Thursday, January 8, 2009

Some things I've learned about writing-

You know, I've been doing it for so long, that alot of the techniques I use I simply take for granted. But I'd rather not talk about things like rhythm and pacing- I don't know how much I'd have to say about that anyway.

I wanted to talk about how simple it can be to write a good blog- a medium much like the essay of earlier years- non-fiction, personal and intended for public consumption. My blogs are usually shorter than my essays, but I've been thinking about trying my hand at a few topics for essay writing. The truth is, I'm good at it, and I like them. So I wanted to share some things about writing something non-fiction, personal, and for public consumption.

I think that the hardest part is starting. Most people that want to write have something they want to talk about, so the issue is likely how to write it out. As soon as you sit down in front of your blank page, the perfection of the shape of your idea is daunting. How do you disassemble it and put it out there the way it ought to be? Sometimes it's so perfect I think I don't really need to put it out there at all.... But then it wriggles its way to the forefront, ready to jump out of my mouth where I know I really won't get it just right. It makes my hands itch, it whispers to be said, go on, flex your fingers, go on, do it, write me, say me, you know you can.
And I know I can, but I don't know if I can do it well.

So how do you start? I try to think of my audience- not the whole wide world, mind you. That will cripple you faster and more thoroughly than chopping off your hands. For me, I imagine a conversation partner, one of my friends or my husband, to start with. Someone you know who will let you talk. I find that parents are rarely the right Reader to think of, because of the inherent criticisms. You start defending before you start arguing.

So think of someone you know who will read you with enjoyment, because they love you, they love what you want ta say, etc. At first, this person will be the only audience member you can and should pay attention to, but hopefully, as the idea begins to bloom on your page, it is the writing itself that holds your gaze.
When I imagine my Reader, I feel the pressure come off, and either I can go right into it, BANG, or....

I really feel that what I want to say is important, so I have to find the heart, the kernel, the meaning, the POINT. The reason why it matters. The thing that will connect my experience to something in the human nature and condition. This is a lot simpler than it sounds, because humanity is basically the same at it's core, and has been forever. The question is, why do you care?

And that may be the biggest hardest question to answer. Why do you care? What is it that makes your heart react the way it does? Some of you will sit and think about that. Some of you are like me, and you'll write a few drafts before you figure it out. But it is the engine that drives this whole thing, you know that, don't you? If you didn't, you wouldn't want to to write, let alone write about your idea.

So, you have homework to do. Figure out why you care about what you want to write about. Send me your ideas and reasons why at

1 comment:

  1. You did an excellent job of exemplifying what you were writing, because I felt like you were talking directly to me! Like over coffee. Or tea in your case. Anyways, it was inspiring and I finally got something up on my blog. It took me a few hours to hone in on what I was really trying say, but I think it came out ok. I usually find that there's so much I want to say I have to sort it out and break it down into more than one post. Well anyways, thanks for the literary kick in the ass. It got me going.