Animus is an imagination-kindling realm of wonder

The 8 limbs of writing: Idiot savants vs Jacks of all trades (part 1)

Many writers will tell you that their output has not suffered as a result of the countless hours spent dawdling around on social media. Many say that they have built useful contacts and enjoyed valuable exposure. I am not here to disprove or even debate any of that (even though I secretly am certain that they would have been much more prolific had they kept their focus on writing). My observation tonight is that writers must learn to promote themselves to survive or indeed, even enter the market.

Awesome Tigress from Kung Fu Panda

Muay Thai is also known as the Art of Eight Limbs, as a fighter possesses a pair of knees, elbows, fists and feet/shins all of which are formidable striking weapons if properly trained. If a fighter spends all his time developing his kicks by conditioning his shins, running and stretching, his arms will atrophy and not be able to withstand the force of the opponent’s attacks or mount a respectable offensive. Furthermore, his one-dimensional style will be easy to decipher and counter. All the tools in his arsenal must be regularly honed, ‘oiled and polished’ to ensure that they are ever-keen and ready for deployment at a moment’s notice. For each one of the four pairs has distinctive advantages as well as disadvantages in the arena. For instance, kicks may be slower, burn more energy and travel a longer distance to the head of the opponent, but the legs are much heavier and hence, more powerful than the arms; elbows and knees may not have the span of the entire arm or leg, but they land harder, with a devastating effect as they are much less flexible, driving the force of impact deep into the adversary’s core. It is the savvy combination of the strengths of each weapon with impeccable timing and minimal risk that creates the bouquet of techniques worthy of an elite fighter.

As I wrote in the previous post (, by obsessing over one’s strongest skill, one runs the peril of neglecting the others needed to survive. This is vice not a unique to fighters, it is the same with cooks knowing their spices and ingredients to concoct winning recipes; it also applies to writers. Albeit, writers these days are also called upon to venture out of their comfort zone and promote their own work, hawking it at fairs, posing as experts in some field and engaging in a whole bunch of other trivia in a desperate effort to reap the fruits of their true labour. So here are the tools of the modern writer, as I currently perceive them:

Pair one: CREATE (Imagine. Write.)

Pair two: LEARN (Read. Research.)

Pair three: STUDY (Watch. Memorize.)

Pair four: MARKET (Promote. Connect.)

In part two of this post I will briefly examine each of these attributes and explain how they tie into each other. Check back in a couple of days. Until then, keep on pursuing your personal brilliance!


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