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BY Viraj Sheth

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A pen is mightier than a sword.” This saying always confused me as a kid. After all, in what universe, is a long, thin writing instrument with a 0.7mm blunt end more fearsome, robust and powerful than a weapon with a long metal blade instrumental in overthrowing the mightiest kingdoms known to man? Although as I grew older, I began to realize the sheer dominance of effective communication over violence. It started with reading about iconic leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, and Nelson Mandela in our history classes. Then it moved on to practicing it in real life, while dealing with bullies way bigger than me, by simply manoeuvring them with the right words instead of having to use brute force.

I discovered my inclination towards writing in sixth grade, when my school hosted a poetry writing competition. With absolutely no background in the space, this was new for me. The introvert in me instantly declined. I wrote a poem about love. Well, what does a sixth grader know about love, anyway? I didn’t, but I knew about rhyming schemes and that’s all that mattered. I won the first prize. Thus began my tryst with writing. In retrospect, it taught me a wonderful lesson - you don’t need to be the most articulate writer. You just need to start writing, and you’ll get better.

The written poetry competition could just have been beginner’s luck. Hence I decided to hone and sharpen my skills in writing. I did that by picking up newspapers, reading on politics, sports, and current affairs. I watched live cricket matches, listening intently to Harsha Bhogle’s impeccable wordsmithery. This enhanced my vocabulary. It was important for me to put this vocabulary to good use by challenging myself to constantly keep writing 500-word essays. I secured the highest grades, scoring 92 out of 100 marks in my CBSE board exams in English.

During the first of my degree college years with a lot of free time in hand, I decided to put my penchant for writing to good use. I started a blog on wordpress.com. Secondly, because I was consuming a lot of content around politics, sports and life in general, I started posting Facebook statuses very actively. The goal with the blog was to consistently write quality long-format content and that of the Facebook statuses was to provide an element of wit and humour through the posts. During my second semester in college, one of my college seniors who was looking for interns stumbled upon my Facebook profile. He reached out to me with the offer for a sales internship purely on the basis of going through my opinionated, witty, and well-framed Facebook posts. I also landed an internship as a content writer, after submitting my blog page as reference to a travel content company.

The lesson I learnt here was - keep creating content, written or otherwise, it will open many doors for you.

While pursuing my career as a newbie in the media industry, writing turned out to be an important arsenal in my war chest. As a baby-faced 22-year-old with little know-how about the working of this industry, it helped build me more authority while communicating and negotiating with prospective clients. Minor grammatical observations such as using ‘please’ before a verb rather than towards the end of the statement - could completely change the tone of a statement.

In the current phase of my career, writing is helping me shape people’s thoughts positively and build a loyal audience to promote my personal brand and showcase the work that my company, Monk-E creates. The lesson I learnt here was - Words are the fastest medium to shape someone’s opinion. If you use it with the right intent, it will take you a long way.

So, write. Write short. Write long. Write tweets. Write emails. Write articles. Write for yourself. Write for your friends. Write for companies. Write to learn. Write to grow. Write to succeed.

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