A Sufi dictum preaching the exactitude of professionalism advises that “If you are writing a letter, write that letter as if the whole world will judge you by that letter alone”. Imagine, placing such dictum or similar dicta at the entrance of a place of work or inside an office as a reminder on the importance of adding value. You can only imagine the results and smile.
Bringing this dictum to the profession of being a writer on the basis of register, with focus on the words “writing” and “letter” – notable are the weight of responsibility and the height of respect the society places on a writer.
The craft of writing, in whatever language, first demands that the writer writes well enough to earn the respect and attention of his/her audience before the substance of the work is judged. Take propaganda writing for instance, as we have on social media walls nowadays, those negative stories tagged “fake news”- there are some with high quality writing in use of language and structure that gets you engaged but at the end of the day commonsense and good judgment would not sway you into believing the content. Yet one thing stands- the writer held you spellbound.
Good writing starts with the basics of dotting the i’s and t’s, yet doesn’t end there because you have to fulfil the inner magic of entertainment by deploying writing techniques that leave the reader in awe. Getting this inner magic is many steps above mere literacy, which has become a common feature in this modern era where the ability to string one or two sentences together births a writer in the garb of a poet or novelist.
Good writing, talking about all kinds of communication from business to creative writing- is often the product of self-development journeyed on the endless road of commitment and apprenticeship in the study of the works of accomplished writers. Writing as a profession can be so irritatingly demanding as you have to put your best foot forward all the time. To achieve this, means using your brain to full effect. Ezra Pound captures this frustration well enough in the last lines of his poem, The Lake Isle.
O God, O Venus, O Mercury, patron of thieves,
Lend me a little tobacco-shop,
or install me in any profession
Save this damn’d profession of writing,
where one needs one’s brains all the time.
Though tasking and time-consuming, the adventure of writing and getting out good copy can be so warm and sweet that the writer, feeling triumphant and accomplished, smiles foolishly like a teenager reading a love letter.