Writing is bizarrely a very difficult means of expression in the literature of a language, there is no gainsaying the fact And that is why, when it comes to the matter of writing on a topic the people start having butterflies in their stomach

Writing is bizarrely a very difficult means of expression in the literature of a language, there is no gainsaying the fact. And that is why, when it comes to the matter of writing on a topic the people start having butterflies in their stomach. Sometimes, even intelligentsia and highly learned people get jitters before writing something.

It is usually said that the art of writing is a holistic exercise which calls for mastery over a host of factors that are pretty closely connected with, inter alia, depth of knowledge of the writer and power of imagination. Imagining means exploring ideas and thoughts. It also means finding out innovative way of putting the words and sentences to express thoughts and ideas so as to make the expression clear, concise, convincing and catching. So, one thing is guaranteed that in the absence of ideas we cannot write anything. Ideas are the seedbed of writing. Ideas are the propellants of the art of writing. Ideas are engine of art of writing. But the most common problem which students, teachers, writers and generally intelligentsia face is how to get ideas. Euphemistically; this problem is also called as Writer’s Block which happens more in mind than anywhere else.

Earl Nightingale, the famous US radio speaker and author, had once said that anything begins with an idea. It means idea is the origin of all the creations which the people boast of and the world makes record of. So, idea gathering has been one of the important key tools of the art of writing. This is sometimes also called as “Prewriting strategies”or “invention technique”. The ideas in writing show the depth of knowledge of an author on a particular topic very much before he or she starts writing.

However, there are a host of techniques for gathering ideas which are used by the learned and experienced writers in writing their masterpieces-

1. Keeping an idea book
A professional writer must search for ideas to write about a certain subject. They should also be on the lookout for details to develop their ideas. For this, a writer must carry an idea book which is a pocket-sized notebook in which ideas, springing spontaneously to mind, can be jotted down for the future use.

2. Freewriting
It means nonstop writing, writing without any restriction. Freewriting also means writing down whatever comes into your mind at a certain time without taking into care whether the ideas are relevant to the topic or the grammar used in them is correct. In this type of writing there is no check on the flow of writing.

One must take care of the following facts while using freewriting -

1. It works without any censor on a thought.
2. Flashes of insights must be given full freedom to flow.
3. Do not go back and nor think seriously at this stage about what you are writing.
4. Reviewing and editing at this stage are not recommended.
5. Set a goal of writing. One may set goal of writing for 10 to 15 minutes at a stretch or 2 to 3 paragraphs in one go.

3. Brainstorming
It means making list of all the ideas which may be relevant for a certain topic or subject. Ideas can be enlisted in the form of words or phrases. Under the brainstorming, ideas need not turn up in the form of sentences or paragraphs.

4. Mapping
Technically, it is also called as clustering or webbing. It is much like the process of brainstorming. Unlike sentences, paragraphs or lists, mapping is more visual and less linear. It is like the presentation of facts with the help of a flow chart. Under mapping, a writer starts with a subject, circled in the centre of an unlined paper. From this centre we move out and draw a line which shows subdivision of the subject. Again we move further to show other subdivisions of the subject and continue doing it until ideas cease to flow.

5. Using the journalist’s questions
Journalist’s questions are: Who? Why? What? When? Where? How? When a writer starts writing a topic asking these questions then he succeeds writing the story from many perspectives and very effortlessly also. The writing on any topic using the journalist’s questions makes the job of writing easier and step wise. It also makes the writing perfect and holistic.

5. Reading for writing
Reading promotes idea generation and inspires us to think about the topics. Suppose we read an article on tips to succeed we get inspiration to write about the importance of patience in success. By reading we get information and this substantiates what we already know. But here we need to seriously mind one important fact. When we read to write then we must mind how we read. In this case we must read critically and thoroughly. Critical reading is also necessary for critical thinking. Reading between the lines may also considerably help a writer find ideas on a topic very easily.

6. Incubating
Incubation means giving some time to ideas to grow and develop. Under this process, you take time to think and give freedom to your mind to wander and then come back and allow yourself start writing. This relaxes mind and helps focusing on writing on various topics. Because when you are relaxed you get solution to the problems you have not been able to solve to solve earlier.

BY Shreeprakash Sharma

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