I strongly believe in the power of writing. Many great ideologies in this world were spread by writing. Karl Marx was working for a newspaper when he began to work out his theories on social and economic activity, and after being exiled he continued to write, published numerous books and his work is now one of the important theories in Sociology – Marxism. Darwin’s “Origin of Species” is particularly influential in the world of biology, in which his theory up until today is still sparking debates. Ibn Sina “Al- Qanun fi At-Tibb” was the reference for medieval medical practices for centuries. “The Art of Wars” by Sun Tzu has helped leaders like Mao Zhedong and Yamamoto in their respective war.
These are just a few of great examples of how a pen and paper (or in the current day, a computer, papers and printer) are able to shape the world. So I decided to take up writing as a means for me to contribute to the ummah. This decision has connected with other writers. However, I realised that I am WAAAAAAAY better in NOT writing than I am in writing. I am just unbelievably good at it that I feel like I need to share with the world the steps and guidance on how to slow down in or completely stop writing, if you are ever considering it.
- Stop reading.
I had the honour of meeting Kak Aisyah Muharikah and I took that opportunity to ask her, “Any tips for writing?” and she said “Read a lot. Writing a book requires reading 3 books.” Reading is important as it develops your perspective and insight, hence giving you more things to say and talk about. I would say I was quite an active blogger back then in 2008-2009 despite of it being mostly the rants of my teenage self (hermergerrd). I read a lot back then, but somehow not long after that I replaced my hobby of reading with other useless activities (and I had problem with computer as well). Only after I managed to detach myself from them I found my strength back in writing, which is still a struggle for me to maintain now. Then I realised a pattern. I write better when I read more. So, to kill your hand and brain ability to write, stop reading.
2. Occupy yourself with useless things.
Distracting yourself with activities such as hours of mindless scrolling on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Ask.fm (Oh, ask me here! hehe) helps a lot. You also have other options like chatting the night away with a friend etc. Do whatever you think is okay, except reading. This is basically to help you do the point above. For best result, do this until you get addicted to it.
3. Don’t have passion.
Passion is what keeps you going. The less passionate you are, the less is your willpower to reach your PC and write something that will blow everyone’s mind. Keep your passion tucked at the very back of your closet and don’t let it break free.
4. Don’t take note of your ideas for new contents.
You will encounter something that sparks your idea for your new content at some points in your daily life. From one event chains of ideas will link together, and out of them you can write something out that is totally cool. Don’t. Jot. Them. Down. Jotting them down will make you remember that you wanted to write something. Leave it unwritten, and wait until it diffused out of your head. By the time you remember that you had these ideas, you won’t remember what they were and the hard time to recall will make you give up.
5. Always keep in mind to impress your readers.
Trying to impress your readers will lead you to putting your best effort in a composition that may or may not be read. This will take up much of your time looking for extravagant words to describe a simple idea, which requires you looking into the dictionary every 5 minutes, and in that 5 minutes approximately a third of it is wasted on arranging the words as complex as yourself. This process is tedious, will slow you down and in the end, will break your perseverance to continue. So please, always, always, always try to impress your readers.
6. Don’t practise.
Practise makes perfect. Being not good at something increases the possibility of you to stop doing it. Hence, practising is your biggest enemy. To stop writing, one must perceive one’s ability to write as a threat that will make one continue writing. Avoid practising as much as possible.
7. Be too self-conscious on how people would think of you if you published that piece of yours.
“Will people like it?” “Will my friends laugh at me?” “Is it even relevant what I’m talking about?” “What if they think I’m weird?” Always ask yourself these questions. Leave every inch of the space in your mind for self-doubt. Self-confidence is a big NO. Protect yourself from being confident with your opinions.
8. Don’t set time for writing.
Setting aside a portion of your time for something enables you to do it (duh, logic!). Make time for everything, but never for writing. EVER. In the attempt of eliminating writing as a part of your life, this is one of the effective and simplest method.