The Pilgrim’s Pensieve #19

A Real Writer

It’s been a while since I last shared my thoughts in the Pilgrim’s Pensieve. In fact I hadn’t been blogging at all for about three weeks. The reason why: life. I named this section of my blog the way I did, as many Harry Potter fans would suspect, because it is a place (which we all need by the way) to unburden myself of the cares of this world. Here I unwind and write about whatever has captured my attention in the previous week or simply anything that catches my fancy and is not strictly the subject of this blog.

Running an active blog you are constantly looking for something to put down. You are essentially a writer and it is always a good thing to get your creative juices flowing. Your head is constantly bubbling with new thoughts and ideas. Right now I have so many different things I want to pursue the real problem is figuring out how to actually write them down. The internet has allowed me to be an author in my own right. “Hold on a moment. But you are not a real writer, are you?” Those are the kind of things you hear about bloggers, who are much maligned and underappreciated especially by the “real writers.” I have learnt a lot from people much like me who do this out of passion and enthusiasm for what they blog about. The traditional sources would have been too tedious or expensive to access. There are terrible blogs out there and there also great ones just like with traditional mediums of literature. There is no reason not to give the blogger his or her due as an author.

Because of this medium I am not only thinking about what to write but about the art of writing itself. I regularly scroll through my Medium feed to learn from other writers about the art. Having meditated on writing over the last couple of weeks I have come to the conclusion the writer is an artist. Even the scholar who writes an academic monograph is an artist. Not only does he go for technical accuracy among other things, he must also consider things like style and tone, which the writer of a fantasy novel must also consider. My dad is a professor of engineering and I remember him mentioning once to me about the freedom to really express yourself even in academic writing.

The writer is a creative. He takes the raw material of thoughts and carves ideas with them, chipping away at them with each keystroke, each draft, each revision, until it appears in its final form on the page. Information is really a raw resource that needs to be shaped into a tool so it can be useful for accomplishing something. Writing and other forms of communication turns information into a tool but like all tools it needs to be ergonomically designed. You need to think of how the reader will be able to grasp what you saying. The tool of the written word also needs to have an instruction manual bundled up with it.

Anyone who has actually attempted to write anything down will identify with what I am saying. Writing is challenging and it is also deeply satisfying because of the journey it takes you on with yourself. Even when you are not writing about yourself you learn to better recognise how you actually think. We just think but taking time to go through your own thoughts is profoundly self-illuminating. Things are easier thought than written.

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