fields, and only very few try to produce both kinds of materials.

You must evaluate your natural talents, inclinations, and abilities before you choose whether you will write fiction or non-fiction. Whatever the field you choose, you should never ignore the techniques of the other side. Non-fiction writers can always benefit from the techniques used by the fiction writers and people who produce fiction can always benefit from people who produce factual writings.

In the present course our stress will be upon factual writing. These are two reasons for it. First, the majority of writers produce only factual material. Second, creative writers have to follow most of the basic principles of factual writing, and therefore this is the right starting point for writers of all kinds. We will offer you specialized information about producing fiction in another module of this course.

How To Begin Writing

Beginners in the field of writing feel that the most difficult part of writing is taking the first step. There’s nothing very surprising about this. In any game the first move is the most tense one and the opening batsman bears the most intense pressure. Even in human life the first step of a baby is always more difficult than the next one.

However, as the baby grows, walking becomes so natural to him that he does it without any special effort or without even being conscious of it. It is the same way with writing. The first step will be difficult, but the more you hesitate, the more the time that you loose. I therefore urge you to start writing immediately ! Do not worry at this stage about the quality or usefulness of the first few writings. Nor should you worry about who is going to publish them.

Have you ever seen a trainee potter, tailor, typist, or cook at work ? Their initial output is usually so crude, childish, abnormal, or deformed that nobody buys it from them. Yet they keep working because they know that the initial output is not meant for others. Their first product is meant for practice.

In the same way, you should assume that the first few (six to twelve) articles that y
ou produce are meant for your training and not for publication. If will be a joy if someone publishes them, but you should not be discouraged if something meant for practice does not get into print.

With these points in mind, the first few steps that you have to take can be listed as follows:

1-Choose a subject
2-Make an outline
3-Collect information
4-Refine outline, if needed

It is obvious that one cannot write upon a subject that has not yet been chosen. The first thing to do, therefore, is to choose a subject. I have already explained some methods for discovering useful and exciting subjects. You should choose a subject using the same technique.

Dr. Johnson C. Philip is a highly successful author with more than 60 published books 5000 articles in more than 6 languages. This article is copyrighted by him, but you can get permission for reprinting by contacting him at Copyright 2008 Dr. Anand Philip

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