Writing is a mystery. There are so many people who speak so eloquently and persuasively that they could convince the devil to give up his evil ways and become an angel, but give them a paper and a pen to express themselves, and you would get the most incoherent of thoughts, riddled with unforgivable grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and punctuation omissions. This is why a man cannot just wake up one day and choose to dive into the murky waters of writing. To correctly construct a paragraph in any language is no beans, because the writer has to process in his head countless number of things, varying from the choice of words, to grammatical structure, to comprehensive presentation, to punctuations, etc. Little wonder why the writer is an intelligent being.
In my short experience of life so far, I have read an appreciable volume of books. Long after reading some, I savour the beauty, knowledge, entertainment and exposure afforded me like sweet wine. Just as well, some other books leave a bad taste in my mouth. I have endeavoured to read both types of books because one teaches me how to write, while the other teaches me how not to write.
I am in no position to define what makes a good writing, but I might as well offer some properties I cherish when I read books, if that would not be considered too audacious of me. I like it when a writing holds my attention so much I forget about other things. I am thrilled when a writer paints a character so well that I begin to derive a vicarious pleasure from what the character does. I appreciate it when an expression attempts to make me laugh, even if it fails. I could sell out my best shoes, and even more, for a book that presents me an emotional souvenir, an impression that I can keep, whether of excitement, inspiration, lesson, remorse, sadness, etc. And of course, I am all for beautiful expressions and good use of language.
This is the question to consider: “How does one incorporate all these excellent qualities into one’s writing?” And my answer would be, “Wallahi, I don’t know!” However, I think the incorporation of these qualities must be a personal adventure, and what better personal adventure does a writer have other than constant practice? After all, writing is a solitary assignment, in which we get to discover more of ourselves as we get lost in ourselves.