Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Fear Of Writing - Even Literary Greats Make Mistakes.

By My Den
A recent conversation with a friend, about starting a blog, got me thinking about her unfounded fears of writing and blogging, largely centered on her mistaken beliefs that one has to be supremely articulate or have superb command of the English language in order to write and blog. I do not know how others see it but i felt that blogging is actually something very personal and is an act of self-expression with no need to justify for one's perceived inarticulateness.

As writing is the most common means of communication and necessary in the sharing of information and knowledge, i believed we sometimes put too much pressure on ourselves when we write, thus causing unnecessary apprehension and anxiety. My advice is to just go ahead and write, enjoy the experience and i am sure, along the writing journey, one will pick up the necessary skills to be an effective writer. Besides, there is actually a certain joy in rawness, reading unclinical views and opinions that comes out straight from the heart.

With no intention of demeaning the importance of grammar in the English language, i felt that we sometimes get so worked up about it that we stumble over our apprehensions and fall into error. While we should be mindful about correct usage, we must also not be so fearful of committing errors when speaking or writing English as consciousness of grammar should actually facilitate clear speech and precise writing instead of shutting us up.

It is also interesting to note that even literary greats make mistakes and there is not a single great writer in all of English literature who has not committed grammatical mistakes. Here are some highlighted by F.G.Fowler's The King's English, a standard guide to grammar:

- "The most pompous monument of Egyptian greatness, and one of the most bulky works of manual industry, are the pyramids" (Samuel Johnson).
Subject-verb agreement (or disagreement).

- "..neither of which are very amiable motives for religious gratitude" (William Thackeray).
Neither and either should always take singular verbs.

- "Nataly promised amendment, with a steely smile, that his lips mimicked fondly" (George Meredith).
That, should not be used to introduce a non-defining clause.

- "All debts are cleared between you and I if I might but see you at my death"? (William Shakespeare).
Usage of wrong pronouns, me instead of I.

One book that greatly influenced me to start writing was Dorothea Brande's "Becoming a Writer". A classic since 1934, her book is very different from the many "how-to-write" guides. Instead of techniques, styles or methods, her book touches on the philosophy, thinking, lifestyle and attitude of a writer. In essence, it was designed to simply help you get over yourself and start writing, just like what i did after reading her book.

So, to all who intends to embark on the writing journey but have unfounded fears, just go ahead and write and experience the joy that writing brings.

*Related Posts :
- The Joy Of Writing
- A Writer's Ernest Assessment