Becoming the best writer I can be: My unending quest
I had registered in 1999 for my doctoral programme with a premier institute in New Delhi. In 2000, I earned a perfect score in my course paper on research methodology. This made me suspicious because my paper could never have been a perfect 10. It may have been free from common grammatical and spelling errors, but it could not have perfectly complied with the rigours of research methodology of which I knew little. Unable to understand both the research and the methodology from my programme guide, I quit the institute in 2001.
But I didn’t give up on research. I read several research papers to get acquainted with their intricacies and mysteries. In April 2001, I registered for another doctoral programme. Then, in 2003, I started visiting a library at another institute. I did this, despite the library being 30 kilometers away. There, I pored over hundreds of journals and other publications to understand the styles, structures, and content of research papers and other articles. Four days a week, I brought home over 400 pages worth of reading material each day for a more in-depth study.
Across the next six months, I digested the ideas and findings from journals such as the Journal of Applied Psychology, Academy of Management Journal, and Academy of Management Review. I developed conceptual clarity about their underlying themes, research problems, and citation standards such as the APA Style. By December 2003, this awareness became a solid foundation for my thesis, which I completed and delivered by March 2004 for review and defense.
By this time, I had written nearly a dozen articles and papers, a couple of book reviews, business and legal reports, project proposals and reports, one manual, four cases, limericks, and four short stories for children. But it was my study of others’ research papers in 2003 that sharpened my thinking and writing like never before.
I believe that the present day and age offers an amazing range of writing opportunities, thanks to internet technology as well as the size, diversity, and hunger of the audience. Regardless of the message I am trying to convey, my most important consideration is always the medium through which I am delivering a message, be it a lecture, email, video, journal article, or advertisement. On interactive social media websites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or WhatsApp, I always consider elements such as reader profiles, article length, style, and whether I can add just a dash of humour. I like to use the power of fonts, colours, and images in my writing because of their amazing impact on the consciousness and opinions of my readers.
I am still of the opinion that writing is diligent work. A considerable amount of effort goes into collecting and combining the right set of words to create meaning for the reader. While I have always found writing the initial part of an article rather tedious, for me, the results and outcomes were always exhilarating and unforgettable. For any serious writer, I would recommend persistent and regular writing, because it would be a powerful learning experience. Fortunately for me, such learning will never be complete, as I am on an unending quest to be the best writer I can possibly be.