Writing the City

Writing the City The Arts House National Arts Council spacer British Council

Cyril Wong encourages following your heart when writing…

Don’t listen to what anyone else says. Be a rebel when you write. Don’t bother with people when they ask you, “Your writing can eat or not?” If you have to write in order to gain approval from others—don’t do it for them, because then your writing will be worth nothing. Your writing must always mean something—especially to yourself. Get yourself a nice quiet part of the room, one in which your parents will not nag you for wasting your life not making money. I think it is fairly obvious that writing should not be about money. It is also not about fame. It is about doing what is necessary, such that if you do not write, your life would have little meaning.

Whether you write with a computer or a pen and notebook, make sure you ask yourself this question before you start: “Who am I writing for and is what I am about to say elegant, honest and straightforward?” The first line is everything. The second line too. You have to pack a punch, but always wrap your fist in a velvet glove. Then in the middle of your poem or story, take out the glove and set the context, caress the clueless reader with facts and set the context; then put the glove back on and strike hard with a revelation; the sensitive reader is always looking for a beating. Make the reader beg for more. Suggest; don’t impress. Evoke through your writing; don’t rant or complain. Leave the complaining for your blog.

The most important aspect of writing is to read the writings of others—especially those who write about the same things as you. See where you think these other writers have succeeded or failed; then commit to the same standards in your own work. Writing is meaningless if you don’t read. Read well. Be the kind of reader you would want others to be when they eventually read your work. This will make you into the kind of writer that you have always hoped to become.