Essential P’s for Better Writing
”And if all the trees on the earth were pens and the sea (were ink wherewith to write), with seven seas behind it to add to its (supply), yet the Words of Allah would not be exhausted. Verily, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.”
The infinite knowledge of Allah (swt), as expressed eloquently in the above verse, can never be compared to the knowledge of His creations.
Yet, we have been given the ability to learn and encouraged to seek beneficial knowledge so we can uphold justice – the greatest form of which is Tawheed (Islamic monotheism).
This unique gift of learning makes it easy for us to build our skills and better ourselves. In the same way, we are able to share from what we have learned as we continue to learn with each passing day.
Writing is a simple and effective way of communication – whether it is of feelings, message of dawah or basic knowledge. You may have built your writing skills right from early years, starting with some scribbles to more legible words, and now onto meaningful writing.
But would you like to be able to string your words together to flow smoothly in order to communicate effectively with others?
Would you like to advance to a better writing level?
If yes, then read on.
Reasons to become a better writer
Do you often revisit an article, a book or blog post that captured your attention completely?
What was it about the words that appealed to most, do you remember?
Well, in the same way you can learn to use your writing to connect with others and share your knowledge/ experiences. Here are some reasons to become even better at your writing.
1. To do dawah, by calling to the message of Tawheed (monotheism) with wisdom and clarity of words.
2. To share experiences so others can benefit.
3. To communicate better with family, friends & spouse.
4. To organise & express your thoughts effectively.
5. To benefit yourself and others from your studies; by synthesizing from what you have learned.
The Essential P’s
Fact: You cannot become a ‘better writer’ overnight.
Next Steps: Begin with a sincere intention and work your way through the essential P’s. Build better writing skills, one ‘P’ at a time.
Prepare. Get yourself some writing & reading materials and a microphone (not really!). If you thrive better with accountability, tell 1 or 2 buddies to keep check on you. See? you don’t need a Mic afterall.
A pen & notepad will suffice for writing, but if you prefer typing then by all means use your tablet or laptop. A free app like Evernote can serve as your writing pad. You also need a good supply of books, as reading will increase your confidence, deepen your thinking and expose you to a variety of words.
Plan your schedule so you have time for daily writing. You can start from as little as 5 – 10 minutes everyday. Think about the habit you are building, not the quantity of writing you are able to turn out especially when starting out.
Practice. Write down your reflections, copy quotes and short extracts that interest you – with proper referencing of course. Write poems, short stories & your own news reports.
Send emails to your family and friends. You can also start a private blog exclusively for practice or make a gratitude journal for daily input. And you can get creative with your ideas, don’t limit yourself.
You can never have enough of writing practice so write as much as you can wherever you are.
Push Ahead. Don’t give up! Keep pushing even when your sentences dry out or do not make much sense. Or when your grammar structure looks broken & scary even to you. Use the dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopaedia, and other reference books for ideas and corrections.
Think about the great task of the noble companions who took part in compiling the Qur’an. Before that, the Qur’an was preserved chiefly by way of memorisation & writing
Can you imagine how it felt for Zayd Ibn Thabit (RA), who was an intelligent youth known for writing the revelation for the Prophet (SAW)], to be a major part of this noble mission? How hard they must have pushed to get the divine speech written out correctly?
This is your opportunity to make your writing better, so you can leave your own legacy for the future generations.
Proofread. Be bold enough to read through your drafts as you progress and try to correct mistakes. Be your own number 1 critique. Learn about your writing weaknesses but don’t allow it to discourage you.
You can also get others to read your work, if you are open to constructive feedback. Nice if you have an editor friend to help out so you don’t get relaxed with just any kind of writing. Read the works of your favourite authors, bloggers or newspaper columns so you can polish your writing. Aim for great quality always.
Patience. You will need heaps of patience. That will help when you start feeling pressure from a deficiency or excess of words in your brain. Sometimes, you could feel lost when you can’t seem to get the right ones to fit into your piece, despite what you have tucked into in your memory bank.
And what if your editor buddy has just returned your writing for the 10th time with more suggestions? Don’t reap it apart. Remain patient.
”..And whoever remains patient, Allah will make him patient. Nobody can be given a blessing better and greater than patience.” (Bukhari)
Pro Goals. Aim for nothing short of an advanced writing level.
Begin with that goal in mind, and follow though all of the processes thinking like a pro.
Make your writing goals lofty so that you only produce quality work .
Moving towards writing success
Your guide to writing success should begin with a plan, then onwards from a beginner level with resilience and determination.
Aim for quality on your writing journey, but do not be hasty. Remain patient and steadfast as you blaze towards the ranks of the experts.
Purify your words and writing goals with renewed intention & constant supplication. Ask Allah (swt) to make your writing a means of drawing nearer to him. And be among those who repeat;
”O Allah! Give me love of You, love of the people who love You, and love of every action which draws me nearer to Your love” (Tirmidhi)
Are you ready to become a better writer? Which of these P’s will you work on? Can you think of others?