What you think is your top strength as a writer?
People write and then grow as they write. Some are very organized, some not-so-organized and others write simply on impulse. Some writers are smart in promoting their work and succeed even if they are not the best writers; others may be just the reverse - they write very well but don't care too much about readership. Then there are writers, I would call them "keyword technicians" who sniff keywords better than they write and yet make their presence felt.
What is your top strength?
I write on whims. Writing is a life long affair with constant learning along the way. My key strength is persistence even as there is no pattern in my persistence. Your writing is only as good as you can connect to your readers. When I was a novice subeditor in a newspaper, the first thing I wanted to do was an independent story. It is strange that precisely at the moment you decide to do what you consider a great job, you are paralyzed, in consequence of which the same job becomes an impossible job. Writer’s block is actually performance paralysis. So, I was paralyzed. All I knew was I had to do a story, but simply could not decide what story was worth doing. The online world of work is a huge platform where employers and workers meet, interact, process orders and get paid. A serious writer in an online world often has to slog it worse than the offline world. The clients in this world come with requests weirder than the offline publishers because they are driven by the logic of keywords and search engine optimization. Everyone’s goal is to figure among the first few sites on the first page of Google. In other words, it is the machine that monitors the quality of articles while a majority of helpless publishers unable to decipher the logic of Google request the writers to stuff the articles with crazy keywords. This is the man-machine interaction at its best, where machine is paradoxically emerging as the intelligent being, while man or article writers to be more precise, have begin to act robotically dictated by machine.
This is a wonderful question to ask, because a writer who reflects on his personal strengths and deficits is ahead of the game. Self reflection provides us a tool in which to gauge the growth of our craftsmanship.
I'm aware that I have several strengths, however, since the question asked for the number one quality, according to our own opinion, I would say it is 'communication'.
As writers, you may assume that all writing is about communication, because...well, writing does just that-it communicates a message, a story, information, emotion, etc. But, in my experience as a reader, there are some folks who know how to communicate what they want to say better than other writers.
Just as there are some speakers who are able to get the message of their speech across to ALL levels of understanding, it is the same with writers. I may not be the most profound writer, but I have a knack to get my message across in a way that says what I want to say, reaches the reader, and doesn't dumb down the message.
Sharing your question.
I believe that my strength lies in the fact that I think over facts for hours at an end before writing the first word. That way I am able to anticipate the expectations of my prospective reader and also how to fulfill them. For instance, India celebrated its 66th Independence Day on August 15, 2013. Plenty of writers wrote on what is right and what is still wrong with my country. I waited until after all of them had got it off their chests, and then wrote for the English newspaper that I work as Associate Editor a longish piece: "The Still Unfolding drama!" It had a historical sweep from ancient times to the present; how India tripped at various points in its history and yet got back on its feet on its own. The reader response to that one article was so stupendous as to have silenced the nearly a dozen writers who had contributed to the Independence Forum. What I have read and experienced as a writer over nearly 50 years in English journalism in India has convinced me that one who waits to get into the mood for writing before getting down to the job is headed for the poorhouse! That may be all right for one treating writing as a leisure activity or as a hobby, but not for one who earns his bread selling words with ideas couched in them in an appealing manner; in short, a journalist. To give another example, in 2003 when George W. Bush was on the verge of his adventurism, I who had been following his career in White House wrote for the New York Times a piece "Bush=Napoleon +Cromwell", and sent it in the certainty that it would not see the light of day, but it not only did but as the top piece! I could send you a soft copy if you wish. However, I am convinced after 50 years in journalism that malice has no place in newspaper writings. If you want to haul someone over coals, do so entirely on the basis of facts, not opinions, least of all those of the writer. Right now i wish I could send you a small piece, about 600 words, that I wrote as Editorial for today's newspaper. It exposed all political parties in India for what they really are worth, but there is not a trace of malice. Objectivity enhances the appeal of newspaper writing. Those newspaper columnists for whom the first person singular is more important than facts of the case are by and large ignored by readers. Newspaper readers, and even general readers, are like consumers; they will pay to buy what interests them and reject what does not, regardless of the "brand".
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