“Let your imagination fly through books… “
– Anon.

The Written Word

Reading is almost an addiction for me, one that I won’t be addressing by 12-stepping or joining support groups anytime soon. You see, it is through books that I get to visit places that I’ll never have the means nor the time to physically visit. It is through books that I get to learn things that attending class all my life won’t let me learn. It is through books that I get to savor the beauty of the written word … I get to think about whatever the writer wants me to imagine, learn or think.

I have no doubt that many agree with Lord Byron when he categorically states

Words are things
And a small drop of ink
Falling like dew upon a thought
Produces that which makes thousands
Perhaps millions, think.

Reading in recent times has become such an easy thing to do, especially at a time when information wants to be free.

Writing for Pleasure and for Profit
I now primarily write on The Walkabout. Recently, I started a blog that details my experiences in reading and writing books. In addition, there’s Complit DesignConnect eMagazine and the Green Initiatives in Kenya blogs.
I’ll now proceed to share some insights from the wonderful world of books.

Before taking a break in April 2008, I wrote for several magazines in Nairobi. These included QZ, DRUM, Eve Girl, Small & Medium Entreprises and others.
The reason I mention them is that many aspiring writers always want to know how one gets a freelance writing gig in any publication. Some even imagine that you might get noticed if you write exceedingly well on your blog – something that unfortunately, rarely happens.

You need to be unrelenting in your approach. Editors, be it for print or online publications seldom have the time to go through your wonderful writing unless you’re a celebrity and thereafter solicit your articles. You have to take the initiative by first and foremost capturing their attention. That done, you then succinctly telling them what it is you’d like them to do. Something that will add value to their publication. All this is called a pitch.

Writing a pitch makes all the difference. You can learn about writing a pitch here and here. In fact, here’s an example of a pitch [that worked] to a magazine editor.

Should you want to go ahead and start self-publishing, you have the option of selling directly on Lulu or Amazon. Kevin Kelly has made it easier for you, thanks to his Cool Tools. Here, he tells you how you can sell books and other stuff on Amazon.

Reading and Writing… in the Future
Some of the things captured in this post are already happening. Books have gone digital, specialist reading devices are on the increase, notably the Amazon Kindle, The Barnes & Noble Nook and a variety of Tablet computers.

Admittedly, writers continue to type away on laptop computers, desktops and netbooks. The reading experience however, has changed and continues to evolve as demonstrated by Mike Matas at TED in the following video. Reading has also become interative.

All in all, the reading experience continues to get better.
For those of us who enjoy reading and are privileged enough to enhance and perpetuate it by writing, all I can say is that we indeed live in exciting times.

The grandest homage I can pay to the written word is to voraciously read it and profoundly write it.
Long live the written word.

© Peter Njenga | Blog |Twitter