Why would anyone want to be an author?
That is the first question that needs to be settled, before we move on to how to become an unforgettable one.
Well, the very thought that our thoughts – and feelings – are out there for the whole world to read, to share and hold on to, is inspiring. And once the words are out there, they are there to stay for all time, teaching, taking roots in the minds of the readers and inspiring them for years to come. That is, if we can be unforgettable writers, of course. We have to be able to connect with the readers so that they simply cannot forget our creations. The idea that our thoughts will be there to stay, even after we are gone, and stimulate minds of future generations, that is what seduces us to be writers and motivates us to be unforgettable ones.
We want our ideas burnt into the minds of our readers; nobody tells us what to write however. We have to make it up as we go along, take it up one word at a time. Basically, we have to create something exceptional out of nothing. We have to allow our imagination to take hold and control our creation. The genre may be anything, fiction or non-fiction, memoirs, blogs, articles, poems – it does not matter what. What matters is that it should connect with the readers, be relevant to its time and space – and beyond.
The basic building block of the creation that is writing is its characters. It does not matter whether it is fiction or not, the characters are what make up the backbone of any writing. It might be a story, it might be a memoir, or a socio-economic- political article, it might be a mystic poem for all that matters, but what should be the main foundation is the character. The character might be a protagonist (in case of fiction) or it might be the reader itself, but the central point of any writing is – people. It should be about people; the reader should be able to connect with the writing on a visceral level so that even after they have put down the book or switched off their computer, the idea stays with them. the relationship of the character with its environment is what the writer plays with – with the primary objective to make the reader come alive, feel involved. It happens with all art forms. We see it happen with movies, paintings, music; when we come out of the cinema or the concert hall, we feel a bit different. The world takes on a different color. Right? That is what should happen with writing as well. Our writing should involve people so powerfully that its ideas are burned into their minds.
In order to achieve a certain level of excellence, all writers need a certain level of dichotomy in them. We are creators and critics all wrapped into one. While we need a certain amount of self-belief so that we think our thoughts are worth sharing, we also need to be critical about our creation so that quality is ensured. However, there is no need to be critical when we are putting the first draft – our very first thoughts, so to speak – on paper. Trying to be critical at the same time while we are writing will freeze our thoughts immediately. The trick is to keep on writing till the end and then go through it – again, and again – till we reach the level of satisfaction that we are achieving for.
We want our readers to cry with us, to laugh with us; the writer connects with the unknown, the unnamed, anonymous readers through his/her writing. If the reader can identify with the character – even for some time – then that is the key to make them pick up that writer the next time they see their writing on the offer. Looking in-depth for the world the characters live in is the trick to achieve that goal. There can be a piece of writing without a plot, but there can be no writing without a character. How that character relates to its environment is how the reader will identify with it. The reader wants to feel alive – and the way to make them feel that is to present to them the world they can identify with. Being socially and politically aware is the first – and last – criteria for an unforgettable writer. When humanism is added to that, that is when the writing becomes a classic, one that transcends time and space.
To know the frailty and strength of humanity is the mark of a truly great writer, but even if we lack that insight, the least we can do is be an aware writer, so that readers pick us our creations again and again as they can identify with our writings.