Memoirs & Tips From an Accidental Journalist #1: Let The Passion Lead You


It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way.
– Ernest Hemingway

I believe myself as an Accidental Journalist. My first article published on a back page of a  science magazine in 1997 in my native language in Sri Lanka. (Apart from my family and few friends nobody ever noticed it!) To keep the memory I have kept this piece until today. After several attempts to put together 50 words in a journalistic way, finally, one editor had given the green light for that!  What kept me writing ever since was the passion and excitement.

One day, over 20 years back,  I met a stranger “ accidentally” in front of a library, who was a university student doing some freelancing for a science magazine. To pass the time we were chatting.. Hey.. why can’t I be a writer like you? I went with him to meet his editor that day itself and poured out my passion for writing in front of his desk. A few weeks later, my first article appeared on the back page of that magazine, as the editor got nothing else to fill a small space!

And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
– William Shakespeare (from A Midsummer Night’s Dream)

Shakespeare whom I struggle to understand still ( as I have no structured literary training, rather I peruse it with curiosity), has said: “Lunatics, lovers, and poets all are ruled by their overactive imaginations”.  According to him, sometimes poets do not see the reality because of that. Taking away the reader from reality to capture the attention is one tactic writer put together with imagination.

My “on and off” writing journey passed through encounters with scientists ( as I was mostly a “ science journalist” ) who spoke too much boring technical stuff that nobody wants to hear. My passion for writing and my imagination gave those science stories their form and kept the editors accepting my jargon.

As writing is a craft as well as an art, one has to learn on their way as a writer. Most of the crafty things of writing have to learn on the way. Well, it’s none of your readers business that you had to learn the fine craft of writing on your writing journey, as Ernest Hemingway said. Let the passion lead you to try new things and you will learn the rules naturally.

If the storytelling is your passion, let that lead you on its way. Good storytellers do it with a passion. Their passion will come into life in their stories. That passion glue the readers to the pages of their books.  Look what one of the popular authors in the history of storytelling  had to tell:

I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly.
– Edgar Rice Burroughs

So why don’t we- you and me- tell our story? Let passion ignite the desire.. Let us be lunatics and lovers of words and make a form out of nothing like true poets as Shakespeare has put it.

One thought on “Memoirs & Tips From an Accidental Journalist #1: Let The Passion Lead You

  1. Hell yeah! “Why don’t we”… your tips just ignited me to be a lunatic and here I am at least trying to comment even when I have not yet figured out what to comment.

    Liked by 1 person

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