Musings on Writing : The “Ideal” Writer
THE “IDEAL” WRITER
Musings on Writing
During my student days I spent a lot of time in libraries as I loved to read, and from time to time, if I found something interesting, especially a quote or a aphorism or a proverb or anything that appealed to me, I jotted it down in my diary which I used to carry along with me.
This morning, while rearranging my bookcase and cleaning my books, I browsed through an ancient diary and randomly opened a page. To me delight I found that I had jotted down a description or rather a definition of an Ideal Writer by John Henry Newman (1801–1890) [Cardinal Newman]
THE IDEAL WRITER — A Definition by Cardinal Newman
He writes passionately, because he feels keenly; forcibly, because he conceives vividly; he sees too clearly to be vague; he is too serious to be otiose; he can analyze his subject, and therefore he is rich; he embraces it as a whole and in its parts, and therefore he is consistent; he has a firm hold of it, and therefore he is luminous.
When his imagination wells up, it overflows in ornament; when his heart is touched, it thrills along his verse.
He always has the right word for the right idea, and never a word too much.
If he is brief, it is because few words suffice; when he is lavish of them, still each word has its mark, and aids, not embarrasses, the vigorous march of his elocution.
He expresses what all feel, but all cannot say; and his sayings pass into proverbs among his people, and his phrases become household words and idioms of their daily speech, which is tessellated with the rich fragments of his language, as we see in foreign lands the marbles of Roman grandeur worked into the walls and pavements of modern palaces.
In a nutshell, we must strive to ensure that our writing is accurate, logical, clear, simple and brief and try to develop a writing style that is simple yet effective.
If you find the definition of an “ideal writer” by Cardinal Newman a bit too prolix and verbose, then here is a simple description by Charles Caleb Colton:
“That writer does the most who gives his reader the most knowledge and takes from him the least time”
This seems to be an “engineer’s definition” — focussing on the “efficiency” of writing — the knowledge versus time ratio — maximum knowledge in the least possible time.
Or maybe — a good writer imparts maximum creative satisfaction to a reader and takes from him the least time.
I think the same applies even more to blogging too.
HAPPY WRITING (and Happy Blogging)
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This is a Revised Version of Article Written by me Vikram Karve in the year 2012 and Posted Online Earlier many times, including at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2012/08/jotting-from-my-ancient-diary.html and http://karvediat.blogspot.com/2019/06/musings-on-writing-part-1-ideal-writer.html etc
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