Looking for guidance with artistic and literary writing? Here’s a quick guide that will get your creative juices flowing. Heads up: these rules will backfire in email exchanges with your boss. Proceed with caution.
1. The way out of the bottomless rut that is writer’s block is to dive right in: write. It doesn’t matter if the words make sense, as long as they form. String some together and see what happens.
2. Read as much as you can, and pay attention to the authors that stand out [to you]. Do you gravitate towards styles that are simple and bare (Rohinton Mistry), frenzied and chaotic (Jack Kerouac), or elegant and grand (Arundhati Roy)?
3. Add depth, tone, texture, and lilt to your writing. Play with rhythm. Give longer sentences a break with shorter pauses — good writing ebbs and flows. And experiment with intonation: why not throw in a question, like this one?
4. If you’re writing for film or audio, pay heed to the sound of words. Read out loud everything you write, and eliminate anything that would sound awkward in conversation. “A sudden rainstorm washes down in sweet hyphens” sounds nice to read, but who really talks like that?
5. Structure is said to be the Holy Grail of strong writing. But working bottom-up and upside-down can be as life-changing. Fact: Chuck Palahniuk’s iconic novel Fight Club was born from a short story—now a chapter.
6. There are no rules. Make them. Break them. A thing called poetic license allows you to flout convention, and legendary writers use it to their advantage. Lewis Caroll invented the words ‘chortle’ and ‘galumph’ that once nonsensical, are now part of the English dictionary.
7. Formulas and free-thinking don’t go hand in hand. The more you try to fit your work into a rigid mold, the trickier it gets to build something original and compelling. Become okay with toeing the squiggly line.
For all other kinds of writing—the clear, concise, and structured kind that won’t get you into trouble—you may want to check Harappa's Writing Proficiently course.
Check out the Speaking Effectively course from Harappa Education and upgrade your speaking skills. Develop skills with these online learning courses today! Explore topics such as Writing Skills, Process of Writing, Report Writing & Types of Reporting from our Harappa Diaries blog section to build your skills for workplace success.
Soumya Bahuguna is Senior Associate, Brand Communications at Harappa Education. In her free time, she plays the piano.
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