Are you a writer who can write decent English and have been told by your offline and online friends, relatives and well-wishers, that you write well?
Are you a writer, who knows that you write well, but haven’t really shared your personal writings with anyone, except for those official work-related reports and write-ups that your boss and colleagues like?
Are you that decent writer who has sometimes or often thought of being a book author, a novelist, a story writer or a TV/film script writer?
If you are that decent writer, then this blogpost might have some points for you that answer the question ‘What next?’
Since, we have already established that at the least, you write decent English, then it is also a given that you are a reader too, as in, you like to read anything interesting that you come across offline or online.
Wise men have said that good readers can make good writers. Wise women have added that good writers are good readers.
So, from this point on, the answer to ‘What next?’ is really nothing more but a matter of choice. Your choice.
Do you choose to remain a good reader (with decent writing skills), or are you looking for something more? Be a good writer, maybe? Choose either way and you get full marks. I am not going to deduct any marks for any life choices you make and I am not interested in judging you.
But if you chose the option ‘Be a good writer, maybe?’ (a level above the decent writer that you already are), then its time to start thinking about joining a ‘blog gym’ and building your writing muscle there.
In the Gym
‘Blog gym’ and ‘writing muscle’. I hope these are not new phrases for you. Ok, maybe ‘blog gym’ is a new one for you, but ‘writing muscle’ is more common.
A gym as you all know, is a place I go to build my muscle – in my dreams. I visited a gym outside my dream once. I asked about membership and then looked around what was happening there. People were exercising in all seriousness – lifting weights while standing, squatting and even lying down – to the beats of thumping music. A few were keenly checking out their muscle development in front of a life-size mirror.
I had read enough that this is how sane people build their physical muscle groups in various parts of the body. I was awed a bit, when I saw a few bulging muscles on a couple of guys mocking at me silently. Those muscles sensed accurately that my muscles would feel utterly defeated (10-0) if exposed in front of them, in that haloed place.
So, I just shrugged quietly, kept sitting on a stool and refused to check out my muscles in the life-size mirror. While running my eyes around the gym, I even threw a couple of intelligent-sounding questions at the gym manager, who smiled and answered them patiently. And then, I made a quiet exit.
I understood that if I want serious body muscle, then joining the gym is the answer. Once there, I would have nice muscles and hopefully six-pack abs to show off. Moreover, even if I didn’t do any actual heavy lifting with those cool muscles, I would still look good and feel good inside, wouldn’t I?
Let’s talk about your writing muscle now. Yes, you do have writing muscle. Its located in the far left side of your brain. If you have any doubt about its location, contact your nearest, friendly neurosurgeon. He’ll be clueless, I think. There are brain cells, he will tell you, but writing muscle? Persist and he might just give you the mobile number of his favourite gym trainer. ‘Talk to him, he’ll tell you,’ could be the good doctor’s prescription to your query.
Aren’t you already using your writing muscle to do some easy lifting? You are writing those official reports and articles at work. You are on social media using your writing muscle to share your intense thoughts on any chosen topic. This could be within 140 characters via Twitter, or in 2-3 paragraphs (about 250 words) with your Facebook friends. Maybe, you are writing for yourself with nobody looking over your shoulder or commenting. Easy lifting, I say.
It’s like you are using a heavy JCB machine that can pick up 200 kgs in one lift, to lift just a few bricks. Effortless. But think, even that effortless lift of a few bricks, brings you quite a few appreciative RTs on Twitter, many Likes and comments on Facebook and you even get added to Google+ circles by strangers too, if you are on that platform.
You can be happy with this status quo, that’s just fine. But, you can expect and get more, if you decide to build your writing muscle. You can do some heavy lifting with it or you can just feel great that you have these nice, shiny, jaw-dropping muscles. At this point, you can start thinking of a ‘blog gym’.
What’s a ‘blog gym’? It’s a blog like this one, that acts like a gym. You can exercise and build the strength of your writing muscle on a ‘blog gym’ to lift any kind of weight or feel great about yourself.
What kind of weights? We did agree at the very beginning that you are a decent writer. This means, you have writing muscle. Now if you build your writing muscle and make them stronger, then remember what you have wished you could have done? Yes. That book, that novel, that TV/film script – all those heavy things you thought might be difficult to lift – you can begin to amaze yourself and others by lifting them inch by inch from the ground. Finally that moment too comes, when your muscles are holding that lift high on your shoulders, till the buzzer sounds and the world erupts in applause. Can you hear the cheer? It’s your name, they are chanting. All this became possible, because of your strong writing muscle.
Who should join a ‘blog gym’? For starters, all those decent writers, who are longing for more satisfaction and fulfillment from the use of a skill that they magically possess. Once you, the decent writer, have a blog of your own, then you can start flexing and building your writing muscle on that platform.
Now you might think, why do I have to join a ‘blog gym’. I’ll just build my writing muscle on my own, in my house itself. I won’t have a blog. I’ll start lifting heavy weights at home and soon enough my writing muscle will start growing. Again, that’s fine. I accept your choice. Only thing is, not many will be aware that you are building your writing muscle. It’s just you and your life-size mirror at most. Or maybe, some friend might comment that you seem to be looking better and developing some muscles. ‘Are you gymming?’ He might ask you. You’ll happily say, ‘No, nothing of that sort. Just a few push-ups at home.’
Here, my thinking is, building your writing muscle on your own, at home, requires a huge amount of motivation. You might just end up using that whole quota after the initial thrust of a few days and then it would be back to the status quo.
When you join a ‘blog gym’ on the other hand, it means that you are serious. You’ll have a trainer to guide you and your fellow gym buddies to give you helpful tips. Your focus will be strong and soon enough, by coincidence you’ll start connecting with like-minded health conscious people, when they see your endeavour. They’ll give you good feedback on the lifting that you are doing in the ‘blog gym’. And as you practice with higher weights, gradually you begin to lift more.
Soon enough, you’ll find yourself working on those heavy weights – like that book of yours, that novel or that TV/film script. In essence, the blog becomes your gym mirror to check how well your muscle is growing. You can assess yourself and you get confirmation in the form of comments, feedback and blog followers, who like the writing muscle that you are developing. They start thinking that what you may start lifting now, should be worth watching.
Essentially, by writing muscle, I mean your writing voice. When you build your writing voice, you begin to organise your thoughts properly, in a manner that connects well with your readers. In your ‘blog gym’, where you come often, maybe once or twice a week to push those muscles and do some serious lifting practice, your writing voice starts becoming more assured, confident and clear.
Why? Because you have your gym buddies egging you on, your trainer motivating you to push and lift more and that powerful lift is becoming increasingly visible to your friends, relatives, well-wishers and even strangers. They like what they see. They like what they read on your blog and they even point you in the right direction with their frank feedback comments.
You have a blog? Hey, its great that you blog. You are already in the ‘blog gym’. You know the value of building your writing muscle. But, did I also hear you say, ‘What’s the big deal about a blog? Don’t see anything much there.’
Well, allow me to say that you don’t see anything much there, because you haven’t made a big deal about it. You joined the ‘blog gym’ all right because that sounded a good deal at that time. But then you stopped going there, didn’t you? Or maybe, just once in a month or even three months, six months?
Did you practice with the right weights while in the gym? Or did you just start picking up any random weight without any thought for what you were building or supposed to build? Sharing of random musings, rants, non-helpful thoughts in a few blogposts and you are done with building your muscle. Is that what you have been doing?
Maybe, you need to have more focus and pick the right weights consistently, so that your writing muscle and voice resonates with your readers. Pick up something in your blogpost that your readers will find helpful in some little way. They’ll give you feedback, which you can then use to pick up more valuable things. Valuable to you and to all who come towards you when they hear your voice.
If you feel that you are ready to join the ‘blog gym’ and build your writing muscle/writing voice, let me know in the comments below.
I am ready to show you the next steps that you can start taking. I could have told you the way ahead in this blogpost itself, but then, it would have been a lot of good food on your plate. Small morsels of adequate good food make for a happy mind and stomach, I say. And you know that saying, too much of a good thing…
For now, would you like to remain a good reader or would you like to start thinking seriously about building your writing muscle in your ‘blog gym’? Share your thoughts or any questions related to this post, in the comments below.
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