Writing Is a Form of Art

A friend once told me that I always get too critical when it comes to texts, especially written ones. As annoying as it sounds, it is indeed entirely true. I can spend ages criticizing a piece of paper and the words printed on it—be it for its incomplete structure, complicated main idea, misspellings, or as simple as where to put the comma and dot. I can just skim through some books and easily found the fault in some of its parts—something which had made me a voluntary quality-checker when I was working in a publishing house. I cannot even remember the number of times I was asked to review someone’s research papers, journals, books, novels, and many others, mainly voluntarily. And yet somehow, I find joy in things like that, though obviously not many can put up with me.

Another friend then told me, that I must have considered writing as an art. I had only been told that once, but from my perspective it may be true, slightly, yet in most part just plain wrong. For me, writing, as it is with any other forms of communications, are meant to deliver an idea from one person to another. I have told this numerous times, when I was asked to be a speaker for writing workshops and such, that this idea of putting something in another’s mind can affect the person in ways that we cannot even imagine. A person’s way of thinking, for example, may be shifted slightly or radically, depending on how we master the words. And for that reason, writing is not an art—at least not in the sense of popular art people regard nowadays. Writing, for me, is more partially connected with our everyday lives—a technique in which we have to strive for perfection. It is not flexible, but in fact extremely rigid that we are bounded by the manuals of how tos. Isn’t art supposed to be free?

The art of writing—I guess it is doable if one prefers to call it so—lies within the understanding of an audience. Who is your audience and how would you like to make them feel? One of the reason I can be quite good at communicating things is because I take into consideration the subjects of my ramblings. Communication is, after all, a two-way street. One cannot impose an idea onto another. It is simply the matter of audience’s preferences—how far would they let another’s idea affects them. And therefore, the way we share those ideas must be framed customizable for each subject, taking into consideration one’s way of thinking. I once shared my opinion on the subject with an actor friend of mine, and he said that he does it too—that’s called acting. Yet for me, it is way different, for I accentuate on consideration rather than camouflage. Or maybe it is the same and our thoughts are just way too bundled with the limited amount of words we can express ourselves in. Communication is about feelings and ideas after all.

Written words, however, have distinctive characteristic from other forms of communication. I stand by my favourite man of letters, Seno Gumira Ajidarma, on this point—that learning how to write is the same as learning to capture everyday moments with our outmost appreciation. And that writing is a way for us to talk to, touch, and influence some other person somewhere we don’t even realize. The power of written words is just too—massive, that it cannot even be contained and naturally immeasurable. I guess it became one of the reason why I have quite a high standard in writings, even for my own. And it made me fell so madly in love with the world of written words, even until now.

Another (again, another one) friend of mine once told me that a person who is used to reading must be, in turn, a good writer. It is not necessarily the case, for I have seen many that reads everyday and still not quite what I would call a good writer. It is not a matter of love to read too, for written words, as I said before, stands too much in the ground of texts and considerations rather than habitual programmed things. Many times I found people who reads, but doesn’t “read”. Many, nowadays, are attracted only by the idea rather than the art of serving those ideas. We might see the same blue sky that for many is as it is—a blue sky. But some are more receptive toward the texts spread all over the world and interpret it in different ways, forming a constructive idea, and making it their own meaning. That kind of people, the ones intuitive enough with the consideration of reading every form of texts wherever they go, are the ones more prone to find meanings. They sense things, and some of them, who will naturally fall in love with the arts of written words, will undoubtedly be gifted writers. They live exclusively in a world formed by their own. For me, that’s the art.

Lintang Cahyaningsih


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