Zen and the Art of Writing Part 3: How to Develop Good Contents

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I said that the most important thing in writing was the contents and not the techniques. Having said that, the techniques are useful; good contents cannot shine without skills to appropriately present them. It is like adding wings to a tiger. Having good contents is essential and backing them up with techniques will make you stand out in the crowd. Therefore, I’ll be sharing some writing tips in the newsletter.

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But here, I will talk more about the contents, since it is better for you to work on them first.


So, how do you develop good contents? It isn’t easy to do.


Who said it was easy? That’s right, it isn’t easy, and it isn’t something you can learn fast. That’s why many of us chase after techniques which seem to be quick remedies.


Yes, acquiring true writing skills takes time, but in the long run, it is faster than picking up superficial techniques. Time is crucial in any form of fermentation and writing is an act of fermentation.



Some say it is a talent that you are born with, which is true in most cases, and yet, there are several things you can do develop your talent.


One thing you can do is to read a lot. Good writers are usually good readers. It is better to read books though. When you read short articles or blogs, along with many others, they don’t stay in your mind. Concentrating on one piece of information for some extended period is helpful for your brain to formulate thoughts.


After reading a book, you can write what you thought of it. It doesn’t have to be long. Just a brief review is okay.


Traveling helps you expand your perceptions, too. If you can, travel abroad, and experience something new and different. Eat local food, meet local people, and go to places tourists don’t go to.


Walking is another way to enhance your imagination and formulate your thoughts. Walking in the woods can put you in touch with nature; looking at trees, listening to birds, insects, and a river stream, smelling flowers, and feeling fallen leaves on the ground. Walking in the city is also good since it stimulates your mind with a colorful townscape of cafes and stores.


Listening to people broadens your views, as well. While there are some good writers who are extraverted and talkative, writers tend to be quiet. They listen and observe a lot. If you are busy talking, you lose opportunities to understand others.


Observing is good. Sit at a street café and watch pedestrians or other customers. When you contemplate, try looking at things from different angles. For example, you can only stare at the floor or the ceiling. You can focus on certain colors like blue or yellow to see how many of the things in those colors are in the café.


Meet people from all walks of life. A lot of us mix mostly with people who are on the same wavelength, which limits our experience and perception. If you associate with people who have different political views, for instance, you can widen your views, and you will be more integrated as a person.


By the way, have you realized that all these things I said are helpful in ZENWSP, too? It isn’t a waste of time even if you don’t intend to be a good writer to try them. They will support you to be sustainably prosperous.



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