Writing is an art. Readers experience the artistry. No writer is fully satisfied because s/he knows something was missed. Sometimes interesting ideas click when the work has gone out of hand. This always keeps the text in the phase of becoming. So, there is no worrying about what you as a writer have not done. The text never looks complete to the conscious reader and critic.
But as a writer, what you have thought of is yours, the original idea. Maybe it is based on an experience, a recent one. Maybe it is triggered by an exposure, a recent one. Maybe it is a part of your dream, imagination, fancy – immediate or timeless. But you understand these and can replicate with multiplicity. The idea is yours, the original thing. Exposure matters and research gives exposure. Information gives exposure, and helps you shape your own imagination and originality.
I cannot believe research cannot be original. The evidences you bring to support your arguments must come to fit in your thought patterns. If you have forcefully yoked them between your lines when they were unwilling to come, they will hardly speak what you meant to mean. Citations must come with ease, to their own accord, though it is you to bring them. I mean they do not come to fit unless your own ideas agree to take them in. You must woo and tame them. Believe me.
As a writer I must be able to speak about what I know. This is the rule I set for myself. And I want to record the trail of thoughts, to bring them to a new form and a new medium. This way I will not lose them. Thoughts usually emerge in odd moments. They come while emptying bowels or taking bath or travelling by public bus or doing morning walks. They come when you lie sleepless at the approach of deadlines. And they escape easily and disappear forever. You might remember in a while you had thought of something big. But both the nut and the kernel will vanish if you do not manage to record the trails, to bring to a new form or a new medium.
I tend to go to restroom with my smartphone to type or audio-tape the thoughts while the other business goes on. Sounds crazy? But you can try instead of fiddling Facebook or twitter or YouTube things there. I tend to chant louder while taking bath, with such loudness that my better-half is induced to knock the door to inquire if I wanted something. You also do that, right? Maybe to earn the fame of a bathroom singer. To me, this audacity helps remember the thought. Then on a sleepless night, I get up abruptly, turn the lights on and begin to write. Or I keep the lights off, turn my laptop on, and begin to type. My better-half wakes up hearing me slap my legs against mosquitoes, or by the sound of the laptop keys. She knows I will go nuts if I am not allowed to do this, and goes to sleep without complaining.
How much is enough? Academic writing, especially, poses this question. How many evidences suffice to support the thesis? Many times many, but sometimes even one would work – depending whether the evidence is valid and widely internalized. A statistical fact can be more fleeting than an opinion. Statistics changes but opinions once archived can have lasting values. Or an opinion can last as long as statistics if you go by the ‘last ten years’ standards oft-quoted in the science academia. The point is simple. Once someone writes an opinion and gets it published, she fails to prove she never thought and wrote that. Then it remains. There it remains.
It is hard to undo the damage writing does. The same applies to the castle it builds. A single letter or a memo can work as much as several of it. One appointment letter suffices to keep you in, and just one resignation to keep out. I have not heard of more than one suicide note left by any of those unfortunate self-effacers.
Three is my standard. Three examples might construct an inductive argument. Three premises help establish a deductive logic. Three paragraphs build a good school essay. Three ideas shape the essay’s body. Normally, this is about thinking in numbers. This is about helping the readers to count and highlight ideas. A qualitative researcher/writer can best integrate the counterpart (the quantitative paraphernalia) by presenting ideas in countable forms.
I respect writers who love me as a reader, who facilitate me to read their creations. I hate not to be able to underline or highlight an important phrase or clause or sentence. I will regret if no one could make at least some sense of what I have written in this random piece, here. Would you get ready to take note now? I am telling you four things about writing: art, audacity, adequacy, opulence. I told three crazy things about audacity – wooing, fiddling and slapping legs. Please go back and check if you forgot. What did I say about adequacy – memo, letter and self-effacement?
Let me tell you what makes me read you if you write – opulence. Opulence is the richness of experience. It is what would make me desire to learn, to know what you think, and how you see the things I see. Writing should give me that opportunity, that captivity, to hold me in, in alternation of restlessness and relaxation. Wait, do not bother to drag Sigmund Freud grandpa here, but uncle Roy Peter Clark, who had the audacity to say: “Too many writers talk and act as if writing were slow torture, a form of procreation without arousal and romance.”
I am not exaggerating. I confess I cannot write the thing I want to read. But when I begin to write, I keep in mind that I should try to hold you, to captivate you and give the alternation of restlessness and relaxation. I try to show you things I have seen. I tell you my weaknesses so that you pretend to be strong. I tell my strengths so that you realize you are stronger. But I dare to tell the truth: if my writing bothers you, just dump it, dump me and never think if ever I had the audacity to jot things down.