At this year’s Penguin Annual Lecture, Ruskin Bond spoke about the joy of writing. He also offers a few tips to writers …
Write every day
“There’s a rigor, a discipline to writing as a craft. You must write regularly every morning and your conscience will be clear,” says Bond. “I got into this habit as I had to make a living from my writing. I had other jobs but they never lasted long.”
Bond started by writing lists in Delhi when he was 8 years old. Soon he was keeping a diary that later became the basis of his first novel published at 17. He writes every morning, at least 500 -2000 words, “so you get it out of the way. Write about anything that comes to mind. I started recording thoughts, dreams…if nothing exciting is happening you can write about a dream, most of my romantic stories were dreams,” he says.
Find joy in writing
“Write about things as if you are looking at them for the last time and you will find the words to preserve them.” Surrounded by trees, insects, birds and changing seasons in his beloved Mussoorie, Bond says the natural world started seeping “into my stories and taking part… the bird on the wing, the sunflower in sunshine, the fox who commands the night, all these little things are part of my writing. People say my writing style is simple, I’d say it’s an art to convey complex ideas simply. Words are wonderful things and you must respect the language you write in. Don’t be lazy with grammar and composition. When words ring true, you get your greatest satisfaction as a writer. If you don’t find joy in that, give up writing.”
His parting advice comes from the heart: “Believe in your writing and never despair that you won’t be published. Even if you despair, write in your despair. Above all, never give up.”
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