Friday, October 3, 2008

What’s the USP?

USP, or Unique Selling Proposition, in advertising parlance means a particular quality or feature that makes an entity different, segregated and isolated from the others. When you are talking about USP of a car or carton, you are speaking of the quality that makes it unique from all other cars or cartons. Determining the USP of an object does not knit creases on your forehead. But, what do you say when you are asked what the USP of your writing is? I’ll explain.

Let’s face it: there is no dearth of writers. But few get appreciation, even fewer get published. Why is this so? It is imperative for the writer to cultivate a style that is unique from the others, say the pundits. But is it really possible? There is no debate over the fact that to write well, you need to read extensively. While reading, you cannot help but internalize the writing style of your favorite authors. They have, no doubt, been influenced heavily by their favorite authors. So it is a chain of influences and internalizations that has made the writer of today. How do you gauge the USP then?

Writing, I believe, should come from the heart. That is the USP of a writer. Even if your thoughts are in disarray, even if your syntax leaves room for improvement, even if your ideas have not spilled out onto the paper as you’d wanted it to, the honesty of purpose will shine through and connect with your reader. There is a conviction that grows on you when you believe in what you are writing. That is something that you cannot point out as tangible, but it is there as the air we breathe. You can feel that permeating your thoughts when you read a piece written from the heart. That is the USP of a writer, and that can only come across when you write to express your heart.

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